JOB TITLE: Staff Attorney DEPARTMENT: Self Help Resource Center REPORT TO: Self Help Resource Center Managing Attorney PAY GRADE/SALARY: 11/$28.54 per hour ? $60,236.80 annually FSLA: Exempt HOURS: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. or 5 p.m. or as assigned POSTED: Aug. 17, 2021 DEADLINE: Aug. 31, 2021
JOB PURPOSE AND OVERVIEW The Franklin County Municipal Court is one of the largest and busiest municipal courts in the state. The Court has 14 judges in the General Division and one judge in the Environmental Division. Judges preside over civil, criminal, and traffic cases and conduct both jury and non-jury trials. The Court’s jurisdiction includes traffic cases, misdemeanor criminal cases and civil cases where the amount at issue is $15,000 or less. The Environmental Court has exclusive jurisdiction over criminal cases involving violations of the local housing, building, fire, zoning, health, waste collection, and animal licensing and abuse. The Court also hears civil cases involving nuisance properties, local appeals and landlord/tenant disputes. The Court has seven magistrates who preside in traffic arraignments, eviction cases and small claims cases; approximately 260 employees; and an annual operating budget of more than $25 million. Judges are elected countywide for six-year terms; all of the Court’s employees are exempt, unclassified, at-will and serve at the pleasure of the Court. The geographic jurisdiction of the Court is all of Franklin County and those portions of the City of Columbus that extend beyond the boundaries of Franklin County. The Franklin County Municipal Court is the judicial branch of the City of Columbus government from which it receives the majority of its funding despite its jurisdiction and name.
The Franklin County Municipal Court Self Help Resource Center was created in 2015 as a cost-effective solution to Ohio’s access to justice problem. SHRC staff provides legal information, not legal advice, about civil matters in Municipal Court including the sealing of criminal records, landlord/tenant disputes, small claims and general claims lawsuits and commercial debt collection.
The SHRC assists the Court through the three goals in its mission: to improve court filings, increase access to justice and provide a positive point of contact between the Court and the community.
The Staff Attorney under the direction of the Managing Attorney assists with managing court-wide programs providing services to self-represented litigants across multiple case types, including record sealing, landlord/tenant disputes, small claims, general division claims and consumer/debt collection; participates in community outreach on behalf of the Court; serves as a center of knowledge for best practices of serving pro se litigants for the Court; assists with supervising community volunteers in the Center; and performs other related duties.
ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE POSITION The following duties are typical for this position. These are not to be construed as exclusive or all-inclusive. Other duties may be required or assigned. - Provides legal information to self-represented litigants that otherwise would not have access to legal assistance and ensures that SHRC visitors are provided with referrals to legal and non-legal resources as necessary - Plans, manages, reviews, evaluates and proposes new court programs to provide assistance to self-represented litigants across a variety of case types, including record sealing, landlord/tenant disputes, small claims, general division claims, and consumer/debt collection - Recommends, facilitates and consults with the Managing Attorney on the implementation of process, policy, and procedural changes to maximize assistance to self-represented litigants - Stays abreast of technological solutions and other innovations that can enhance the provision of court services to self-represented litigants and leverages those solutions for the benefit of court users - Works closely with judges, the Clerk of Courts and other court staff to ensure that self-represented litigants are receiving the assistance necessary to improve court filings and improve the efficiency of the court system - Assists in the preparation of a variety of correspondence, periodic and special reports, narrative and statistical reports, informational publications, program documentation, policies, procedures and other written materials; and may access varied databases or use information from various sources to prepare such materials - Operates a variety of modern office hardware and software - Maintains effective working relationships with judicial officers, court staff and justice partners engaged in the provision of services to self-represented litigants and ADR services - Works with the Clerk’s office and other court departments to develop forms and educational materials designed to better serve self-represented litigants and improve the quality of filings received by the Clerk’s office - Performs community outreach on behalf of the SHRC and the Court to increase SHRC traffic - Attends community meetings and presents to various groups on services provided by the SHRC - Participates in providing CLEs to attorneys interested in learning more about SHRC services - Performs other related duties as assigned
KNOWLEDGE - Ohio judicial branch operations; court policies, procedures and processes; Ohio Rules of Court and Franklin County Municipal Court local rules; and forms that are commonly used by selfrepresented litigants - Applicable laws and codes; relevant educational materials; proper forms and the correct completion of them; appropriate referral sources - Current and in-development software solutions, including web-based, to assist self-represented litigants through, e.g., completion of forms and obtaining remote access to court services - Best practices that help self-represented litigants with accessing and using the court system
REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS - Graduation from an accredited college or university with a juris doctorate degree - Experience with access to justice projects, especially related to record sealing, landlord/tenant disputes, small claims, general division claims and consumer/debt collection - Ability to serve as a strong advocate for the court and court programs to the public and to assist the Court in providing services to self-represented litigants - License Requirement: Active member in good standing with the State Bar of Ohio, currently awaiting Ohio Bar Exam results or have been approved to sit for the Ohio Bar Exam - Ability to plan, organize, administer, and coordinate projects, programs, and operations, consistent with Court policies and goals - Ability to exercise excellent time management, triage and multitasking skills - Ability to exercise initiative and proactively identify and make improvements to existing processes both within the SHRC and throughout the Court - Experience with exercising excellent independent judgment in dealing with complex and/or sensitive matters; maintain confidentiality - Experience with preparing clear and concise correspondence, reports, and related written materials; read, understand, interpret, and apply a variety of statutes, rules, and regulations; analyze complex issues, apply applicable legal authorities, and reach legally sound decisions - Experience with engaging with the public with respect, tact, and empathy; work cooperatively and professionally, and communicate effectively, with judicial officers, court personnel, and justice partners - Experience with analyzing complex matters, formulate recommendations and alternatives, anticipate problems, and present ideas and solutions in a logical and justifiable manner, often while under pressure - Ability to communicate emphatically, neutrally and clearly with individuals of diverse socioeconomic, cultural and ethnic backgrounds, including people with disabilities - Ability to provide high quality, trauma-informed services to individuals facing stressful and difficult situations - Operate modern office equipment, including computers, smart phones, tablets, and software applications designed to assist self-represented litigants - Experience working in a team-oriented and collaborative environment - Ability to effectively and professionally communicate verbally and in writing in English to diverse audiences, including the ability to communicate technology terminology for lay audiences - Pleasant personality; ability to interact, communicate and maintain effective working relationships with judges, other elected officials, employees, law enforcement officers, lawyers, and others conducting business with the Court - Conscious of and sensitive to the diversity within the Court’s jurisdiction and ability to interact professionally with this diverse population of people from many different geographic, socioeconomic, religious, racial and ethnic backgrounds on a regular basis - Professional appearance and demeanor appropriate for the position and expected of a representative of elected officials - Demonstrated dependability, reliability and excellent attendance record - Patience, objectivity, maturity, effectiveness under stress, initiative, adaptability, leadership and sound judgment
PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS Experience working with judges and court staff is preferred
BENEFITS The Franklin County Municipal Court offers an excellent benefits package that includes: health, prescription, vision, dental and life insurance; short-term disability; generous vacation, sick and personal leave; 11 paid holidays; longevity service payments; sick leave reciprocity; an employee assistance program; deferred compensation program; tuition reimbursement; and credit union membership.
Court employees are members of the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System which provides retirement, disability and survivor benefits for public employees. All full-time employees hired after Jan. 20, 2010, contribute to OPERS by paying the required employee share, which is 10 percent of their salary. The Court pays the required employer’s share of 14 percent of an employee’s salary. Court employees do not have any Social Security taxes withheld from their pay because they are OPERS members.
APPLICATION PROCESS Applicants must submit the Court’s employment application form, a resume and a cover letter addressed to Human Resources Director Lynn Bruno that describes with some specificity how an applicant’s qualifications match those required for the position.
The Franklin County Municipal Court Judges application can be found online at: https://municipalCourt.franklincountyohio.gov/About/Employment/Employment-Opportunities.
Applications should be completed and submitted online. Application materials should be sent to CourtHR@fcmcclerk.com.
Receipt of applications will be acknowledged by e-mail, and only those applicants invited for an interview will be contacted by telephone.
COURT EXPECTATIONS OF EMPLOYEE In completing the duties and responsibilities of the position, the Court expects the employee will adhere to all Court policies, guidelines, practices and procedures; act as a role model both inside and outside the Court; perform duties as workload necessitates in a timely, accurate and thorough manner; be conscientious about meeting department productivity standards; and communicate regularly with supervisor about department issues.
AT-WILL EMPLOYMENT Employees of the Court are at-will employees and serve at the pleasure of the Court; they are not in the classified civil service system and are not members of bargaining units.
EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER The Court is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of age, gender, religion, race, color, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, disability, military status or genetic information.
The Franklin County Municipal Court is one of the largest and busiest municipal courts in the state.
The Court has fourteen judges in the General Division and one judge in the Environmental
Division. Judges preside over civil, criminal and traffic cases and conduct both jury and non-jury
trials. The Court’s jurisdiction includes traffic cases, misdemeanor criminal cases, and civil cases
where the amount at issue is $15,000 or less. The Environmental Court has exclusive jurisdiction
over criminal cases involving violations of the local housing, building, fire, zoning, health, waste
collection, animal licensing, animal abuse, and pollution codes. The Court also hears civil cases
involving nuisance properties, local appeals, and landlord/tenant disputes.
The Court has seven magistrates who preside in traffic arraignments, eviction cases and small
claims cases; approximately 260 employees; and an annual operating budget of more than $25
million dollars. Judges are elected countywide for six-year terms; all of the Court’s employees are
exempt, unclassified, at-will, and serve at the pleasure of the Court.
The geographic jurisdiction of the Court is all of Fra...nklin County and those portions of the City of
Columbus that extend beyond the boundaries of Franklin County. Despite its jurisdiction and name,
the Franklin County Municipal Court is the judicial branch of the City of Columbus government,
from which it receives the majority of its funding.