JOB OPPORTUNITIES IN THE OFFICE OF THE COUNTY COUNSEL
I. The Office of the County Counsel
The Office of the County Counsel is the general counsel for the County of Santa Clara, including the Board of Supervisors and all County agencies and departments, as well as certain school districts and special districts within the county. Just as a large company utilizes its in-house counsel, our clients rely on our Office for the full range of legal services, covering a broad spectrum of practice areas. The Office’s 108 attorneys handle nearly all of the County’s civil litigation, including employment, personal injury, child welfare, breach of contract, civil rights, taxation, probate/conservatorship, environmental law, workers’ compensation, and social justice and impact litigation. We also provide all of the day-to-day legal services expected from any in-house attorney, including advice and counsel regarding how to navigate emerging areas of law, and negotiation and drafting of contracts and other legal agreements. As public law attorneys, our work covers a wide array of policy matters that significantly affect the health, safety, and well-being of the County’s 1.9 million residents. The Office is committed to providing the highest quality legal service, to advancing the County’s mission to support and protect all County residents, and to being a national leader in public-sector law practice, as demonstrated by the Office’s 2019 receipt of the American Bar Association’s Hodson Award.
II. The Open Positions
The Office of the County Counsel is seeking talented, highly-motivated attorneys to fill open positions on the following teams. Prior public-sector experience is desirable, but not required for any of the open positions. Salaries vary based on experience and qualifications. For attorneys with five or more years of experience, the annual salary range is $206,737 to $257,312.
Labor and Employment Team
The Labor and Employment Team advises County departments and managers regarding a wide array of labor and employment matters, including hiring, training, and disciplining employees; reasonably accommodating employees and complying with employee-leave laws and policies; negotiating and finalizing labor contracts; drafting personnel policies; and complying with the County’s Merit System Rules and state and federal labor, employment, and equal opportunity laws. Team attorneys also represent the County and its departments in cases before the County’s Personnel Board, labor arbitrators, the Public Employment Relations Board, the EEOC, the DFEH, and other state and federal administrative agencies. The Team’s goal is to support the County’s commitment to being an employer of excellence that values and supports all of its employees. We are particularly interested in candidates with experience in labor relations.
We are seeking an attorney who has expertise in advising on employee benefits for a public employer. The County manages and implements a variety of employee benefit programs, including group health plans, health care flexible spending accounts, and IRC Section 457 deferred compensation. This attorney would advise the County on the legal questions relating to the design, structure, negotiation, implementation, and administration of a variety of benefit plans, and federal and state compliance requirements, including with regard to tax laws.
Workers’ Compensation Team
The Workers’ Compensation Team provides legal advice and representation to the Workers’ Compensation Department, which operates the County’s self-administered workers’ compensation program. The County uses both in-house attorneys and outside counsel to represent the County in proceedings related to workers’ compensation claims, appear before the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, and litigate Industrial Disability Retirement appeals and third-party subrogation claims. We are seeking an experienced attorney to litigate a workers’ compensation caseload, including to manage advice and work produced in-house and also manage the selection, assignment, and work product of outside counsel. This position requires strong organization and case-handling/management skills to, among other things, represent the County; conduct frequent case consultations; monitor fees and expenses; and perform other related duties.
Technology, Data Security, and Privacy Team
The Technology, Data Security, and Privacy Team provides legal advice to the Board of Supervisors and County departments on technology issues, data sharing, confidentiality, privacy, data security laws, and related legal requirements. The team’s attorneys negotiate technology contracts and advise the Technology Services and Solutions Department, the Information Security Office, and the Privacy Office on all legal issues. The team also participates in various data governance activities throughout the County, working closely with the Office’s other teams that focus on specific County departments, including the Finance and Government Operations team; the Human Services team; the Health & Hospital team; and the Public Safety & Justice team.
Finance and Government Operations Team
The Finance and Government Operations (FGO) Team provides legal advice to the Board of Supervisors, the County Executive, the Assessor, the Clerk of the Board, Facilities and Fleet Department, Finance Agency, County Library, Procurement Department, and Registrar of Voters to fulfill the public service mission of the County. FGO attorneys research and analyze many areas of law, craft ordinances and policies, negotiate contracts, comment on legislation, and help solve challenging problems for the County departments and officials they advise. Attorneys on the FGO Team also participate in highly significant litigation related to property taxation and election-related matters, and provide advice on programs of significant importance to the County’s Board of Supervisors and the broader community. The Team’s practice is grounded in various areas of public law, including the Brown Act, the Public Records Act, and the Political Reform Act. Attorneys also practice in specialized areas including public contracting, finance, property taxation, ethics and conflicts of interest. We are particularly interested in candidates with experience in taxation; public finance; and contracting.
Health and Hospitals Team
The Health and Hospitals Team provides legal advice to the County’s health care delivery system. This team of attorneys provides in-house legal counsel to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC), a 731-bed acute care hospital and Level 1 trauma center and 50-bed psychiatric hospital; O’Connor Hospital, a 358-bed acute care hospital; and Saint Louise Regional Hospital, a 95-bed acute care hospital serving the southern portion of the county; as well as a network of eight health centers and four urgent care clinics. The County runs one of the nation’s largest public health and hospital systems. Attorneys in the Health and Hospitals Team also serve as in-house legal counsel to the Behavioral Health Services Department; Public Health Department; Custody Health Services Department; and Valley Health Plan, the only locally based commercial health plan in Santa Clara County. The attorneys on this team have broad experience providing advice on a wide array of cutting-edge issues to healthcare providers and administrators on matters of importance in the healthcare industry, including Affordable Care Act implementation, regulatory compliance, contracting, quality improvement and risk management, certification and licensing, pharmacy services, policies and procedures, health information privacy and data security, medical ethics, health care finance, and health care IT.
Human Services Team
The Human Services Team provides legal advice to the County’s human services departments that provide benefits and supportive services, including the Office of Supportive Housing and Social Services Agency (SSA). The Office of Supportive Housing’s mission is to end and prevent homelessness by increasing access to housing and related supportive services. SSA is composed of multiple departments that administer critical public benefit programs: the Department of Aging and Adult Services which administers the Senior Nutrition Program and In-Home Supportive Services; the Department of Employment and Benefit Services which administers Medi-Cal, CalFresh, CalWORKS, and General Assistance Programs; and the Department of Family and Children’s Services that protects children from abuse and neglect, and supports families in need. Attorneys support the Human Services departments on a variety of issues including compliance with public benefit program requirements, data sharing, and new program development, in addition to supporting day-to-day operations by advising on workflows and data governance, drafting department policies, and assisting with service delivery contracting to increase access to services and supports.
Environment and Land Use Team
The Environment and Land Use (ELU) Team provides legal advice to the Board of Supervisors, the Consumer and Environmental Protection Agency (including the Department of Environmental Health and the Agriculture and Environmental Management Department), the Department of Parks and Recreation, the Department of Planning and Development, the Roads and Airports Department, and the Office of Sustainability. ELU attorneys research and analyze novel areas of the law impacting the environment, land use, and sustainability within Santa Clara County, and advise on strategies and implementation measures to respond to the evolving built and natural environment that makes up Santa Clara County. ELU attorneys regularly prepare ordinances and policies, negotiate contracts, comment on legislation, and advise County officials and departments on a multitude of significant issues facing the County. The Team’s practice covers various areas of public law, with attorneys also specializing in land use, sustainability, transportation, and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). We are particularly interested in candidates with experience in land use, environmental law, and experience with CEQA.
III. General Qualifications
- Must be a member in good standing with the State Bar of California;
- Must have a demonstrated history of hard work, dedication, and academic excellence;
- Must have the ability to prioritize and manage several simultaneous projects under deadlines;
- As some of the work done in the Office of the County Counsel will undoubtedly be new to any applicant, the ideal candidate will be flexible and show an eagerness to learn;
- Must be self-motivated and willing to take ownership of any matter;
- Must be a team player. Our Office is a collegial and supportive environment in which employees willingly pitch-in to help one another;
- Must have exceptional legal research and writing skills;
- Must have strong communication skills. Our attorneys must be able to explain complex legal issues to judges, arbitrators, elected officials, a diverse range of clients, and, occasionally, members of the public;
- Must be able to establish and maintain excellent working relationships with other County staff; and
- Our attorneys are expected to practice the highest level of ethics and professional responsibility.
IV. Salary and Benefits
Salaries vary based on experience and qualifications. For attorneys with five or more years of experience, the annual salary range is $206,737 to $257,312.
The County offers comprehensive medical, dental, and vision plans for all attorneys and their dependents. Attorneys also receive substantial pension benefits, long-term disability insurance, life insurance, and related coverage.
Other Benefits Include:
- Significant paid vacation and sick time
- 12 paid County holidays
- 457 Deferred Compensation Plan
- Employee Assistance Program
- Dependent Care Assistance Plan
- Employee Wellness Program
- Tuition Reimbursement Program
- Payment of State Bar Dues
Additional information regarding benefits is available here.
V. Diversity and Inclusion
Santa Clara County is one of the most diverse communities in the United States, and its diversity is one of its greatest strengths. Our Office aims to reflect the communities we serve, and we believe that diversity in our Office is crucial to successfully performing the variety of work with which we are entrusted. Being able to draw on different perspectives allows us to be at the forefront of legal issues both locally and nationally. The Office of the County Counsel seeks a diverse applicant pool for every position, welcomes qualified applicants of all backgrounds, and hires based on fair and open competition.
VI. How to Apply
Applicants interested in any of the above positions should send a résumé, list of five references, and brief cover letter to Chief Assistant County Counsel Greta Hansen via [email protected]. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis, and interested applicants are encouraged to apply promptly.
Job Opportunities in the Office of the County Counsel (PDF)