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Title: Research Attorney – Western Mass
Pay Grade: Grade 18
Starting Pay: $80,071.49
It is the mission of the Juvenile Court to protect children from abuse and neglect and promote opportunities for children to reside in safe, stable, permanent family environments whenever possible, to strengthen families when their children are in need of services, to rehabilitate juveniles, to protect the public from delinquent and criminal activity while holding offenders accountable and addressing the harm suffered by the community and the victim, and to decide all cases fairly and impartially with dedication, integrity and professionalism
This posting is for a research attorney position supporting judges in Western Massachusetts, including Hampden, Berkshire, and the Franklin/Hampshire Divisions of the Juvenile Court Department.
Research Attorneys are assigned by the Manager of Legal Research and Assistant Deputy Court Administrator, with the final approval of the Chief Justice, to rotations.
This position currently offers a hybrid schedule that includes three in-person workdays per week and two remote workdays per week, subject to change.
Applicants selected for interviews will be required to submit a writing sample based on a writing prompt provided by the Juvenile Court.
This position is designated as a union position and is covered by the Collective Bargaining Agreement with O.P.E.I.U., Local 6.
Position Summary: The Research Attorney is a professional position within the Juvenile Court. This position involves;
• analyzing and researching legal issues and questions for the justices of the Juvenile Court and the Administrative Office,
• Preparing legal memoranda, drafting judicial decisions and other documents
An employee is hired at the Research Attorney I level and is eligible for reclassification to the Research Attorney II level upon meeting the requirements of that level. The position title reverts to the entry level Research Attorney I position when there is a vacancy.
Research Attorney I: This is the entry level position title within this series. An employee is expected to perform the full range of legal duties of this position and to train for the next higher level.
Research Attorney II: This is the second level position title within this series. An employee is expected to perform more complex and varied duties which require more knowledge of case law, statutes, rules, and court policies and procedures.
SUPERVISION RECEIVED: Research Attorneys work directly with the judges and Administrative Office staff, and under the supervision of the Manager of Legal Research Services, the Assistant Deputy Court Administrator, and the Chief Justice.
Research Attorney I Duties: Research legal issues and questions, and assist in preparing well-written and error-free legal research memoranda and drafting findings of fact, conclusions of law, rationales, judgments and memoranda of decision, particularly in complex cases;
• Assist in the training, administration, and oversight of law clerks and interns;
• Confer with and advise judges and Administrative Office staff on legal issues;
• Assist in preparing materials for committees, meetings, and judicial conferences.
• Accurately and timely perform all required administrative tasks;
• Travel to courthouses as required;
• Perform related duties as required.
Research Attorney II Duties:
• Regularly research complex or novel issues or arguments of law and prepare memoranda;
• Regularly assist in the training, administration and oversight of law clerks and interns
• Perform special projects as assigned;
• Perform all of the duties of the lower-level title as required.
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 Juvenile Court Department and the Trial Court.
Mission: Understands, upholds, and communicates the Trial Court and Juvenile Court missions.
Applied Knowledge: Understanding of legal research, preparing legal memoranda and other documents, contributing to the development and implementation of court rules and policies.
Problem Solving: Accurately identifies and addresses legal issues within the department and initiates corrective action.
Continuous Learning: Demonstrates a commitment to continuously improve himself or herself through professional development.
Commitment to Diversity: Promotes an environment of diversity through understanding, respect, and positive communication with persons of varied racial, ethnic, economic, and cultural backgrounds.
Customer Service: Fosters a departmental environment emphasizing conduct that is courteous and professional toward both Trial Court employees and the public.
Collaboration: Works with others cooperatively, and promotes teamwork, contributing to a work environment that focuses on shared departmental goals.
These are the minimum requirements necessary to apply for the position of Research Attorney:
Research Attorney I Requirements:
• Juris Doctor degree from an accredited law school;
• Membership in the Massachusetts Bar;
• 2 years of post-law school, professional legal work experience;
• Prior post-graduate judicial clerkship, particularly in the Juvenile Court Department, is preferred;
• Excellent legal writing and communication skills;
• Excellent legal research and analytical skills, using both online and book resources;
• Ability to assist in the training, administration and oversight of law clerks and interns;
• Experience and knowledge in the use of personal computers, including word processing programs such as Microsoft Word and legal research services such as Lexis or Westlaw;
• Demonstrated ability to follow written and oral instructions;
• Demonstrated ability to manage, prioritize, and complete simultaneous assignments;
• Demonstrated ability to work well independently while maintaining productivity and demonstrating good judgment;
• Demonstrated ability to meet deadlines and otherwise complete assignments in a timely manner;
• Demonstrated ability to work well with others in a professional setting, including judges, managers, court staff, and law clerks;
• Willingness and ability to travel to courthouses as required.
Research Attorney II Requirements
• A minimum of four years of experience as a Research Attorney I
• Considerable knowledge of the Massachusetts judicial system and court policies, procedures, and practices;
• Demonstrated ability to analyze and research complex legal issues;
• Demonstrated ability to assist in the training, administration and oversight of law clerks and interns;
• Demonstrated ability to analyze administrative concerns and to develop feasible solutions.
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Employment with the Trial Court is contingent upon passage of a criminal record check.
The selected candidate(s) must report their COVID-19 vaccination and booster status, or an attestation that they are unvaccinated, in the Trial Court's online tool upon beginning employment.