Job Description

Overall Job Objective

See Position Description
San Mateo County, CA
Job Type
Superior & Municipal Courts
Job Number
9/25/2018 11:59 PM Pacific

The Superior Court of California, County of San Mateo is seeking a qualified and experienced Court Staff Attorney to fill the role of Hearing Officer. The court's mission is to apply the law fairly to protect individual freedom and to promote the welfare of the people.

As a Court Staff Attorney / Hearing Officer, you will play a key role in carrying out our mission, including our goal of continuing to find innovative ways to conduct business and provide essential court services to our community. Our Probate and Civil Divisions need your expertise in performing a wide variety of legal research duties and all phases of legal work. Apply today!
Court Staff Attorney I ($81,556.80 - $101,649.60 Annually) is the entry level attorney position for the court.

Court Staff Attorney II ($98,488.00 - $122,720.00 Annually) is the experienced level attorney position for the court.

The ideal candidate will be a member of the California State Bar (required) and have strong working knowledge of California probate and civil law and procedure, as well the functions of a California Superior Court.

In addition, the ideal candidate will possess the following preferred qualifications:
  • Experience as a hearing officer.
  • Experience performing legal research in probate and civil law matters.
  • Experience in proceedings under the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act.
  • Knowledge of general legal principles and application to probate and civil law.
  • Knowledge of the Civil, Probate, Evidence and Welfare and Institutions Codes; the Code of Civil Procedure; California Rules of Court and local rules.
  • Knowledge of evidentiary principles, pre-trial, hearing and trial procedures.
  • Knowledge of computerized legal research and related applications, such as LexisNexis and Westlaw, as well as office applications, such as Word.
  • Working knowledge of family or criminal law.
  • Ability to work independently and with minimal supervision.
  • Ability to coordinate multiple projects and consistently meet deadlines.
  • Strong understanding of the importance of and the ability to maintain confidentiality.
  • Excellent problem solving and analytical skills.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills.

Please visit for more information on our organization.

NOTE: The eligible list generated from this recruitment may be used to fill future extra-help, term, unclassified, and regular classified vacancies.

Examples Of Duties

Essential duties may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Conduct certification review and capacity hearings pursuant to the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act.
  • Provide independent legal research to the judges and commissioners of the San Mateo County Superior Court bench.
  • Research and provide written memoranda for those matters set before the Probate Judge and/or the Law and Motion Judge's daily calendar.
  • Review and make recommendations on any probate or civil ex parte motion presented to the court on the daily ex parte calendar(s).
  • Research, prepare memoranda, draft orders and meet with the designated judge on specially set matters.
  • Review and brief preliminary injunctions and writs and receivership matters filed with the court.
  • Draft, review, edit and research local rules of court as directed.


Knowledge of: 

  • Legal terminology, procedures, principles, and concepts.
  • Legal research techniques, including the use of case law, statutory law, secondary sources and legal indexes and digests.
  • Administrative procedures of the Superior Court.
  • Office practices and procedures, including filing and operation of standard office equipment such as a computer.
  • Business data processing principles and the use of automation tools for retrieval and analysis.
  • Business letter and legal document formatting.
  • Correct English usage, including grammar, spelling and punctuation.
  • Rules of evidence and trial and hearing procedures.
  • Computer applications related to the work.
  • Techniques for dealing with persons of various ages and ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, who may have physical and/or emotional problems.
  • Specific assignments may require knowledge of: Laws, codes and regulations related to the process of establishing parentage and establishing, modifying and enforcing child and spousal support, visitation, health care coverage and related child/parent matters.
  • Practices and techniques of effective mediation.
  • Community resources for the provision of assistance to parents and children.

Skill/Ability to: 
  • Interpret, evaluate, make decisions in accordance with, and explain complex laws, regulations, policies and procedures.
  • Perform legal research; analyze and apply legal principles, facts and precedents to legal problems.
  • Prepare statements of fact, law and argument.
  • Prepare clear, concise and accurate reports, documents, correspondence, procedures and other written materials.
  • Make sound, independent decisions within established legal, policy and procedural guidelines.
  • Communicate effectively, both orally and in writing.
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with those contacted in the course of the work.

Education and Experience: Any combination of education and experience that would likely provide the required knowledge, skills and abilities is qualifying.

Court Staff Attorney II: A typical way to qualify is three years as a Court Staff Attorney I.

Other Requirements: Membership in the California State Bar Association, San Mateo County Bar Association and specialty section memberships as determined by the Court Executive Officer.


Open and Promotional. Anyone may apply. Current San Mateo County and San Mateo County Superior Court employees with at least six months (1040 hours) of continuous service in a classified regular, probationary, SEIU or AFSCME represented extra-help/term position prior to the final filing date will receive five points added to their final passing score on this examination. This recruitment is being conducted in collaboration with the County of San Mateo.

This recruitment is open to any attorney with the minimum qualifications, who is a member in good standing with the California State Bar.

Responses to the supplemental questions must be submitted in addition to our regular employment application form. A resume will not be accepted as a substitute for the required employment application and supplemental questionnaire.

The examination process will consist of an application screening (pass/fail) based on the candidate's application and responses to the supplemental questions. Candidates who pass the application screening will be invited to a panel interview (weight: 100%). Depending on the number of applicants, an application appraisal of education and experience may be used in place of other examinations, or further evaluation of work experience may be conducted to group applicants by level of qualification. Applicants who meet the minimum qualifications are not guaranteed advancement through any subsequent phase of the examination. All examinations will be given in San Mateo County, California, and applicants must participate at their own expense.

IMPORTANTApplications for this position will only be accepted online. If you are currently on the County's website, you may click the "Apply Online" button above or below. If you are not on the County's website, please go to to apply. Online applications must be received by the Human Resources Department before midnight on the final filing date.

Online application packets will consist of the following parts, and all four parts must be submitted with the online application form by the application deadline: 

  1. A completed standard Court/County of San Mateo online application form.
  2. Responses to the supplemental questions that are part of the online application form.
  3. A resume attached to the online application form.
  4. A writing sample specific to a probate petition or civil motion that you have briefed and argued, no longer than five (5) pages, also attached to the online application form.

PLEASE NOTE: Incomplete application packets may not be reviewed. In case of a high volume of applications, the court reserves the right to limit the number of candidates interviewed to the most highly qualified.

Application Deadline: September 25, 2018, 11:59 PM
Application Screening: September 27, 2018
Panel Interview: October 10 and/or 11, 2018

The Superior Court of California, County of San Mateo is an Equal Opportunity Employer, and we encourage applications from candidates who will contribute to our diversity.

Note: Although the County is conducting the recruitment with the Superior Court, this position is not a County position.

Analyst: Lillian Lilles (091118) (Court Staff Attorney I/II - X434/X435)

Application Instructions

To learn more about the position and/or to apply, please click the link below. If link is not available, please read the information above for detailed instructions on how to apply.

Apply Online