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City of Torrance
Class Code: 1415

Class Designation: Non-Civil Service/At-Will

September 1995

Representation Unit: Executive and Management Employees 


Assistant City Attorney


Performs difficult, technically complex and responsible legal work without detailed supervision, and supervises one or more programs or divisions of the Department, under the broad policy guidance of the City Attorney. Represents the City at major commission meetings and represents the City Attorney at City Council, Redevelopment Agency, and other meetings, in the City Attorney's absence.

Distinguishing Characteristics

Assistant City Attorney is an upper-management, supervisory-level class in the professional legal series. Distinguished from the Deputy City Attorney III class in that the incumbent represents the City Attorney in his absence, has additional management and supervisory responsibilities, as well as more substantial responsibility for program design, budgeting and cost control.

Examples Of Duties

  • Marshals facts, conducts legal research and analyzes applicable legal issues.
  • Represents a division, a department or the City at departmental, interdepartmental, board, committee, commission, council, professional and community meetings.
  • Represents the City Attorney in his absence.
  • Acts as a legal advisor to one or more departments.
  • Provides oral and written advice and opinions.
  • Drafts, reviews and amends correspondence, memoranda, agenda reports, written opinions, real property transactional documents, ordinances, resolutions, contracts and other legal documents.
  • Reviews and checks specifications, special assessment proceedings, and insurance. Approves legal documents as to form.
  • Reviews claims and complaints; interviews clients and witnesses; and directs factual investigations, in order to formulate defense or to initiate legal action.
  • Reviews police reports, traffic accident reports, and requests for complaints to determine sufficiency for issuance of criminal complaints.
  • Conducts criminal pretrials and arraignments, tries infractions and misdemeanors, handles appeals and otherwise assists in all phases of criminal prosecutions.
  • Prepares and conducts all phases of civil cases; prepares pleadings and law-and-motion, trial and appellate briefs.
  • Develops strategy, arguments and evidence in preparation for presentation of case; represents the City in administrative hearings, depositions, arbitrations, trial and appeals.
  • Maintains calendars and docketing information for litigation and other matters.
  • Supervises a program or division of the department, under the broad policy guidance of the City Attorney.
  • Supervises and trains Deputy City Attorneys I, II and III, either directly or through subordinate supervisors.
  • Assists in the direction and coordination of the foregoing classes and other office personnel.
  • Assists the City Attorney in developing and implementing plans and procedures.
  • Determines work procedures, prepares work schedules and expedites workflow.
  • Studies and standardizes procedures to improve efficiency and effectiveness of operations.
  • Assures effective and efficient use of budgeted funds, personnel, materials, facilities and time, within assigned areas of responsibility; performs cost-control activities; monitors revenue and expenditures to assure sound fiscal control.
  • Communicates official plans, policies and procedures to staff and the general public.
  • Participates actively in continuing professional education programs relevant to the attorney's practice.
  • Provides leadership and direction in the development of short and long range plans; gathers, interprets and prepares data and a variety of studies, reports and recommendations; coordinates department activities with other departments and agencies.
  • Performs other related duties as assigned.
  • Minimum Qualifications

    Knowledge of
  • Substantive law, procedures and rules of evidence applicable to administrative, civil, criminal and general municipal matters;
  • Principles, methods and practices of investigation, legal research, legal analysis and drafting.
  • IBM-compatible personal computers for computer-assisted legal research, word-processing, data collection and analysis, electronic mail and other purposes.
  • Other appropriate office technologies, such as telephone voice mail, telecopiers and copy machines.
  • Principles and practices of supervision.
  • Ability to

  • Acquire knowledge of local, state and federal law relating to municipal government;
  • Define issues; research facts and law; analyze and draw appropriate logical and legal conclusions from statements of fact, law and argument;
  • Evaluate alternatives, employ independent judgment and make sound recommendations;
  • Draft legal documents;
  • Complete work in a timely manner;
  • Maintain case files and other recordkeeping systems;
  • Present oral and written statements of fact, law and argument in clear and logical form;
  • Communicate and persuade effectively orally and in writing;
  • Establish and maintain tactful, cooperative and effective working relationships with the public, the judicial system, city officials, all levels of City employees and adversaries;
  • Work closely with members of the City Council, the City Manager and department heads;
  • Foster a teamwork environment and motivate staff;
  • Supervise the work of subordinate staff including: coordinating, assigning, monitoring and evaluating work, hiring, training, counseling and disciplining staff; and processing grievances.
  • Education/Training/Experience

    Graduation from an accredited or approved law school with a Juris Doctor degree or equivalent. Five years full-time experience in the practice of law is required which includes experience in one or more of the following areas of substantive law: constitutional law; finance; land use, planning and zoning; personnel; public contracts; and public works. Criminal prosecution and civil trial experience is preferred.
    Familiarity with Lexis, Westlaw or other computer-assisted legal research services; Windows; Microsoft office software, such as Microsoft Word for Windows, Excel, Access, and Powerpoint; WordPerfect 5.1 or better for DOS or Windows.

    Special Requirements

    Active membership in the State Bar of California is required.
    A valid California driver's license of the appropriate class or grade may be required depending upon position assignment.