Staff Attorney, Court Service Center – Massachusetts Trial Court


Location: Lawrence, MA
Apply By: Jan 26 2022 at 23:55 EST
Pay Grade: 17
Starting Pay:  $72,307.39/Yr.

Departmental Mission Statement:  The Support Services Department is responsible for a wide range of distinct topic areas that provide support to the administration of justice in the Trial Court. These services include the Court Service Centers, the Judicial Response System, the operation of Trial Court Law Libraries, a Record Management operation, the Office of Language Access and the Office of Transcription Services.

Trial Court Support Services Department

Notes: This position is designated as a union position and is covered by the Collective Bargaining Agreement with O.P.E.I.U., Local 6.

Please note: Circuit Staff Attorneys will be required to travel as scheduled within the assigned County. Work assignments will be scheduled on a weekly basis and will regularly occur in those court locations for the assigned County.

Bilingual applicants are encouraged to apply

Position Summary: Working within the Support Services Department of the Office of Court Management, a Court Service Center Staff Attorney provides accurate legal information and court assistance for self-represented litigants and other members of the public to achieve better access to the Massachusetts justice system. The Staff Attorney supports a Court Service Center in its efforts to improve access to justice for self-represented populations in court proceedings including civil protection order cases, custody matters, child support, divorce, juvenile matters, housing cases, small claims, record sealing, and a variety of other court related matters. The Staff Attorney uses professional legal experience and knowledge of social service agencies and organizations to provide self-represented litigants with the resources they need to navigate the court system and best address their issues. This position is responsible for providing assistance on an array of court information, forms, resources, and referrals, including providing guidance to Trial Court Law Library resources. The Staff Attorney also answers questions, reviews documents, and directs self-represented litigants and members of the public to the proper court office for additional assistance as appropriate.   

Supervision Received: Receives general direction from the Court Service Center Manager in performing duties in accordance with established guidelines.

Duties:

  • Assists in the daily operations of a Court Service Center including:  
    • Assists self-represented litigants to gain access to Trial Court services by providing legal and procedural information;  
    • Under the direction of the Court Service Center Manager, implements strategies to increase the impact and efficiency of all court related services made available at the Court Service Center;  
    • Assists in the development, management, and evaluation of new initiatives to enhance the services provided to self-represented litigants;  
    • Provides information and explanations about a variety of court processes, court rules, official documents, and forms;  
    • Reviews completed court forms and papers being submitted to court divisions for adherence to court rules and protocols;  
    • Contributes to the development of service related, user-friendly informational materials and online content to supplement the support provided at the Court Service Center;  
    • Triages visitors to the center and makes referrals as appropriate;  
    • Ensures access for limited English proficient litigants and members of the public;  
    • Participates in regular meetings with the staff of the Court Service Center, as well as court officials from local area court divisions representing all Trial Court Departments in an effort to improve coordination and effectiveness;  
    • Assists in initiating data driven best practices to improve efficiencies and meet metric related benchmarks and goals;  
    • Ensures that data is captured and statistical evaluation is conducted, including updating intake spreadsheets, performing data backup, and assisting in the preparation of statistical reports. 
  • Assists in the operations of the Law Library, including:  
    • Supports the operations of the law library. Depending on the location of the court service center, this support would be either electronic, or provided in relation to a bricks and mortar facility in the same location;  
    • Provides reference and information services to those seeking legal information by responding to questions;
    • locating and retrieving materials; and performing simple bibliographic searches;  
    • Participates in basic e-reference services;
    • Troubleshoots basic library computer problems;  
    • In the absence of the Librarian, maintains the day-to day operation of the library;  
    • Performing other related duties as required.

Job Competencies: All applicants must be able, through the interview process, to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the following areas:  

Ethics and Values Communicates and demonstrates the ethics and values of the Massachusetts Trial Court.

Mission Understands, upholds, and communicates the Support Services Department mission.

Applied Knowledge Ability to provide accurate legal information and court assistance for self-represented litigants other members of the public for improving access to justice. 

Problem Solving Accurately can assesses operational and administrative problems in the Court Service Center and develop feasible solutions.

Customer Service Conducts oneself in a courteous and professional manner to users of the Court Service Center. Responsive to the needs of self-represented litigants.

Collaboration Works with others cooperatively, accepts feedback, demonstrates a willingness to be a team player, and contributes to a work environment that focuses on shared departmental goals. 

Communications Excellent oral and written communication skills to maximize the effectiveness of the Court Service Center; Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with court officials, judges, and community resources is critical.

Continuous Learning Demonstrates a commitment to continuously improving himself or herself through professional development.

Minimum Requirements: These are the minimum requirements necessary to apply for the position of Court Service Center Staff Attorney:  

  • A Law Degree and admission to the Massachusetts Bar;
  • Skills and abilities acquired through a minimum of Two (2) years of relevant work experience such as case related experience within a Trial Court division, with legal service providers, social service agencies, and related allied service resources;  
  • Considerable knowledge of relevant state statutes, court rules and case law that prescribe the authority of the court and an ability to interpret and apply them to the cases before the court;  
  • Considerable knowledge of court procedures, legal documents, and laws pertaining to the court;  
  • Considerable knowledge of the work and role of legal service providers, social service state agencies, and related community resources;   Knowledge of and ability to use personal computers and related business software such as Microsoft Office;  
  • Bilingual skills are preferred;  
  • Knowledge of the organization, functions, jurisdiction and authority of the court;  
  • Ability to maintain effective working relationships with Judges, court officials, attorneys, court employees and the general public; 
  • Demonstrate ability to remain responsive to local court departments and ensure multi-lingual access to court related services;  
  • Ability to identify and resolve customer service and queuing issues experienced at the Court Service Center;  
  • Ability to utilize data to monitor trends operational efficiency of a customer service operation;  
  • Demonstrated ability to independently initiate action, complete assignments and to handle multiple assignments simultaneously;  
  • Exceptional skills in using multi-media techniques:
    • social media, web-based initiatives and digital resources to access and use local resources for referrals;
    • Knowledge of procedures the types of resources and services available to librarians and library users;  
  • Ability to reach with hands and arms, bend, crouch, climb stairs, and lift materials weighing up to 30 pounds;  
  • Considerable knowledge of court policies and procedures and demonstrated ability to apply those policies to inquiries;  
  • Demonstrated ability to independently complete assignments and to handle multiple assignments; and  
  • Demonstrated ability to identify problems and to develop feasible solutions; and to properly route them for appropriate resolution when necessary; and   
  • Ability to exercise judgment and to work without close supervision.

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