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Title: Chief Staff Attorney
Pay Grade: Executive Management
Starting Pay: $146,542.34 - $175,237.67
Departmental Mission Statement:
MISSION STATEMENT OF THE MASSACHUSETTS APPEALS COURT:
The Appeals Court Staff Attorney Department provides legal support for one of the largest unitary appellate courts in the country. The department is responsible for many of the court's critical case flow functions including screening, drafting, and editing responsibilities for appeals from every State trial court department and select administrative agencies. Its mission is to provide the Court with thorough, discerning, and high-quality legal work in a timely manner. Staff attorneys consult regularly with the Court's Chief Justice and twenty-four Associate Justices.
This position requires leadership, a commitment to continuous improvement, and the ability to work in a flexible environment adjusting to the changing needs of the department. The Staff Attorney Department recently merged to unite three discrete staff attorney functions within one management unit. The ideal candidate must demonstrate imagination and a vision on how best to realize the talent within the department while continuing the ongoing integration process.
Notes: The Appeals Court recognizes the importance of a work-life balance and is developing a hybrid office/remote work policy.
Position Summary: This Executive Management position is responsible for all aspects of management of the Staff Attorney Department, its skilled personnel, and its critical functions. The Chief Staff Attorney reports directly to the Chief Justice, and works closely with the Associate Justices, Court Administrator, and Senior Management Team. Staff Attorneys are unionized and subject to a collective bargaining agreement.
Duties: MAJOR DUTIES:
Leads and manages a department of highly skilled attorneys; develops and implements policies and procedures within the Staff Attorney Department of the Appeals Court.
Coordinates assignments of work to staff attorneys in screening appeals, assisting the justices in drafting decisions, and editing the Court's decisions and orders. Monitors and ensures quality and thoroughness of all work produced by the department, its timely completion, and its compliance with highly technical guidelines. Acts as a liaison between the Justices and the staff attorneys.
Designs and implements the orientation, on-going training, and mentoring of staff attorneys. Provides interdepartmental training as well as occasional trainings for other State trial courts and the bar.
Provides on-going feedback to staff attorneys and conducts yearly performance evaluations. Provides support and assistance to staff for their on-going professional development and advancement.
Creates an environment that encourages open communication, collaboration, and a team approach to reach the department's goals.
Monitors staff attendance and approves leave requests.
Participates in all aspects of the hiring process for staff attorneys.
Prepares monthly reports of case flow and department productivity, and other reports at the direction of the Chief Justice or his/her/their designee.
Coordinates with the Clerk's Office, the Reporter of Decisions and other court departments to develop and implement procedures for timely case processing.
Monitors and reports on legal developments and responds to questions from judges, chambers staff, and the Clerk's Office.
Performs screening, writing, and editorial tasks when necessary.
Serves on court related committees.
Performs other related work as required.
Job Competencies: JOB COMPETENCIES:
All applicants must be able, through the interview process, to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the following areas:
Ethics and Values: Communicates and demonstrates the ethics and values of the Appeals Court.
Mission: Understands, upholds, and communicates the Appeals Court missions.
Applied Knowledge: Skillfully and thoroughly performs complex legal research; prepares legal memoranda and other documents; reviews and contributes to the development and implementation of court rules and policies; and proposes needed amendments. Demonstrates ability to manage the work assignments among legal staff to assure a timely response to requests from the Justices for legal services.
Problem Solving: Accurately assesses operational and administrative issues within the Staff Attorney Department and develops feasible solutions.
Customer Service: Conducts oneself in a courteous and professional manner with respect to court employees and the public. Responsive to court operational needs.
Collaboration: Works with others cooperatively, accepts feedback, demonstrates a willingness to be a team player, and contributes to a work environment that focuses on shared departmental goals.
Communications: Excellent oral and written communication skills, including the ability to use software to enhance presentations. Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with court personnel, including judges, employees, and other government officials.
Continuous Learning: Demonstrates a commitment to continuous self- improvement through professional development.
Commitment to Diversity: Promotes diversity through understanding and respect, using effective communication with persons of varied racial, ethnic, economic, and cultural backgrounds.
Demonstrated leadership ability and excellent interpersonal and communication skills, both orally and in writing with diverse individuals and groups.
Ability to work collaboratively and delegate appropriate tasks to others.
Ability to consider, evaluate, and synthesize the ideas and opinions of others.
Ability to foster an effective working environment with all court departments.
Ability to problem solve and communicate effectively when conflicts arise.
Excellent multi-tasking and organizational skills.
REQUIRED EXPERIENCE AND EDUCATION:
The applicant must have a law degree and be admitted to practice law in Massachusetts.
Seven to ten years of legal experience or an equivalent combination of education, legal, and management experience.
Demonstrated management skills.
Superior analytical, research, writing, editing and oral communication skills.
Experience managing a professional staff in a legal, academic, or like environment preferred.
Knowledge of Massachusetts civil, criminal, and appellate procedure preferred.
Knowledge and/or understanding of managing collectively bargained employees is preferred.
Fluency in the use of software such as MS Word and Excel, Adobe preferred.
The position includes a generous State benefit package including a defined benefit pension plan, subject to vesting.
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Employment with the Trial Court is contingent upon passage of a criminal record check.