Legal Secretary
Port of San Diego - San Diego, CA

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With general supervision, provides legal assistance and support to designated attorneys, following applicable court rules and procedures and Port Attorney’s Office standards; and performs related duties as assigned.


Legal Secretaries are responsible for providing legal assistance and administrative support to several assigned attorneys in the Port Attorney’s Office.

Legal Secretary is distinguished from other Port administrative support classes in that Legal Secretaries are required to understand and apply legal terminology, possess litigation support skills in state and federal courts, and possess knowledge of state and federal court rules and procedures applicable to a wide variety of civil litigation.

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 assigned staff attorneys by preparing legal pleadings and documents, maintaining case files and carrying out trial support activities rapidly and accurately and drafting and preparing court documents; word processes drafts of legal documents, contracts and correspondence from written or dictated materials; formats materials according to applicable court requirements and legal and office standards; assists with the transmittal of agreements.

2. Provides administrative support to assigned attorneys; proofreads and edits drafts for spelling and grammar; operates computers and other standard office equipment to produce legal documents; proofreads and copies documents; receives, reviews and disseminates interdepartmental requests for legal assistance.

3. Receives and screens visitors and telephone calls, providing information and handling issues that may require sensitivity and the use of sound independent judgment; conducts legal research, responds to requests for information and complaints from employees and the public, refers the request or complaint to appropriate staff and/or takes or recommends action to resolve the issue.

4. Annotates and maintains trial/docket calendars for assigned attorneys; schedules and confirms appointments for interviews and conferences between parties; arranges and schedules meetings, arbitrations, mediations, settlement conferences, administrative hearings and depositions, including scheduling court reporters and reserving conference rooms; coordinates with court clerks regarding court dates and deadlines.

5. Maintains case files by opening, filing, updating and closing files as appropriate; designs and maintains cross-reference filing index and reminder systems for legal staff and client bureaus; maintains up-to-date database of all legal files.

6. Assists in the investigation of claims, including contacting Port divisions and attorneys for documents and analyzing files.

7. Maintains administrative and legal references; replaces outdated information with current information supplied by publishers, attorneys or administrative staff.


1. Provides back-up and assists paralegals and other legal secretarial staff; assists staff with methods, practices, techniques and uses of word processing, graphics, database and other software programs.

2. Prepares travel and training requests; makes and confirms travel and other arrangements for conferences and business trips; types itineraries and compiles expense reports.

3. Enters timesheet information for department employees in the District's payroll system.

4. Orders office supplies and equipment; prepares requisitions and work order requests; coordinates repairs of office equipment with outside vendors.

5. Processes outside counsel billings and other general office billings; prepares summaries of outside counsel billings as requested.

6. Receives, reviews and tracks agenda items.


Knowledge of:

1. Law office litigation and pleading practices, administrative practices and procedures.

2. Principles and practices of sound business communication; correct English usage, including spelling, grammar and punctuation.

3. Office administrative practices and procedures.

4. Terminology, forms, documents and court rules and requirements used in legal practice and proceedings.

5. Legal references and application to legal matters and litigation practice.

6. Statutory deadlines for responding to and/or filing pleading documents and state/local rules of court.

7. Style manuals defining effective preparation of litigation pleadings and documents.

Ability to:

1. Operate a computer and word processing software and other standard office equipment.

2. Make advanced uses of word processing software to produce competent legal documents.

3. Type accurately at a speed necessary to meet the requirements of a fast paced law and litigation practice.

4. Organize, set priorities and exercise sound independent judgement within areas of responsibility.

5. Reach sound decisions in accordance with applicable law and court procedures, rules of court and policies.

6. Organize, research and maintain legal and office files and calendars.

7. Compose correspondence and prepare standard legal documents from brief instructions.

8. Communicate clearly and effectively orally and in writing.

9. Prepare clear, accurate and concise records and reports.

10. Maintain sensitive and confidential information.

11. Maintain integrity and exercise proper discretion in dealing with sensitive or confidential situations.

12. Establish and maintain highly effective working relationships with supervisors, staff, outside legal counsel, court clerks and others encountered in the course of work.


Education, Training and Experience:

Graduation from high school or G.E.D. equivalent and three years of progressively responsible legal secretarial experience, preferably in a governmental law office. Time served as a District Intern counts towards the years of experience.

Licenses; Certificates; Special Requirements:

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:


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.

Resolution #: 2012 - 85
Dated: June 12, 2012