Deputy Port Attorney
Port of San Diego - San Diego, CA

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DEPUTY PORT ATTORNEY I, II, III

The San Diego Unified Port District (“District”) is seeking Deputy Port Attorneys I, II, and/or III.

IDEAL CANDIDATE PROFILE:

• Graduation with a Juris Doctor degree from an accredited law school and current membership in good standing in the State Bar of California
• Excellent academic credentials
• At least five years of progressively responsible experience in the practice of law
• Experience negotiating and drafting documents for complex business and real estate transactions
• Experience in CEQA, land use, environmental, personnel/POBR and civil litigation
• Must be an excellent communicator in both written and oral presentations
• High customer/stakeholder-oriented focus toward achieving the District’s strategic objectives, mission and vision

The District provides a competitive salary and excellent benefits including medical, dental and life insurance; thirteen (13) paid holidays a year, paid vacation, tuition reimbursement, a retirement plan and more.

Starting salary is based on qualifications

An Equal Opportunity Employer

GENERAL PURPOSE

Under general direction, performs a wide range of legal services of a routine to complex nature in representing the Port; provides advice and counsel to Port managers and staff; conducts legal research and drafts legal documents; represents the Port in civil litigation and administrative hearings; and performs related duties as assigned.

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS

Deputy Port Attorney I is the entry-level class in the professional Port Attorney class series and is designed to provide practical learning and experience to individuals who have recently passed the Bar. A greater proportion of an incumbent’s time is spent in conducting legal research, drafting memoranda and documents and providing legal services and counsel to department managers and staff on legal issues of routine to moderate difficulty. An incumbent will assist in preparation of cases for civil litigation and administrative hearing, conducting legal research, drafting motions and pleadings and performing other pretrial work, and may represent the Port in litigation matters of limited impact. Assignments will grow in difficulty and complexity based on an incumbent’s increasing knowledge and demonstrated proficiency. As experience is gained, an incumbent is expected to complete assigned projects with considerable independence and the exercise of sound professional judgment, analysis and problem-solving.
Port Attorney II is the journey-level class in this series. An incumbent provides litigation support, legal advice and counsel to Port management on issues of increasing difficulty and complexity requiring deeper knowledge and experience gained in specialized areas of the law affecting public agencies and special districts. An incumbent will assist or represent the Port in court or before administrative bodies on standard cases of moderate difficulty, sensitivity or consequence to the Port.
Port Attorney III is the advanced-level class in this series. At this level, an incumbent is expected to handle legal issues and questions of considerable complexity and Port impact on a broad range of matters as well in specialized areas of legal expertise. The employee is expected to be skilled, knowledgeable and capable of independently representing the Port on all but the most complex matters in court and before administrative bodies. Overall assignments will vary in difficulty. Cases are often highly complex, require particularized skills and political sensitivity and involve significant risk and consequences for the Port.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

The following statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work performed by people assigned to this classification. They are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required of personnel so classified.

1. Assists in representing or represents the Port in civil litigation and administrative hearings held by local, state and federal agencies; performs all phases of pretrial, trial and appellate work; assists in or develops litigation strategy and alternatives, prepares briefs, drafts pleadings, motions and arguments; propounds or responds to requests for discovery and depositions in preparation for presentation of assigned cases; files motions and briefs; represents the Port in court on cases in full or in arguing motions and presenting other matters before the court; consults with legal staffs of other entities when joint cases or issues of mutual interest are litigated; when outside counsel is used, assists by providing support to facilitate discovery, monitors case status and audits bills for legal fees for reasonableness.

2. Provides legal information and advice to departments on a wide range of legal issues of varying difficulty and complexity; conducts risk assessments and identifies areas of potential liability; conducts research of various regulatory and statutory schemes and develops strategies for addressing issues; provides advice and direction to ensure Port compliance with legal and regulatory requirements; determines potential causes of action and develops strategies for cost recovery claims; develops creative solution to legal issues and problems to satisfy differing policy objectives; determines priorities and timelines for the resolution of numerous competing legal issues.

3. Conducts research on legal issues, federal and state statutory and case law and regulations and administrative interpretations; writes research memoranda and conclusions; drafts resolutions and ordinances ranging from routine to highly complex; prepares oral and written legal opinions for Port managers and staff; drafts, reviews and finalizes legal documents and instruments; reviews and approves contracts and agreements; drafts explanatory memoranda on legal implications of complex issues; reviews departmental documents for legal sufficiency.

4. Assists in or advises department directors, managers, supervisors and employees on their role in litigation, their responses to the public and media regarding legal issues and litigation and preparation for testimony in court and in administrative hearings.

5. Analyzes proposed federal and state legislation for impacts on Port policies, practices and operations; prepares reports of findings and conclusions; recommends revisions, amendments and other actions.

6. Negotiates settlements to litigation, claims and disputes; participates with departments in negotiating and drafting complex contracts and agreements for acquisition, use and development of Port property and facilities.

7. Responds to public records requests; provides interpretations of code provisions to citizens, media and public official requests.

OTHER DUTIES

1. Assists other attorneys in assigned phases of legal work on complex litigation.

2. Answers correspondence and responds to inquiries on legal matters related to Port business, as assigned.

3. Consults with legal staffs of member cities and other public agencies regarding legal issues facing the Port.

Qualifications:

Knowledge of:

1. Principles and practices of civil and administrative law, and litigation, especially as they relate to governmental entities and special districts in the State of California.

2. Effective strategies, practices and techniques in the conduct of negotiations and litigation.

3. Pleadings and effective practices and techniques in the presentation of court cases; judicial procedures and rules of evidence.

4. The organization of the Port, including the functions and interrelationships of its divisions and departments.

5. Principles, methods and techniques of legal research and investigation.

6. Code, state and federal law and regulation, court decisions and other legal requirements applicable to government or special district functions, operations and personnel.

7. Principles and practices of effective legal communication.

Ability to:

1. Prepare clear, concise and competent legal briefs, opinions, resolutions, contracts, agreements, leases, deeds, reports, correspondence, proposed legislation and other written materials.

2. Define issues, perform legal research, analyze problems, evaluate alternatives and develop sound conclusions and recommendations.

3. Present statements of fact, law and argument clearly and logically.

4. Exercise sound, independent judgment within general policy guidelines and legal parameters.

5. Interpret state and federal laws, regulations, legislation and constitutional provisions affecting applicable Port operations.

6. Represent the Port effectively in hearings, courts of law, negotiations and meetings.

7. Use a high degree of integrity and discretion in dealing with confidential or sensitive situations.

8. Establish and maintain effective working relationships with all levels of Port management and staff, officials of other governmental agencies, outside counsel, litigants, tenants and other Port customers and stakeholders and
others encountered in the course of work.

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS

Education, Training and Experience:

Graduation with a Juris Doctor degree from an accredited law school is required for Deputy Port Attorney I and one year of responsible experience in the practice of law.
At least three years of progressively responsible experience in the practice of law, preferably in a governmental setting, is required for Deputy Port Attorney II.
At least five years of progressively responsible experience in the practice of law, preferably in a governmental setting and/or in the practice of specialized areas of the law such as employment and environmental law is required for Deputy Port Attorney III.

Licenses; Certificates; Special Requirements:

Current membership in good standing in the State Bar of California and admission to practice before State of California and federal courts.
A current, valid California Class C driver’s license at time of appointment and maintained at all times thereafter in order to operate a vehicle on District business.

Supplemental Information:

PHYSICAL AND MENTAL DEMANDS

Persons with disabilities may be able to perform the essential duties of this class with reasonable accommodation. Reasonable accommodation will be evaluated on an individual basis and depends, in part, on the specific requirements for the job, the limitations related to disability and the ability of the hiring department to accommodate the limitation.

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