Legal Assistant

King County   Seattle, WA   Full-time     Legal
Posted on September 15, 2022
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Summary


The Department of Public Defense (DPD) provides robust legal representation to indigent clients in felonies, misdemeanors, juvenile defense, family defense (dependency cases), involuntary commitment (mental illness), sex offender commitment, and inquests. We work with the community to dismantle the systems that oppress our clients, to make the traditional systems that remain as restorative as possible, and to advocate for pathways that will allow our clients to succeed. We also advocate to reduce the harm and reach of the criminal and civil legal system and address systemic racism. We strive to create a flexible workplace culture that is inclusive, respectful, and supportive, premised on a shared anti-oppression framework.
 
To learn more about DPD, visit our website at: https://kingcounty.gov/depts/public-defense.aspx

About the Position
The Legal Assistant performs a vital role in supporting the work of the department. Legal Assistants handle an array of technical legal office support tasks performed under general supervision, requiring an ability to exercise a moderate degree of independent judgment. Duties require a clear understanding and skill in applying office guidelines, legal procedures, work methods, court rules, and applicable laws.
 
Who May Apply
This recruitment is open to the general public and may be used to fill full-time current and/or future career service, term-limited temporary, and/or special duty positions in any of the Department’s four divisions. DPD also intends to generate an eligibility pool for future vacancies in career service and temporary positions over the next six months.
 
Note: Special duty opportunities are open only to current King County career service employees who have completed their initial probation. Special duty applicants must have approval from their current supervisor to accept an assignment. Current employees selected for special duty will be compensated based upon the provisions of the collective bargaining agreement or Coalition Labor Agreement for their base assignment.

DPD Ethical Walls Policies and Procedures will apply to applicants, such that if you work or have worked for one of DPD's divisions, you may be ineligible to work in another division.
 
Work Location
DPD employees enjoy a flexible, hybrid in-office/telecommute workplace structure, and this role should expect to work both remotely and, in the office. DPD maintains physical offices in the following locations:
 

  • Dexter Horton Building, 710 Second Avenue, Seattle
  • Jefferson Street Building, 1401 East Jefferson, Seattle 
  • Meeker Street Building, 420 West Harrison Street, Kent
Rotations of work location can occur based on business need, and placements may be made to any of our Seattle and/or Kent locations.    

Work Schedule
The typical workweek is 40 hours per week, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. This position is non-exempt from the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and is eligible for overtime pay with approval from the supervisor.
 
Forms and Materials Required
  1.  An online employment application completed at www.kingcounty.gov/jobs. The employment history should go back at least 10 years if you have 10 years of employment (or more to include relevant experience).
  2. A cover letter no more than two pages summarizing your experience and how you meet the required qualifications, knowledge, and skills for the position.
 
For more information, contact: 
Falisha Forgash
Human Resource Analyst
fforgash@kingcounty.gov 

Job Duties

DPD's Legal Assistant’s are responsible for accurate docketing and case assignment entry, which may include: 

  • Inputting case assignments following case management system docketing work procedures. This may entail opening cases, inputting initial calendaring, inputting client letters, page-by-page discovery review for conflicts, updating case file, scanning and uploading discovery, updating credits, creating Notices of Appearance, creating and filing Notices of Withdrawal, E-filing & E-Serving documents, running Defendant Criminal History and Electronic Court Record, updating name cards, and transferring cases. 
  • Processing regular debits and credits daily into case management system.
  • Requesting case credit and assignments from the Director's Office as needed.
  • Opening and distributing cases to assigned lawyers.
  • Reviewing case assignments with the attorney supervisor.
  • Maintaining Master Court Calendar with supervisor and attorney supervisor.
  • Verifying monthly reports as needed.
  • Closing client case files and processing closed files daily.
  • Providing front desk and telephone coverage as needed.
  • Obtaining criminal history information from jails or prisons via telephone, email, or regular mail.
  • Providing coverage for vacation and other leaves as needed or directed.
  • Other duties as assigned. 

Experience, Qualifications, Knowledge, Skills

Well-qualified candidates for the Legal Assistant possess at least two years of increasingly responsible office or administrative support experience, preferably in a legal setting (or other complex setting, such as the medical field), or any combination of education and experience that demonstrates the ability to satisfactorily perform the job duties listed above.

In addition, candidates will possess:

  • Knowledge of general office policies, principles, and practices.
  • Knowledge of basic mathematics.
  • Demonstrated initiative and accountability in work products and service and the ability to follow-through on issues to completion. Must be dependable and willing to assist co-workers as needed.
  • Demonstrated proficiency with Microsoft Office products (Excel, Word, and Outlook), document management, and Internet search engines.
  • Demonstrated ability to maintain confidentiality and professionalism when handling sensitive matters.
  • Strong communication skills and the ability to understand and execute verbal and written instructions.
  • Keyboarding proficiency and accuracy.
  • Successful experience working and functioning as a team member.
  • Skill in performing repetitive tasks with high attention to detail.
  • Skill in providing excellent customer service, including communicating with people of diverse backgrounds, who, in the case of clients, may be experiencing stress and trauma due to contact with the criminal legal system.
  • Skill in working with individuals from diverse backgrounds, including victims, witnesses, clients, and court personnel, in a tactful, diplomatic, patient, and professional manner, some of whom may be angry and/or difficult either in person or via telephone.
  • Skill in prioritizing workload, working under pressure with tight timelines, and adapting to changes in workload demands.
  • Regular, reliable, and predictable attendance.
  • The ability to travel throughout King County in a timely manner.
DESIRABLE QUALIFICATIONS:
  • Familiarity with legal office administration.
  • Familiarity with criminal legal system.
  • Knowledge of legal procedures and court rules.
  • Knowledge of Superior Court Management Information System (SCOMIS), Judicial Information System (JIS), and Electronic Case Records (ECR) preferred.
  • Fluency in a foreign language is a plus.
PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS:
  • Ability to lift/move up to 20-pound boxes.

Supplemental Information

Special note regarding COVID-19 
DPD is following Public Health and CDC guidance in regard to social distancing. Interviews for this position will be conducted remotely. Successful candidates may be required to telecommute and come into the office on a periodic basis; frequency will vary based on business and operational needs.
 
DPD Policies 
DPD Ethical Walls Policies and Procedures will apply to applicants, such that if you work or have worked for one of DPD's divisions, you may be ineligible to work in another division.
 
Outside Work Policy for Administrative Staff will apply to applicants, such that you must receive approval from your supervisor and Managing Attorney before being permitted to engage in outside employment for compensation or volunteer.

Application Process
Interested individuals should submit a complete online King County application (all blanks must be filled out and may not direct the reader to reference an attached resume or other document. Answers that say "see resume" will be considered as incomplete), and a cover letter (no more than 2 pages) summarizing how you meet the experience, qualifications, knowledge and skills for the job.
 
Selection Process  
Applications will be reviewed and screened for clarity, completeness, and competitiveness. Applicants may be required to demonstrate their qualifications at the time of the interview and/or complete a skills assessment. All materials will be evaluated for spelling, grammar, and punctuation usage. The most competitive candidates will be invited to interview.

Offer of employment is contingent on:
The successful completion of references and a conflicts check in keeping with DPD’s Ethical Walls Policies and Procedures.
 
Union Membership
Positions in this classification are recognized by Service Employees International Union, Local 925.

Forbes recently named King County as one of Washington State's best employers.

Together, with leadership and our employees, we're changing the way government delivers service and winning national recognition as a model of excellence. Are you ready to make a difference? Come join the team dedicated to serving one of the nation's best places to live, work and play.

Guided by our "True North", we are making King County a welcoming community where every person can thrive. We value diversity, inclusion and belonging in our workplace and workforce. To reach this goal we are committed to workforce equity. Equitable recruiting, support, and retention is how we will obtain the highest quality workforce in our region; a workforce that shares and will help advance our guiding principles--we are one team; we solve problems; we focus on the customer; we drive for results; we are racially just; we respect all people; we lead the way; and we are responsible stewards. We encourage people of all backgrounds and identities to apply, including Native American and people of color, immigrants, refugees, women, LGBTQ+, people living with disabilities, and veterans.

COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement
King County Executive Branch employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. If you are the successful candidate for the position you applied for, the County will send you a conditional offer letter.

As a condition of employment, prior to a final offer of employment, you will be required to:

  • submit proof of vaccination, or
  • have an approved request for medical or religious exemption and an approved accommodation. Philosophical, political, scientific, or sociological objections to vaccination will not be considered for an exemption or accommodation.
People are considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 two weeks after receiving the final dose of a vaccination approved by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Executive Branch includes employees in the Executive branch, the Assessor's Office, Elections, the King County Sheriff's Office, and the Executive Office.

King County is an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Employer
No person is unlawfully excluded from employment opportunities based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation and pregnancy), age, genetic information, disability, veteran status, or other protected class. Our EEO policy applies to all employment actions, including but not limited to recruitment, hiring, selection for training, promotion, transfer, demotion, layoff, termination, rates of pay or other forms of compensation.

To Apply
If you are interested in pursuing this position, please follow the application instructions carefully. If you need this announcement in an alternate language or format, would like to request accommodation or assistance in the application or assessment process or if you have questions please contact the recruiter listed on this job announcement.

King County offers a highly-competitive compensation and benefits package designed to meet the diverse needs of our employees and support our employees' health and well-being.  Eligible positions receive the following benefits and have access to the following programs:

  • Medical, dental, and vision coverage: King County pays 100% of the premiums for eligible employees and family members
  • Life and disability insurance: employees are provided basic coverage and given the opportunity to purchase additional insurance for both the employee and eligible dependents
  • Retirement: King County employees are eligible to participate in a pension plan through the Washington State Department of Retirement Systems and a 457(b) deferred-compensation plan
  • Transportation program and ORCA transit pass
  • 10 paid holidays each year (plus 2 personal holidays)
  • Generous vacation and paid sick leave
  • Paid parental leave, family and medical leaves, and volunteer leave
  • Flexible Spending Account
  • Wellness programs
  • Onsite gyms and activity centers
  • Employee giving program
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Flexible schedules and telecommuting options, depending on position
  • Training and career development programs
For additional information about employee benefits please visit our Benefits, Payroll, and Retirement Page.

This is a general description of the benefits offered to eligible King County employees, and every effort has been made to ensure its accuracy.  If any information on this document conflicts with the provisions of a collective bargaining agreement (CBA), the CBA prevails.  Also, in the event of any incorrect information in this document, applicable laws, policies, rules, CBAs, or official plan documents will prevail.
 
NOTE:  Benefits for Term Limited Temporary (TLT) or Short Term Temporary (STT) positions, including leave eligibility and/or participation in the pension plan through the Washington State Department of Retirement Systems, will vary based upon the terms and details of the position. Short Term Temporary positions are not eligible for an ORCA transit pass.
 
For inquiries about the specifics of this position, please contact the recruiter identified on this job posting.

01
Are you a current and/or former employee of the Department of Public Defense?
  • Yes
  • No
02
If yes to the above, in which division(s)? Otherwise, please indicate N/A.
  • Associated Counsel for the Accused
  • Northwest Defenders
  • Society of Counsel Representing the Accused Persons
  • The Defender Association
  • Director's Office
  • N/A
03
How many years of experience do you have providing increasingly responsible office or administrative support experience in a complex setting?
  • None
  • Less than one year
  • One to two years
  • Three or four years
  • Four or more years
04
Please indicate below which of the following areas you have working experience with. Select all that apply.
  • Demonstrated initiative and accountability in work products and service, and the ability to follow-through on issues to completion.
  • Demonstrated ability to maintain confidentiality and professionalism.
  • Excellent customer service skills including skill in communicating with people of diverse backgrounds.
  • Keyboarding proficiency and accuracy.
  • Performing repetitive tasks that require high attention to detail.
  • Regular, reliable and predictable attendance.
  • Dependability and willingness to assist co-workers as needed.
  • None of the above.
05
For the question above, please pick one item with which you have working experience and provide a brief example of the type of work you've been expected to produce within that skill set. Please include your title and employer. (This question will be competitively evaluated as a part of this recruitment, so please take your time, if no experience, enter "N/A").
06
Please indicate from the list below the software in which you have a demonstrated proficiency. Select all that apply.
  • LegalFiles, or other case management system
  • Electronic Court Records
  • MS Word
  • MS Excel
  • MS Outlook
  • Internet search engines
  • Document management system
  • None
07
Are you applying to this position as an eligible current or previous King County Employee Priority Placement Program Participant? Is this position the same or lower percentage of full-time when compared to the position held at the point of the notification of layoff? Do you possess the skills and abilities to qualify for this position?
  • Yes, I was given a layoff notice from my role at King County and I am within two years of the effective date of my layoff. Additionally, the position I was laid off from was the same or a higher percentage of FT status when compared to this one.
  • No.
08
If you answered yes to the question above and you are applying for this position as a Priority Placement Participant, to be considered, you must provide the following three pieces of information in the space provided: 1. The title you held when you received your layoff notice 2. The department you worked in 3. The effective date of your layoff

Required Question