legislativecounsel.ca.gov

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Legal Employment

Attorneys in the Office of Legislative Counsel practice law in a collegial, intellectually challenging environment that permits them to make important contributions to the legislative process. At the same time, attorneys in this office can maintain a quality personal life, and realize the retirement and other benefits of public sector employment.

The Office of Legislative Counsel is a state civil service agency in Sacramento that offers legal services to the Members of the Legislature. Those services are provided on a confidential, nonpartisan basis, and consist chiefly of the drafting and analysis of legislation, the preparation of legal opinions on the interpretation and constitutionality of provisions of existing law or of proposed legislation, attendance at legislative committee hearings, and consultation with legislators and staff.

As a civil service agency, the Office of Legislative Counsel is subject in its employment practices to the rules and regulations that govern the state civil service system. While turnover on our legal staff of approximately 85 persons is minimal, some vacancies arise each year due to retirement or job transfer. Job vacancies in the legal staff, and for other positions in the office, are described in Job Postings, and also at http://jobs.ca.gov/.

Open civil service examinations for the positions of Deputy Legislative Counsel, Ranges A through D (for active members of the state bar), and the entry-level Graduate Legal Assistant position are held each year in the fall. Although most offers of employment are made shortly after the establishment of an employment list, an employment offer may be made to a person on either list for a period of not less than 12 months.

In addition, vacancies may be filled at any time by the hiring of attorneys who are currently employed by another state agency or otherwise hold state civil service status.

Persons who are currently eligible to take the California State Bar examination may be hired in the Graduate Legal Assistant (GLA) class. Persons who are active members of the California State Bar may be employed within the Deputy Legislative Counsel (DLC) class, and are assigned to Range A, B, C, or D, as follows:

  • DLC Range A applies to members of the California State Bar who do not meet the criteria in Range B, C, or D.
  • DLC Range B applies to members of the California State Bar who have satisfactorily completed one year of legal experience in the practice of law, whether in a governmental jurisdiction or in the private practice of law.
  • DLC Range C applies to members of the California State Bar who have satisfactorily completed two years of legal experience in the practice of law.
  • DLC Range D applies to members of the California State Bar who have satisfactorily completed four years of legal experience in the practice of law.

Persons employed as Deputy Legislative Counsel may qualify for two promotional classes. The Deputy Legislative Counsel III class requires six years of legal experience in the practice of law in a governmental jurisdiction or in the private practice of law. The Deputy Legislative Counsel IV class requires 10 years of legal experience in the practice of law, four years of which occurred as a Deputy Legislative Counsel III or equivalent level in the California State Civil Service.

The office also employs each summer a number of legal interns (the Graduate Student Assistant, or GSA). This position is filled through an interview process conducted at various state locations the preceding fall, and is open to law students who, as of that summer, will have one year of law school remaining. Due to its temporary nature, this position does not convey civil service status. However, an open civil service examination for permanent legal employment is given near the end of the summer internship period which is available to law students who participate in the program. A candidate who is successful in this examination may receive an offer for legal employment to commence after graduation from law school.