Paralegal, Legal Secretary, and Legal Clerk Positions

The Office of the County Counsel is the general counsel for the County of Santa Clara, including the Board of Supervisors and all County departments and agencies, as well as certain other public entities. The Office provides all day-to-day legal services expected from any in-house attorney, including advice and counsel regarding how to navigate emerging areas of law, civil litigation for the County, and negotiation and drafting of contracts and other legal documents. The Office's attorneys, paralegals, and secretaries  work in a wide array of practice areas, including civil litigation, labor and employment, health and hospital, public safety and justice, child welfare, probate/conservatorship, workers' compensation, general government advice and transactions, real property and public works, civil and code enforcement, and social justice and impact litigation. 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 of the County Counsel is currently recruiting for Paralegals and Legal Secretaries to work as partners with attorneys and other paralegals and legal secretaries. We offer a friendly, professional environment and the opportunity to work in a public law office doing work which has an impact on the community and the lives of our most vulnerable citizens.

Legal Secretary Trainee, Legal Secretary I, and Legal Secretary II Positions

Legal Secretaries in the Office of the County Counsel may work in several legal practice areas. Legal Secretaries will: assist attorneys in preparing for hearings in state and federal court, as well as other state and federal administrative agencies;  prepare legal correspondence, memoranda, and pleadings; file, research, and track legal papers with state, federal, and appellate courts; abstract information from files; manage attorneys' calendars and files; keep attorneys aware of scheduled events and approaching deadlines; and communicate by phone and email with clients, maintaining a high degree of confidentiality and professionalism at all times.

The Legal Secretary II position is the highest non-supervisory level in the County's Legal Secretary series and requires two years of experience equivalent to the Legal Secretary I classification. 

The Legal Secretary I position requires two years of clerical experience, one year of which must include working in a law office, or with a Justice System function, performing complex or responsible legal clerical work, or one year of experience as a Legal Secretary Trainee in the County of Santa Clara.

The Legal Secretary Trainee position requires three years of clerical experience requiring use of discretion and judgment and equivalent to the Office Specialist III classification within the County of Santa Clara.

For our Legal Secretary positions, we seek individuals who are proficient with the Microsoft Office Suite and have the ability to learn specialized legal case management software. Successful candidates must demonstrate excellent written and oral communication abilities evidenced by strong grammar and punctuation, effective writing and proofreading skills, and competency in formatting documents. The capability to work collaboratively with your colleagues to support several attorneys and to interact professionally with clients as shown through your interpersonal, customer service, and organizational skills are necessary characteristics. An eagerness to take on interesting challenges with a commitment to public service in a fast-paced, professional environment are all essential qualities for this job.  All County Counsel personnel must maintain strict adherence to the confidentiality of the attorney-client privilege and attorney work product.

Applicants may also be considered for Legal Secretary positions that are designated as Confidential and receive five-percent (5%) premium pay. Positions are designated Confidential to support the County Counsel's Labor and Employment Team, whose attorneys are involved in contract negotiations with various employee bargaining units, personnel and union grievances, employee discipline, arbitrations, and other personnel matters involving union members. Confidential Employees are not represented by SEIU Local 521. A Confidential Legal Secretary may also be assigned to assist the Office's executive management attorneys.

To express interest in a legal secretary position:

If you are interested in a legal secretary position with the Office of the County Counsel, send a cover letter and resume via email to [email protected] with the Subject line "Legal Secretary Position."

Paralegal – County Counsel and Senior Paralegal - County Counsel

Paralegals and Senior Paralegals in the Office of the County Counsel work with attorneys and other legal professionals on civil and quasi-civil matters.   Paralegals may work in one or more legal practice areas, as referenced above.  Exact paralegal assignments will vary by practice area, but some examples include: managing the collection, synthesis, and summarization of documents and other records; assisting with the preparation of testimony, exhibits, and other documents for different types of legal proceedings, including court hearings, trials, and arbitrations; communicating and coordinating with other County department staff, witnesses, and experts; tracking timelines for legal proceedings; assisting in the review of documents for responsiveness to subpoenas and requests under the California Public Records Act; and performing cite checking and basic legal research.

The Paralegal - County Counsel position requires a certificate of completion from a paralegal program approved by the American Bar Association, or alternate education/experience as provided in Business and Professions Code section 6450(c).

The Senior Paralegal - County Counsel position requires one year of experience as a paralegal in addition to the requirements for the Paralegal – County Counsel position.

For our Paralegal and Senior Paralegal positions, we seek individuals who have excellent written and oral communication abilities and proficiency with interpersonal, client, customer service, and organizational skills.  The capability to work collaboratively with your colleagues and clients, and strong research and problem-solving abilities are valued.  An eagerness to take on interesting challenges with a commitment to public service in a fast-paced, professional environment are all essential qualities for success in this job.  Experience in a legal or government office is highly desirable.

Applicants may also be considered for positions that are designated as Confidential and receive five percent (5%) premium pay.  Positions that are designated Confidential support the County Counsel's Labor and Employment Team, whose attorneys are involved in contract negotiations with various employee bargaining units, personnel and union grievances, employee discipline, arbitrations, and other personnel matters involving union members.  Confidential employees are not represented by SEIU Local 521.

To Apply for a paralegal position:

If you are interested in a paralegal or senior paralegal position with the Office of the County Counsel, please apply through the below links:

The County of Santa Clara is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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.  

Related Links:


Frequently Asked Questions from Legal Clerk, Legal Secretary, and Paralegal Candidates

This information is offered as a resource.  To the extent there is any conflict between this FAQ and the County’s Merit System Rules, County or Office Policies, or the MOU with Service Employees International Union, Local 521 (SEIU 521), those documents control.

  • Why does your Office have openings? 
    • CCO is growing!  As the number of attorneys in the Office has grown—from 60 in 2012 to 108 in 2023—our need for legal clerks, legal secretaries, and paralegals has also grown.  This growth reflects the large array of litigation and policy matters that our Office works on as legal counsel to the County, its Board of Supervisors and elected officials, the County Executive, every County department, and other government bodies.  
  • Do I need law office experience?  
    • Not necessarily.  Legal Clerk Trainees and Legal Secretary Trainees can be hired without legal experience if they have the required clerical skills and experience.  We can teach you the more specific tasks.  There are opportunities for promotion after you have built up experience. Paralegals can be hired straight out of a paralegal certificate program or based on relevant experience.  The Office of the County Counsel seeks a diverse applicant pool for every position and welcomes qualified applicants of all backgrounds. 
  • Office structure and substantive team assignments   
    • What is the supervisory structure at the Office?  The Office’s legal work is carried out by 15 teams.  Paralegals are supervised by a Supervising Paralegal.  Legal secretaries and legal clerks are supervised by a Legal Support Supervisor and also supported by lead legal secretaries.  The Office’s executive team consists of the County Counsel, eight Assistant County Counsels (each of whom supervise several teams), and the Office’s Legal and Compliance Officer.
    • Are legal secretaries and paralegals assigned to only one team or multiple teams?  It depends.   Some legal secretaries and paralegals are “cross-assigned” to more than one team, but some are only assigned to a single team. 
    • What does a position with a “Confidential” designation mean? All County Counsel personnel must maintain strict adherence to the confidentiality of the attorney-client privilege and attorney work product.  Separate from this general requirement of all staff, some positions are designated as “Confidential” because the position is assigned to support the County Counsel's Labor and Employment Team, whose attorneys are involved in contract negotiations with various employee bargaining units, personnel and union grievances, employee discipline, arbitration, and other personnel matters involving union members.  Because of the work they perform supporting the County Counsel’s Labor and Employment Team, Confidential Employees are not represented by SEIU Local 521.  However, the Confidential Employee positions receive the same compensation and benefits of SEIU-represented employees, with an additional 5% premium pay.
  • Compensation + benefits
    • What are the compensation and benefits like?  The County of Santa Clara offers competitive salary and benefits for all employees, more information about which can be found here.  Compensation and benefits for legal secretaries and paralegals within the County Counsel’s Office are governed in large part by the collective bargaining agreement negotiated between SEIU Local 521 (the union that represents a wide variety of County employees, with exceptions) and the County of Santa Clara (available here).  Highlights of the current compensation and benefits package include:
      • The entry level salary for a Legal Secretary Trainee is currently $54,258, while the current highest salary for a Legal Secretary II is $86,396.  Paralegal salaries currently range from $75,786 to $100,882.  Actual salaries upon hire depend on qualifications and experience.  Many of our paralegals have promoted into those positions after starting as legal secretaries.
      • Low or no premium medical, dental, vision, and life insurance for employees and their qualified family members;
      • With a minimum of five years of service, County employees can qualify for a CalPERS pension upon reaching the required retirement age.  More information on CalPERS is available here;
      • New employees earn 10 vacation days per year, with increases in amount of vacation earned beginning in year 2 (12 days), year 5 (16 days), year 10 (18 days), year 15 (20 days), and year 20 (22 days);
      • Additional 4 days paid leave for personal business or beliefs and a “birthday holiday” that can be used during the year;
      • Employees earn 96 hours (12 days) of sick leave per year; and
      • 13 paid County holidays (New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, Presidents’ Day, César Chávez Day, Memorial Day, Juneteenth, Independence Day, Labor Day, Indigenous Peoples Day, Veterans' Day, Thanksgiving Day, Day after Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day).
    • ​​​​​​​Will I qualify for student loan forgiveness if I work at the Office? The County of Santa Clara is a “qualifying employer” for purposes of the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program administered by the U.S. Department of Education.  However, you also have to meet the other requirements for PSLF (e.g., be employed full time and make qualifying payments). 
  • Office culture
    • What type of culture does the Office have?  While every employee will describe our Office culture differently, some words that come up frequently are “supportive,” “collaborative,” and “growth-oriented.”  We are an office committed to excellence, public service, and effective legal advice and advocacy.  We strive to create a safe space for all our employees to develop their skills and interests, as well as opportunities for promotion.  Staff often comment on how much they value being treated as part of the team.  In addition to valuing excellent legal work, our Office also values kindness, collegiality, and respect among colleagues; and diversity, equity, and inclusion.  We support getting to know one another as colleagues through activities such as our annual Administrative Professionals’ Day lunch, summer picnic for Paralegal Appreciation Day, Halloween lunch, end-of-year holiday event, and other events organized by our Social Committee and our Wellness Workgroup. 
  • Telework policy and alternative work schedules
    • Does the Office have a telework policy for paralegals?  Yes.  Following the completion of their probationary period, paralegals are eligible to telework up to two days per week.  The Office also believes that in-person work best facilitates collaboration, relationship building and belonging, and mentorship.  In order to balance these goals, all County Counsel staff are required to work in the Office on Wednesdays and Fridays.  In addition, paralegals—like attorneys—are required to work one more day in the Office, which they can elect to be either Monday, Tuesday, or Thursday. 
    • Does the Office have a telework or alternative work schedule policy for legal secretaries and legal clerks?   All legal clerks and legal secretaries are offered a 9/80 schedule which allows them to have a 3-day weekend every other week.  Following the first pay period, a legal clerk or legal secretary may choose to continue with a standard schedule (M-F, 8 hours per day) or may choose a 9/80 schedule, which provides an option for an approved schedule of every other Monday or every other Friday as a day off with a schedule of eight 9-hour days and one 8-hour day in every two-week pay period.  Due to the on-site functions of their role, legal clerks and legal secretaries are not eligible to telework.
  • How can I find out what jobs are available?
    • If you are interested in a legal secretary position with the Office of the County Counsel, please send a cover letter and resume via email to [email protected] with the Subject line "Legal Secretary Position."
    • If you are interested in a paralegal position with the Office of the County Counsel, please apply through the below links:
  • What is the application and hiring process?
    • When we have an open recruitment, you must submit an application to the County’s Employee Services Agency on the County’s jobs site (  When the recruitment closes, your application will be reviewed to determine if you meet the minimum qualifications for the position.  Some positions also include a written exercise; for such positions, applicants must have a passing score on the written exercise and will be ranked according to their score.  Candidates are then referred to our Office for an interview.  For all the foregoing steps, our Office does not have control of the timeline.  Once we are referred the candidate, we schedule the interviews and any follow-up interviews as quickly as possible.  If the Office identifies a candidate(s) for consideration, we will contact them and inform them that we are proceeding with reference checks and request reference contacts.  Once we receive that information, we conduct the reference checks and decide on whether to make an offer.  Candidates will be notified either way - whether they are extended an offer or advised that they were not selected for a position.


County Counsel Employee Testimonials

       We’ve all heard the comments people make about government workers.  “Good enough for government work” is an expression I hear a lot.  But I’m grateful everyday that I decided to make the move from the private sector to government.  I came to the Office of the County Counsel in 2015 from the large private corporate defense firm I landed in right after getting my paralegal certificate in 2011. Unlike my experience in the private sector, the County Counsel’s Office treated me as an equally valued member of the team.

       During my first case meeting at the County, one of the attorneys asked me what my thoughts were about the case.  Almost eight years later, I still remember the elation I felt at that moment when I realized that my thoughts could matter here.  In addition, I’ve had almost every attorney I’ve worked with here show me that there is more to law than just winning cases; there is justice.  And being assigned to cases, rather than attorneys, brings a sense of ownership and pride to my work in those cases.  I love being a part of the County and working together with my colleagues to help make a better and more just life for those that live in it.  I love the collaborative environment and the emphasis on learning and growing our skills.  And I really love being a part of something bigger than myself.  I’m grateful every day that they decided that I am “good enough for government work.”

- Vickye Ashton, Senior Paralegal


       I joined the Office in December 2020 as a Legal Secretary I.  Before that, I was a paralegal for a small personal injury law firm.  In that job, while there were some positives, it was lacking sufficient pay, benefits, and time off.  There was also no room for growth, and my work did not feel meaningful.  Things changed for the better when I came to the Office.  I feel more valued as an employee and my public service work is positive and rewarding.  I also get paid more.  When I joined, despite the County being at the forefront of providing pandemic related critical safety net services, I felt very welcomed and supported by my supervisors and colleagues.  The culture of inclusion and camaraderie, as well as the focus on well-being and learning were refreshing, and helped me feel a sense of belonging.   The thoughtful onboarding approach allowed me to succeed and the work I do is challenging but satisfying.  I was provided training and shadowing opportunities, and I was regularly asked by my Supervisor and Assistant County Counsel about how I felt and whether there was anything more I needed to do my job well.  I appreciated the check-in meetings and the fact that I had a voice in the process and that my opinion mattered.  I met with my Supervisor and Assistant County Counsel regularly to discuss my growth and needs, and they were always available to provide support, feedback, and guidance. I now enjoy a healthy work-life balance and I have had great growth opportunities.  I was promoted to a Legal Secretary II, and I am now a Lead Legal Secretary – all in under two years!  I am proud to work for our Office and for the County and all those who depend on our services!  I am so glad I made the shift to public service.

- Gabriela Crowley, Lead Legal Secretary


       I have worked for the County Counsel’s Office (CCO) since 2010.  Ten years later, in 2020, I accepted what I thought was a “great” opportunity by taking another government job that was closer to home. After only a few months, it became crystal clear to me just how great I already had it while working for CCO. As luck would have it, there was an opening and CCO accepted me back with open arms. Working here has always been an amazing experience. Everyday, I feel like I’m doing mission-driven work that is all about making the lives of the county’s residents better.  Besides being involved in all the interesting and impactful legal government assignments for the most populous County in the Bay Area, it is so easy to come to work each day already understanding my tasks, knowing the important departmental role I play, and most importantly, the fact that I get to work alongside top-notch, second-to-none, legal professionals! Undoubtedly, coming back to CCO was the best professional decision I have ever made.

- Ruperto Dyangko, Senior Paralegal


        One of the things I’ve loved about my experience with the County Counsel’s Office is how many different types of work I’ve been able to do and how many teams I’ve been able to be a part of.  My journey with the Office started in February 2001.  With no legal experience, I was hired as an Advanced Clerk Typist, the equivalent of an Office Specialist today, in the Workers’ Compensation Unit (WCU). There I learned many law firm basics:  answering incoming calls and taking messages, filing, transcribing, and preparing and serving subpoenas.  In the WCU, I was fortunate enough to learn from a very experienced legal secretary who mentored me and always encouraged me to learn more.  After promoting to Legal Secretary Trainee and then Legal Secretary, I was interested in learning something new.  After asking my supervisor for an opportunity to expand my knowledge, I moved to the Hedding Street Office and began supporting the Health & Hospital Team, with additional assignments relating to the Parks Department and the Housing Authority.  The work at the Hedding Street Office was very different from the work I’d done previously.  I started learning about contracts and how to prepare Board of Supervisors memoranda.  After multiple assignments at the Hedding Street Office, I was interested in learning about Child Dependency, so I transferred to the dependency team in the Julian Street Office, and again I gained a whole new set of skills.  In August 2019 I decided I wanted to give litigation a try, and I was welcomed to yet another team.  As before, the skillset needed for litigation is much different.  Although times and teams change, all of my experience has given me invaluable knowledge on how the County works.  I am thankful for all the opportunities I’ve been given. 

- Sandra Jimenez, Legal Secretary II


       I have been with the Office of the County Counsel for over three enlightening years.  One thing that impresses me the most is the incredible opportunity for growth and advancement with the Office.  I started with the Office as a Legal Secretary and with the support of the Office and my supervisors, I had the opportunity to apply for and promote to a Paralegal and now, a Program Manager position.  Coming from the private sector, I did not have the same opportunities to advance and grow as I do now in the public sector.  I feel seen and heard, and not only was my hard work and potential recognized, they encouraged me to develop those skills, and the Office did so by trusting me with growing responsibilities, letting me take on and own tasks and projects. 

       Not many can say that they enjoy and look forward to showing up for work so I find myself very fortunate to be one who can, and with the major contributing factor being my amazing colleagues who share the same passion for public service and vision and definition of human kindness.  Every day, the Office presents itself with new opportunities for you to learn and grow professionally.  The Office has tools for you to utilize and procedures in place to ensure that you will succeed and be your best self or work on becoming your best self.  The County provides a safe work environment, both physically and mentally.  We have wellness events, work-life balance seminars, and great benefits and retirement plans.

- Truc Nguyen, Program Manager


       I hadn’t seriously considered public service before 2010, but a fire started within me during a presentation the County made to De Anza College paralegal students when I was a student there.  The County’s articulation of its mission sparked a fire inside of me, and I determined that this is where I want to be!  I became excited after hearing a panel of the Office’s paralegals present information about their daily work, how much they enjoyed collaborating with each other and the attorneys, and how their work contributed to making Santa Clara County a good, fair, and equitable place to live, work, and conduct business.  The paralegals were passionate about the meaningful work that they were a part of. 

        I started in the Office in 2010 as a temporary “extra help” paralegal, and then I applied for a full-time position as soon as an opening became available.  I worked as a Senior Paralegal on the litigation team for many years, and I promoted to Supervising Paralegal in 2018.  I still enjoy coming to work each day and helping my coworkers to contribute to the Office’s and the County’s mission.  It means a lot to me that my work every day truly serves the public interest.

- Denise Sanders, Supervising Paralegal

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