Under general direction, provides paralegal services in one of the County’s legal departments; incumbents in this class have expertise in and the responsibility for a specific area of the law; may act in a lead capacity by training, assigning and reviewing the work of other Paralegals and/or other new employees or performs significant independent work; may direct subordinate clerical or accounting staff; performs related duties as required.
This class is characterized by the responsibility to perform legal research and support attorneys in assignments requiring a paraprofessional understanding of the law and legal procedures. Since incumbents are not attorneys, they do not give legal advice or represent clients in court. This class is distinguished from that of Law Clerk in that the latter is used for the temporary employment for law school students or Bar applicants.
Examples of Duties
May lead the work of paralegal staff; assigns, monitors and reviews work for completeness, accuracy and adherence to policies and procedures; provides technical expertise in the resolution of problems; trains new employees in department/program policies and procedures related to assigned function; participates in the evaluation process by monitoring and reporting on work performance.
Researches and analyzes statutes, recorded judicial decisions, legal articles, treaties, legislation, constitutions, ordinances and other such documents; prepares legal documents such as briefs, pleadings, appeals, motions, contracts, deeds and drafts of legal opinions for review, approval and use of attorneys.
Investigates facts and researches laws to determine causes of action and prepares cases accordingly; files pleadings and other documents with court clerks; prepares affidavits of documents and maintains document files; investigates status of cases and locates witnesses or interested parties.
Assists in scheduling witnesses for trials and/or hearings; obtains and verifies information from defendants; arranges appearances of and prepares witnesses for legal procedures; prepares files for court; assists attorney at court with documents and information.
Arranges support services for clients and/or their families; assists in resolving problems or gathering information; analyzes, computes, and calculates financial information and statistics utilizing established policies and procedures of the assigned unit; prepares requests to accounting department to calculate current payments, arrears, and reimbursement; determines applicable court orders, which substantiate monies due and owing.
Drafts pleadings, orders, discoveries including interrogatories, correspondence, and subpoenas for filing with the court and opposing parties; drafts policies; reviews and recommends procedure manuals; drafts, with the District Attorney, the procedures on real property forfeitures records and title searches executed.
Communicates extensively with clients, opposing attorneys, court staff, insurance claim adjusters, employers and court staff; negotiates, under direction of attorneys, settlements of claims of assigned unit.
Evaluates cases to determine which cases warrant the filing of liens; explains computation of liens to clients, attorneys, and judges; prepares and files liens electronically for claims; monitors and amends liens for unpaid claims.
Identifies cases which warrant contempt actions; performs initial screening of cases referred for contempt action; forwards referrals to attorney for further review and final decision regarding criminal action.
Monitors compliance of parties placed on probation; assesses absent parent ability to work during cited period via automated office system; compiles data needed to support complaint requests.
May act as financial investigation/asset forfeiture expert for division as needed; oversees the liquidation of the forfeited assets for division; acts as a liaison between DA’s Office and law enforcement agencies, other counties, courts, county administration and the public; receives and reviews vehicle forfeiture submissions; rejects or accepts forfeiture submissions; negotiates settlements in cases under the direction of an attorney; prepares cases for hearings, when necessary; distributes forfeited assets to appropriate agencies.
Maintains a current reference index log of all claims, defendants and victims in order to field inquiries; ascertains status of prosecution or the eligibility of claim or benefits paid on the claim.
Directs accounting clerks with preparing accountings of monies due and owing during specified period.
Knowledge, Skills & Abilities
Considerable knowledge of legal research techniques; legal terminology, processes and procedures; common legal documents; legal concepts and the role of the law in society; litigation processes; administrative civil and/or criminal law applicable to assignment.
Ability to conduct legal research; prepare legal briefs, opinions and other such documents; communicate effectively both orally and in writing; follow written and verbal instructions; develop and maintain effective working relationships with attorneys, support staff and clients; coordinate document processing, witness preparation and other such activities; arrange for support services for clients and/or attorneys; identify and resolve problems; lead the work of others.
Education and Experience
Successful completion of a paralegal curriculum that has been approved by the American Bar Association; supplemented by three (3) years of full-time work experience in preparing and processing legal documents, including eighteen (18) months of experience as a paralegal in a governmental agency that demonstrates possession of and competency in the requisite knowledge and abilities.
Possession of, or ability to obtain, a valid Class III California driver’s license may be required.
Independent travel will be required.
Some positions in this class may require bilingual skills.
Physical Ability: Tasks involve the ability to exert light physical effort in sedentary to light work, but which may involve some lifting, carrying, pushing and/or pulling of objects and materials of light weight (5-10 pounds). Tasks may involve extended periods of time at a keyboard or workstation. Sensory Requirements: Some tasks require visual perception and discrimination. Some tasks require oral communications ability. Environmental Factors: Tasks are regularly performed without exposure to adverse environmental conditions, such as dirt, dust, pollen, odors, wetness, humidity, rain, fumes, temperature and noise extremes, machinery, vibrations, electric currents, traffic hazards, toxic agents, violence, disease, or pathogenic substances.