Deputy General Counsel IV

$156,853 - $243,122 yearly
  • Port of San Diego
  • 3165 Pacific Highway, San Diego, CA, USA
  • Jun 21, 2021
Full time Government Human Resources

Job Description

The San Diego Unified Port District ("District") is seeking a Deputy General Counsel IV to work on employment, labor and retirement issues, act as the police legal advisor to the District's Harbor Police Department and conduct and advise on administrative hearings and litigation for the District.
Please attach two previous writing (for example a brief and memo) sample to your application. Failure to do so will disqualify your candidacy.


Under general direction, performs a wide range of legal services of a routine to highly complex nature in representing the Port; provides advice and counsel to Port managers, staff and, through the General Counsel, the Board of Port Commissioners; conducts legal research and drafts legal documents; represents the Port in civil litigation and administrative hearings; and performs related duties as assigned.


Deputy General Counsel I is the entry-level class in the professional General Counsel class series and is designed to provide practical learning and experience to individuals who have recently passed the Bar. A greater proportion of an incumbent's time is spent in conducting legal research, drafting memoranda and documents and providing legal services and counsel to department managers and staff on legal issues of routine to moderate difficulty. An incumbent will assist in preparation of cases for civil litigation and administrative hearing, conduct legal research, draft motions and pleadings and perform other pretrial work, and may represent the Port in litigation and administrative matters of limited impact. Assignments will grow in difficulty and complexity based on an incumbent's increasing knowledge and demonstrated proficiency. As experience is gained, an incumbent is expected to complete assigned projects with considerable independence and the exercise of sound professional judgment, analysis and problem-solving.

Deputy General Counsel  II is the mid-level class in this series. An incumbent provides litigation support, legal advice and counsel to the Board of Port Commissioners through the General Counsel, Port management and staff on issues of increasing difficulty and complexity requiring deeper knowledge and experience gained in specialized areas of the law affecting public agencies and special districts. An incumbent will assist or represent the Port in court or before administrative bodies on standard cases of moderate difficulty, sensitivity or consequence to the Port.

Deputy General Counsel  III is the journey-level class in this series. At this level, an incumbent in this series  is expected to handle legal issues and questions of considerable complexity  on a broad range of matters as well in specialized areas of legal expertise. The employee is expected to be skilled, knowledgeable and capable of independently representing the Port on all but the most complex matters in court and before administrative agencies. The Deputy General Counsel III may routinely through the General Counsel provide briefings to the Board of Port Commissioners on legal matters and issues and answer questions.  Overall assignments will vary in difficulty. Cases are often  complex, require particularized skills and  sensitivity and involve significant risk and consequences for the Port.

Deputy General Counsel IV is the advanced-level class in this series.  An incumbent at this level works with minimal supervision and is expected to handle legal issues and questions of substantial complexity, sensitivity and have a broad range of knowledge and skill on legal matters, as well as areas and issues impacting or affecting the Port.  The employee is expected to be highly skilled, experienced and extremely capable of independently representing the Port in most if not all matters in court and before administrative agencies as determined by the General Counsel. The overall assignments will be more complex and difficult than those assigned to incumbents in the Deputy General Counsel III series. The employee must also be able to assume supervision of the Office of General Counsel in the temporary absence of the General Counsel and Assistant General Counsel.

 Essential Duties and Responsibilities:The following statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work performed by people assigned to this classification. They are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required of personnel so classified.

1. Assists in representing or represents the Port in civil litigation and administrative hearings held by local, state and federal agencies; performs all phases of pretrial, trial and appellate work; assists in or develops litigation strategy and alternatives, prepares briefs, drafts pleadings, motions and arguments; propounds or responds to requests for discovery and depositions in preparation for presentation of assigned cases; selects, retains and monitors the use of consultants and/or expert witnesses;  files motions and briefs; represents the Port in court or in administrative hearings on cases in full or in arguing motions and presenting other matters before the court or administrative agency; consults with legal staffs of other entities when joint cases or issues of mutual interest are litigated; when outside counsel is used, assists by providing support to facilitate discovery, monitors case status and audits bills for legal fees for reasonableness.

2. Provides legal information and advice to departments and through the General Counsel to the Board of Port Commissioners on a wide range of legal issues of varying difficulty and complexity; conducts risk assessments and identifies areas of potential liability; conducts research of various regulatory and statutory schemes and develops strategies for addressing issues; provides advice and direction to ensure Port compliance with legal and regulatory requirements; determines potential causes of action and/or defenses and develops strategies for cost recovery claims; develops creative solutions to legal issues and problems to satisfy differing policy objectives; and, determines  priorities and timelines for the resolution of numerous competing legal issues.

3. Conducts research on legal issues, federal and state statutory and case law and regulations and administrative interpretations; writes research memoranda and conclusions; drafts resolutions and ordinances ranging from routine to highly complex; prepares oral and written legal opinions for Port manager,  staff and through the General Counsel to the Board of Port Commissioners; drafts, reviews and finalizes legal documents and instruments; reviews and approves contracts and agreements; drafts explanatory memoranda on legal implications of complex issues; and , reviews departmental documents for legal sufficiency.

4. Assists in or advises Port department directors, managers, supervisors and employees on their role in litigation and administrative proceedings, their responses to the public and media regarding legal issues and litigation and preparation for testimony in court and in administrative hearings.

5. Analyzes proposed federal and state legislation for impacts on Port policies, practices and operations; prepares reports of findings and conclusions; recommends revisions, amendments and other actions.

6. Negotiates settlements to litigation, claims and disputes; participates with departments in negotiating and drafting complex contracts and agreements for acquisition, use and development of Port property and facilities.

7. Responds to public records requests; provides interpretations of code provisions to citizens, media and public official requests.


1. Assists other attorneys in assigned phases of legal work on complex litigation.

2. Answers correspondence and responds to inquiries on legal matters related to Port business, as assigned.

3. Consults with legal staffs of member cities,  other public agencies and Port stakeholders regarding legal issues facing the Port.

 Qualifications:Knowledge of:

1. Principles and practices of civil and administrative law, and litigation, especially as they relate to governmental entities and special districts in the State of California.

2. Effective strategies, practices and techniques in the conduct of negotiations and litigation.

3. Pleadings and effective practices and techniques in the presentation of court cases and administrative hearing procedures; judicial procedures and rules of evidence.

4. The organization of the Port, including the functions and interrelationships of its divisions and departments.

5. Principles, methods and techniques of legal research and investigation.

6. State and federal laws and regulations, court decisions and other legal requirements applicable to government or special district functions, operations and personnel.

7. Principles and practices of effective legal communication.

Ability to:

1. Prepare clear, concise and competent legal briefs, opinions, resolutions, contracts, agreements, leases, deeds, reports, correspondence, proposed legislation and other written materials.

2. Define issues, perform legal research, analyze problems, evaluate alternatives and develop sound conclusions and recommendations.

3. Present statements of fact, law and argument clearly and logically.

4. Exercise sound, independent judgment within general policy guidelines and legal parameters.

5. Interpret state and federal laws, regulations, legislation and constitutional provisions affecting applicable Port operations.

6. Represent the Port effectively in hearings, courts of law, negotiations and meetings.

7. Use a high degree of integrity and discretion in dealing with confidential or sensitive situations.

8. Establish and maintain effective working relationships with all levels of Port management and staff, officials of other governmental agencies, outside counsel, litigants, tenants and other Port customers and stakeholders and others encountered in the course of work.


Education, Training and Experience:

Graduation with a Juris Doctor degree from an accredited law school is required and at least five years of progressively responsible experience in the practice of law, preferably in a governmental setting and/or in the practice of specialized areas of the law such as employment and environmental law.

Licenses; Certificates; Special Requirements
Current membership in good standing in the State Bar of California and admission to practice in all courts of the State of California and federal courts. 
A current, valid Class C driver license at the time of appointment and maintained at all times thereafter in order to operate a vehicle on District business.
California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Pull Notice System:  An incumbent in this position will be enrolled in the California DMV Pull Notice Program.  The Pull Notice Program provides information on the incumbent's driving record and driver license status on a periodic basis to the District.  An employee assigned a District vehicle must acknowledge receipt and understanding of District Administrative procedures and policies covering the use of District vehicles.
This position may be subject to a pre-employment background check.  The District will conduct a California Department of Justice/FBI fingerprint and criminal history check; felony convictions may be disqualifying.  Misdemeanor convictions may be disqualifying depending on number, type, severity, and how recently they occurred.  Criminal arrests and convictions during employment may result in termination or limitation in job duties if reasonable accommodation can be made.

Excellent academic credentials.
At least five (5) years of progressively increasing responsibility in employment and labor law, experience acting as a police legal advisor, and experience conducting administrative hearings and litigation.
Experience should include substantial knowledge of and advising and litigating California and federal employment and labor laws including but not limited to the Fair Employment and Housing act ("FEHA"), Title VII, the Family Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"), other types of leaves of absence, the Meyers-Milias Brown Act ("MMBA"), the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), the Police Officers Bill of Rights ("POBR"), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), Titles I-III of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA") including the interactive process, and progressive discipline.  The ideal candidate will also have experience drafting policies, rules and regulations relating to public employment, including law enforcement, conducting administrative hearings and employment or labor-related litigation, conducting or assisting with performance issues, labor negotiations, grievances, and charges of unfair labor practices, and drafting Memoranda of Understanding and side letters.  Experience conducting and overseeing workplace investigations (related to sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation, violence in the workplace, fraud, policy violations, etc.) is highly desired. Understanding of worker's compensation and employment-related training experience a plus.
Must be an excellent communicator in both written and oral presentations and a team player.
High customer/stakeholder-oriented focus toward achieving the District's strategic objectives, mission and vision.
The District provides a competitive salary and excellent benefits including medical, dental and life insurance; thirteen (13) paid holidays a year, paid vacation, tuition reimbursement, a retirement plan and more.
Current membership in good standing in the State Bar of California and admission to practice before State of California and federal courts.
A current, valid California Class C driver's license at time of appointment and maintained at all times thereafter in order to operate a vehicle on District business.