Staff Attorney

  • State of Oregon - Oregon Legislature
  • Salem, OR, USA
  • Sep 04, 2018
Full-Time Legal

Job Description

The Office of the Legislative Counsel has an opening for one full-time Staff Attorney starting in December 2018.

Successful candidates for the position must possess strong legal research and writing skills with the ability to analyze issues and applicable law and prepare written work or verbal advice that is clear, concise and persuasive to both attorney and non-attorney readers.

This position is under the supervision of the Legislative Counsel. Staff Attorneys receive assignments and direction from the Legislative Counsel or from deputies (used throughout this posting to mean deputies, senior deputies, the chief deputy and the special counsel.)
A Staff Attorney assists legislators, legislative committees and legislative staff by writing legal opinions and performing legal research and by drafting proposed legislation. This work is done on a confidential and non-partisan basis.

A Staff Attorney may also review the administrative rules of state agencies for consistency with the relevant enabling legislation and the state and federal constitutions and may present adverse rule review reports to one or more committees of the legislature.

A Staff Attorney must be responsive to the needs of legislators, their staff and constituents, the staff of legislative committees, government agencies and, to a more limited extent, the public. Much of the work is performed under severe time constraints and under stressful conditions. A Staff Attorney must comply with all applicable laws and the ethical standards for attorneys, the legislative rules of both houses and the practice and personnel rules of the Legislative Branch.

This position is located in the Capitol building, in Salem, Oregon.

Duties & Responsibilities

PERFORM LEGAL RESEARCH AND WRITE LEGAL OPINIONS. Requests for legal research and opinions are submitted to the office of Legislative Counsel from legislators, legislative committees and legislative staff. A Staff Attorney is responsible for analyzing the issues and applicable law and preparing written opinions or written or verbal legal advice that is clear, concise and persuasive to both attorney and non-attorney readers. Extensive research of the statutes and case law of Oregon and other jurisdictions, including federal law, may be required. A Staff Attorney must be thoroughly familiar with the tools of legal research.

PERFORM INDIVIDUAL PROJECT ASSIGNMENTS. A Staff Attorney may perform individual project assignments, which vary widely in nature, complexity and duration. These projects may include assisting in editing Oregon Revised Statutes or in writing annotations for Oregon Revised Statutes.

DRAFT BILLS. The Legislative Counsel assigns each drafting request to a deputy having responsibility in the legal subject area. The deputy may then assign to the Staff Attorney the duties of analyzing the issues, seeking additional information, ascertaining the current law on the subject, including applicable constitutional provisions and federal law, and preparing a draft conforming to office form and style requirements that accomplishes the drafting request. The Staff Attorney is expected to note any legal problems that the draft may raise. The deputy may review a draft's provisions with the Staff Attorney and direct revision of the draft. All drafting must be done within the time limits set by the requester or by legislative rules. Although staff attorneys must possess a general knowledge of state statutes, they need not have specialized knowledge of the subject areas of bill drafts that are assigned to them.

DRAFT AMENDMENTS. During a legislative session and at the direction of deputies, a Staff Attorney prepares proposed amendments. This work is similar to drafting bills and the deadlines are usually very tight. The Staff Attorney may be required to attend committee meetings to gather information for the deputies. Occasionally, Staff Attorneys testify before committees.

REVIEW ADMINISTRATIVE RULES. ORS 183.710 to 183.725 require that all agency-adopted administrative rules be submitted to the Legislative Counsel. Under Legislative Counsel Committee policy, all such rules are reviewed. The statutory standards for review are consistency with intent and scope of the enabling legislation and constitutionality of the rule. Committee policy requires a statement of any penalty that may be imposed for violation of the rule. The Staff Attorney may be assigned administrative rules for review.
A Staff Attorney may be given additional responsibility depending on learning progress.
Regular and punctual attendance is an essential element of all positions within the Office of the Legislative Counsel.

Skill Requirements

A Staff Attorney must:

Have one year's experience practicing law, serving as a judicial clerk or working in a legislative environment and be a member of a state bar or be willing to become a member of the Oregon State Bar within 18 months of appointment; OR
Possess a combination of experience and education that demonstrates the ability to perform the job.


  • Advanced legal research skills and ability to use wide variety of reference materials, both electronic and print.
  • Ability to work effectively at a professional, nonpartisan level with diverse groups of people, including legislators, legislative staff, constituents, state agency personnel, lobbyists and the public.
  • Ability to work independently without a minimum of direct supervision and under time pressures.
  • Ability to communicate complex ideas and concepts both verbally and in writing in a clear, concise and persuasive manner.