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Paralegal-Travis County Public Defender's Office

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Published 16 days ago

JOB SUMMARY:

The Travis County Public Defender's Office (PDO) is a comprehensive public defender office envisioned to be client-centered, independent, and innovative to the needs of Travis County residents. Consistent with nationally recognized best practices, the PDO provides high-quality holistic defense representation and other support to people accused of criminal offenses in Travis County.

As key part of the interdisciplinary team, paralegals work closely with PDO attorneys to address client needs as they relate to collateral civil proceedings that are impacted by or have an impact on the outcome of the criminal matter. Paralegals screen, review and analyze important client and case-related information to connect clients to resources and organizations that can help them navigate civil legal processes and preserve clients’ access to housing, education, public benefits, healthcare, driver’s or occupational licenses, and/or property.

 

Distinguishing Characteristics:

This is the first in a series of two paralegal-related job classifications within the Administrative Support job family. This classification is distinguished from the Paralegal Senior in that incumbents do not supervise other Paralegals or serve as the primary agent in the research and drafting of legal memoranda on substantive and procedural legal topics. Sensitivity to detail and confidentiality. Client contact. This classification may require work in secure facilities.

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Meets with clients to obtain detailed information and records about needs as they relate to collateral civil proceedings that are impacted by or have an impact on the outcome of the criminal matter. Maintains complete and accurate notes related to information discussed with and obtained from clients.
  • Reviews, screens, and analyzes case-related materials for assigned cases and provides thorough summary of client needs to other team members.
  • Routinely updates internal case management database to reflect ongoing activity on each assigned case, including tracking deadlines and outcomes.
  • Under attorney supervision, conducts basic legal research into intersection of civil and criminal law.
  • Investigates and identifies resources and organizations to refer clients to for assistance with and/or possible representation in collateral administrative matters. Under supervision of and in consultation with attorneys, assists in helping clients understand administrative hearings and processes and clients’ rights related to those hearings and processes.
  • Responds to inquiries from counsel representing PDO clients in related collateral proceedings and, after consulting with client and assigned attorney, may provide limited information regarding status of pending criminal cases.
  • May select, train and supervise clerical support staff, including reviewing prepared files and documents.
  • Performs other job-related duties as assigned.

 

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS:

Education and Experience:

Bachelor’s degree in Paralegal Studies, Public Administration, Business Administration or a directly related field AND two (2) years’ experience as a paralegal;

OR,

Any combination of education and experience that has been achieved and is equivalent to the stated education and experience and required knowledge, skills, and abilities sufficient to successfully perform the duties and responsibilities of this job.


Licenses, Registrations, Certifications, or Special Requirements:

Please attach resume to online application.


Preferred:

  • Applications with a cover letter detailing interest in the position, including why you want to work for the Travis County Public Defender’s Office.
  • Ability to interview indigent clients to assess their legal and social support needs.
  • Understanding of enmeshed penalties and collateral consequences triggered by criminal-legal system contact, including but not limited to, barriers to obtaining or maintaining access to public and/or disability benefits, housing, parental rights, property, education, driver’s, or occupational licenses.
  • Ability to fluently speak and write in Spanish.
  • Mission-aligned experience (work or lived) advocating on behalf of or supporting people/communities directly impacted by the criminal/immigration/indigent civil legal system.


Knowledge of:

  • Federal, State, Local and County applicable laws, rules, regulations and guidelines.
  • Law office management and administration.
  • Policies, practices, procedures and legal terminology related to Court system.
  • Current legal trends in the interaction of law and professional ethics.
  • Statistical and record keeping applications, including databases and spreadsheets.
  • Business letter writing, grammar and punctuation, and report preparation.
  • May be required to develop knowledge of and adhere to federal and state laws requiring the confidential handling of certain health information.


Skill in:

  • Acquiring, maintaining, organizing, analyzing and summarizing case evidence.
  • Understanding legal terminology and English grammar.
  • Case file examination for documentation accuracy.
  • Operating a variety of modern office equipment, including a computer.
  • Both verbal and written communication.


Ability to:

  • Communicate effectively across lines of difference.
  • Accurately and succinctly summarize legal information.
  • Perform legal research.
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with County employees and officials, judges, attorneys, Court personnel, other participants in the civil justice system, representatives of outside agencies, and the general public.

 

WORK ENVIRONMENT & OTHER INFORMATION:

The PDO is committed to inclusive hiring and dedicated to diversity in our work and staff. The PDO strongly encourages candidates of all identities, experiences, abilities and communities to apply. All applicants should be dedicated to working in and sustaining an environment that enables staff and clients to feel empowered, valued, respected, and safe. In considering applicants, the PDO values an applicant's experience and/or thoughtfulness in working with people from communities that experience marginalization.


Physical requirements include the ability to lift/carry up to 25 pounds occasionally, visual acuity, speech and hearing, hand and eye coordination and manual dexterity necessary to operate a computer and office equipment. Subject to standing, walking, sitting, repetitive motion, reaching, climbing stairs, bending, stooping, kneeling, crouching, crawling, pushing, pulling, balancing, client/customer contact, squatting to perform the essential functions.


This job description is intended to be generic in nature. It is not necessarily an exhaustive list of all duties and responsibilities. The essential duties, functions and responsibilities and overtime eligibility may vary based on the specific tasks assigned to the position.


This position is partially funded through a multi-year grant from the Texas Indigent Defense Commission. 


The position is anticipated to start no later than November 12, 2021.

Department: Public Defender’s Office

Location: 1010 Lavaca Street, 2nd floor, Austin, TX 78701

Post-Offer Criminal Background Check Required.

JOB SUMMARY:

The Travis County Public Defender's Office (PDO) is a comprehensive public defender office envisioned to be client-centered, independent, and innovative to the needs of Travis County residents. Consistent with nationally…

Details at a Glance

  • Time Commitment
    Full Time Schedule
  • Start Date
    November 12, 2021
  • Application Deadline
    October 8, 2021
  • Education
    Other Education Requirement

Salary

USD 45,346 - USD 49,420

Benefits

Benefits

Employment at Travis County comes with a full array of benefits. We offer comprehensive health insurance, a no-cost, on-site Health and Wellness clinic, longevity pay, paid vacations, sick time and personal holidays, not to mention an industry competitive salary structure and a friendly, stable work environment.

FY2021 Travis County Benefit Guide

In this valuable Travis County Benefits Guide you will find benefit summaries, eligibility requirements, costs, contact numbers and addresses as well as other general information on the benefits available to Travis County Employees and Retirees.

Credit Union

Employees may join the Travis County Credit Union which offers low-interest loans, savings plans through payroll deduction, safe deposit boxes and other benefits.

Deferred Compensation

Employees may enroll in a tax- free sheltered investment plan through payroll deduction.

Direct Deposit

Employees may sign up for direct bank deposit.

Employee Assistance Program

Travis County provides a confidential counseling and referral service free of charge to county employees and their family.

Employee Organizations

Membership in the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Union is available through payroll deduction.

Employee Health & Wellness Clinic

Employees may access the clinic for a variety of wellness program and health care services with no co-pay, no deductible and no co-insurance costs.

Holidays

An average of eleven paid holidays are designated by the Travis County Commissioners Court at the beginning of each fiscal year.

Longevity

Longevity pay is paid for each year completed after three years of continuous service. Peace Officers in a law enforcement activity, whose job requires state peace officer certification, receive pay after one year of certification.

Parking

A limited number of assigned parking spaces are available to employees in the Courthouse Complex.

Personal Holidays

Full-time employees are eligible for up to three paid personal holidays each calendar year. Part-time employees shall be granted personal holidays on a prorated basis. New employees earn personal holidays for the calendar year in which he/she begins employment, based on the month in which employment begins:

January – March: 3 personal holidays

April - June: 2 personal holidays

July - September: 1 personal holiday

October - December: None

New employees are eligible to take personal holidays after 90 days of employment.

Retirement

Travis County is a member of the Texas County & District Retirement System with mandatory participation by certain classes of employees. Seven percent (7%) of the gross salary is deducted each pay period. An employee is fully vested after eight years of service. Benefits are prorated for part-time employees.

Sick Leave

Employees earn sick leave at a rate of eight hours per month with unlimited accrual during employment. Part-time employees earn sick leave on a pro-rated basis.

Tuition Refund

Certain classes of full-time employees may receive reimbursement for fees associated with pre-approved, job related course work completed satisfactorily.

Vacation

Based on years of county service, full-time employees earn vacation time at the following rates:

0 to 5 years: 4.0 hours per pay period

6 to 10 years: 4.5 hours per pay period

11 to 15 years: 5.0 hours per pay period

16 to 20 years: 5.5 hours per pay period

 21 plus years: 6.0 hours per pay period

Part-time employees earn vacation leave on a pro-rated basis.

Workers' Compensation

The county provides all employees workers' compensation coverage with benefits in accordance with state statute, if the employee sustains an injury out of, or in the course of work.

Benefits

Employment at Travis County comes with a full array of benefits. We offer comprehensive health insurance, a no-cost, on-site Health and Wellness clinic, longevity pay…

Level of Language Proficiency

Spanish fluency, written and oral strongly preferred.

Spanish fluency, written and oral strongly preferred.

Location

On-site
1010 Lavaca St, Austin, TX 78701, USA
2nd floor

How to Apply

Please attach resume to online application.

Please attach resume to online application.

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