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Title: Research Attorney
Pay Grade: Grade 18
Starting Pay: $ 80,071.49
Departmental Mission Statement: The Probate and Family Court Department's mission is to deliver timely justice to the public by providing equal access to a fair, equitable and efficient forum to resolve family and probate legal matters and to assist and protect all individuals, families and children in an impartial and respectful manner.
The Probate and Family Court Department has jurisdiction over family-related matters, such as divorce, paternity, child support, custody, parenting time, adoption, termination of parental rights, and abuse prevention. In addition to equity jurisdiction, the Probate and Family Court also has jurisdiction over wills, estates, trusts, guardianships, conservatorships, and changes of name. The Court has 14 divisions.
This posting will be used to fill multiple Research Attorney positions within the Administrative Office of the Probate & Family Court.
This posting will remain open until filled, however, preference will be given to candidates that applied during the initial 14 day posting period.
All applicants must submit their resume, in PDF format, with the online application. Letters of recommendation are not requested or required.
Applicants selected for interviews will be required to submit a writing sample based on a writing prompt provided by the Probate and Family 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 Probate and Family Court. This position involves:
• analyzing and researching legal issues and questions for the justices of the Probate and Family Court and the Administrative Office, and
• 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 Managing Attorney, 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; and
• 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; and
• 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 Probate and Family Court Department and the Trial Court.
Mission: Understands, upholds, and communicates the Trial Court and Probate and Family 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 or more years of relevant legal experience or a combination of legal experience or prior judicial clerkship experience as a law clerk as of the position start date.
• Prior post-graduate judicial clerkship, particularly in the Probate and Family 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; and
• 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; and
• 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.