Staff Attorney I

MERCED SUPERIOR COURT   Merced, CA   Full-time     Legal
Posted on November 12, 2023
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Staff Attorney I

Salary: $77,459.20 - $94,182.40 Annually


Under general direction, this professional level position performs legal research activities on behalf of the court by examining, analyzing, and interpreting available information and submitting recommendations for resolving issues before the court.  Will conduct ex parte hearings and related matters; conduct status review conferences.
The Court Staff Attorney I classification is established as an "at-will" position and, as such, the incumbent serves at the direction of the Court Executive Officer.  The Court Executive Officer has the right to terminate the employment of any incumbent in the position of Court Staff Attorney I at any time, with or without advance notice or cause.
This is the entry worker level of the Staff Attorney series.  Incumbents are expected to perform professional legal work and research within guidance and supervision from more experienced staff.  This class differs from Staff Attorney II in that Staff Attorney II is the fully experienced, journey level with incumbents expected to perform the more complex legal work and special projects with minimal guidance and supervision.  Staff Attorney I incumbents will be expected to increasingly perform more complex work with less guidance.  In addition, Staff Attorney incumbents will develop special expertise in specific areas of the law.


The following duties are normal for this position.  The omission of specific statements of the duties does not exclude them from the classification if the work is similar, related or a logical assignment for this classification.  Other duties may be required and assigned.  

  1. Review and summarize evidence, procedural history, and legal contentions on matters before the court
  2. Identify and analyze factual and legal issues relevant to the disposition of matters.  Research legal authorities
  3. Brief judges (verbally and/or in writing) on research and analysis pertaining to matters before the court, identify and discuss unresolved issues necessary for the disposition of matters, and formulate dispositions
  4. Respond to judges' inquiries on procedural and substantive issues during trials and hearings
  5. Attend and assist at trials and hearings, conduct reviews of documents at the request of judges
  6. Prepare pleadings, written legal reports, opinions, briefs, appeals, and other legal documents in connection with trials, hearings, and other legal proceedings
  7. May serve as legal adviser to the court judicial officers, staff, or judicial committees on specific matters before the court
  8. May assist with the drafting of legislative measures and other legal work required by the court
  9. Confer with counsel and other parties, conduct informal hearings, and review case files, legal documents and exhibits
  10. Conduct ex parte hearings; approve ex parte orders/applications
  11. Conduct status review conferences in civil matters
  12. Respond to Citizen complaint
  13. Serve as Court's Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Representative by reviewing rules, policies, etc. and coordinating the implementation of the program and any changes
  14. Attend training as offered and/or directed.  Travel to off-site courts, as needed
  15. Must work well under pressure, meeting multiple and sometimes conflicting deadlines
  16. Must, at all times, demonstrate cooperative behavior with co-workers, and management
  17. Follow Court Rules and Regulations, Safety Procedures and Court Code of Ethics
  18. Maintain professional appearance and demeanor
  19. Other duties as assigned

Supervisory Duties:

Eight (8) hour workday with additional time per the Court's needs.



Graduation from an accredited law school

Some legal experience is desirable

Active membership in the State Bar of California

Necessary Employment Standards
As applicable to assigned areas of responsibility
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Principles of civil and criminal law, trial procedure, and rules of evidence
  • Principles, methods, materials, and practices of legal research and writing
  • Principles of statutory and constitutional laws of the State of California
  • English Language Arts: correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation
  • Present facts and law and argue clearly and logically on behalf of the court, both verbally and in writing
  • Independently work
  • Must work well under pressure, meeting multiple and sometimes conflicting deadlines.
  • Maintain confidential information in accordance with legal standards and/or Court regulations.
  • Effective communication skills - verbal and written - in person, over the telephone and in writing with public, attorneys, co-workers, supervisors, managers, commissioners and judges.
  • Excellent organizational skills.
  • Computer proficiency.
  • Uphold judicial ethics.
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with the public, co-workers, supervisors, judges, commissioners, independent contractors and other management.  Work effectively with and assist individuals of various ages and diverse cultural backgrounds. 
  • Valid California Driver's License and court acceptable driving record, if vehicle used for court business.
  • Must successfully complete fingerprinting and Criminal Record Background Check

A valid class C California driver's license may be required.  The requirement will be reviewed on a position basis in accordance with ADA regulations.



Data Utilization:  Requires the ability to review, classify, categorize, prioritize, and/or analyze data.  Includes exercising discretion in determining data classification, and in referencing such analysis to established standards for the purpose of recognizing actual or probable interactive effects and relationships. 
Human Interaction:  Requires the ability to apply principles of persuasion and/or influence over others in coordinating activities of a project, program, or designated area of responsibility.
Equipment, Machinery, Tools, and Materials Utilization:  Requires the ability to operate, maneuver, and/or control the actions of equipment, machinery, tools, and/or materials used in performing essential functions.
Verbal Aptitude:  Requires the ability to utilize a wide variety of reference, descriptive, and/or advisory data, and information.
Mathematical Aptitude:  Requires the ability to perform addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division; the ability to calculate decimals and percentages; the ability to utilize principles of fractions; and the ability to interpret graphs.
Functional Reasoning:  Requires the ability to apply principles of influence systems, such as motivation, incentive, and leadership, and to exercise independent judgment to apply facts and principles for developing approaches and techniques to resolve problems.
Situational Reasoning:  Requires the ability to exercise judgment, decisiveness, and creativity in situations involving the evaluation of information against sensory, judgmental, or subjective criteria, as opposed to that which is clearly measurable or verifiable.
Physical Ability

  • Strength, dexterity, coordination, and vision to use a keyboard, computer monitor, and other office equipment on a daily basis and for extended periods of time
  • Fine finger manipulations, dexterity, and coordination to handle files and single pieces of paper
  • Forceful and repetitive gripping, grasping, and pinching
  • Occasional lifting and carrying of objects weighing up to 20 lbs.
  • Frequent reaching for items on shelves, above, at, and below desk/shoulder level
  • Exert up to 20 lbs. of force occasionally, and/or up to 10 lbs. of force frequently, and/or negligible amount of force constantly to move, torque, twist, push, and pull objects
  • Frequently sit for extended periods; frequently stand for extended periods; and frequently walk, move, bend, stoop, lift, and stretch
  • Able to move to different locations such as, but not limited to: courtrooms, clerk's office, various departments, other court facilities, and desk assignments based on the operational needs of the Court
  • Able to traverse inside and outside over uneven ground and pavement
  • Perform repetitive writing, typing, copying
  • Employees are regularly required to verbally communicate both in person and by telephone
  • Corrected hearing and vision to normal range

Sensory Requirements: Some tasks require the ability to perceive and discriminate colors or shades of colors, sounds, and visual cues or signals.  Some tasks require the ability to communicate orally.
Environmental Factors: Essential functions are regularly performed without exposure to adverse environmental conditions.

BACKGROUND INVESTIGATIONS:  Convictions, depending on the type, number, and date, may be disqualifying.  Court employees shall be subject to a modified background investigation and fingerprinting.  False statements or omission of facts regarding background or employment history may result in disqualification or dismissal.