Legal Research Attorney – Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara

Legal Research Attorney – Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara

Legal Research Attorneys will be appointed to a one-year term, renewable at the sole option of the Court for a maximum of three years.  The Legal Research Attorney may become Staff Attorney upon successful completion of the third year.

Under the direction of designated Staff Attorney, this professional level position performs legal research activities on behalf of the court by examining, analyzing, and interpreting available information and submitting reports, bench memos, proposed orders, and recommendations to judicial officers. 

This is the entry level classification of the Attorney series. This class is distinguished from the Staff Attorney in that the latter is responsible for supervising, mentoring, and training of Legal Research Attorneys and may perform the more difficult and complex legal duties.

A current vacancy exists in the Civil and Family Division of the Court; however, this recruitment may result in an eligibility list for future vacancies in the Criminal Division as well.

 Typical Tasks/Representative Duties:
  • Reviews and summarizes evidence, procedural history, and legal contentions on matters before the court;
  • Reviews, analyzes, and recommends resolutions to issues regarding pre-trial motions, trials, appeals, and writs, by conducting research and preparing bench memos, tentative rulings, drafts opinions, and orders for consideration;
  • Identifies, researches, and analyzes legal issues and conflicting legal opinions, reviews legal authority cited by litigants, and conducts self-directed independent research as may be needed to further clarify issues and reach sound judicial decisions;
  • Briefs judicial officers in writing and orally on research and analysis pertaining to matters before the court, identifies and discusses unresolved issues necessary for the disposition of matters, and formulates dispositions;
  • Responds to judicial officers' inquiries on procedural and substantive issues during trials and hearings; attends and assists at trials and hearings; conducts reviews of documents at the request of judicial officers;
  • Prepares comprehensive memoranda detailing relevant legal issues, addressing arguments' strengths and weaknesses, and recommending judicial action;
  • May assist with the drafting of legislative measures and other legal work required by the court;
  • Performs other related duties as required.
 Employment Standards/Typical Qualifications:

Candidates must be a current member of the California State Bar, have a strong academic background, and excellent legal research, verbal, and writing skills. Some assignments will require specialization in Criminal, Civil, Family, and/or Juvenile Law; additional specialization may be required in these areas of law.

Knowledge of:

  • Rules of Court; California laws, codes, and statutes applicable to the Courts; legal terms, court procedures, court forms, and documents;
  • Principles and procedures of Criminal, Civil, Family, and/or Juvenile law;
  • Trial procedure and rules of evidence; statutory and constitutional laws of the State of California;
  • Principles, methods, materials, and practice of legal research and writing; the ability to present statements of facts and law and argue clearly and logically on behalf of the court;
  • Internet access capability to conduct legal research;
  • Legal research programs, including but not limited to LexisNexis and Westlaw.

Ability to:

  • Access and search the internet for legal resource information, including but not limited to court websites; legal software programs, such as: Legal Solutions and Martin Dean's Essential Forms; legal research programs, such as: LexisNexis and Westlaw;
  • Use Microsoft Word proficiently;
  • Explore new ideas and innovative approaches in helping the court and/or litigants who represent themselves in court;
  • Work effectively with a diverse population of people;
  • Use independent judgment to resolve problems and make appropriate decisions; organize work to meet court and statutory deadlines;
  • Follow oral and written instructions; organize and maintain records; work well under pressure and in stressful situations; and work cooperatively and courteously with others.
 Supplemental Information:


The work environment is generally clean, inside buildings, with limited exposure to dust, fumes, odors, and noise. Incumbents will be working under sometimes difficult and stressful conditions, with frequent deadlines and expectation to produce high quality work under limited time constraints. The ability to work both independently and collaboratively is required.

Specific tasks and duties may vary among assignments; however, the following is considered an essential function expected of the Research Attorney classification:

  • Regular use of a computer terminal to conduct legal research.


  • Dexterity, coordination, and/or ability to use a computer keyboard and read a video display terminal on a regular basis;
  • Sitting or standing for long periods of time is often required;
  • The ability to lift objects weighing up to 10 lbs.


A screening panel will be convened to select those applicants deemed most qualified to participate in a written and/or oral examination.  The examination process will include one or more of the following: application appraisal; written examination; oral examination.


This recruitment requires the submission of an on-line application. No paper applications will be accepted.

An electronic copy of your Resume, certified law school grade transcripts, a brief writing sample and responses to the supplemental questions must also be submitted as an attachment to this application submission.

(Copies of transcripts will be accepted at time of application.  Official un-opened transcripts are required prior to employment.) 

The Court provides reasonable accommodations for applicants with disabilities. If you are disabled as defined by the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act or the California Fair Employment and Housing Act and will be requesting an accommodation, please contact Sulakshna Chauhan at or (408) 882-2700, to discuss your request. TDD communication is available by calling (408) 882-2787.
The Court must verify the identity and employment authorization of all new employees to comply with the 1986 Immigration Reform & Control Act. This verification is required only after an offer of employment has been made. For further information regarding the required verification, please contact Human Resources at 408-882-2747.

 For additional information go HERE.