JOB TITLE: Self Help Resource Center Staff Attorney
DEPARTMENT: Self Help Resource Center
REPORT TO: Self Help Resource Center Managing Attorney
SALARY: $38.89 or $80,891.20/year
PAY GRADE: 11
HOURS:Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or as assigned
POSTED: May 31, 2022
DEADLINE: June 14, 2022
JOB PURPOSE AND OVERVIEW
The Franklin County Municipal Court is the largest and busiest municipal court in the state. The Court has fourteen judges in the General Division and one judge in the Environmental Division. Judges preside over civil, criminal, and traffic cases and conduct both jury and non-jury trials. The Court’s jurisdiction includes traffic cases, misdemeanor criminal cases, and civil cases where the amount at issue is $15,000 or less. The Environmental Division has exclusive jurisdiction to enforce local codes and regulations affecting real property, such as fire and building codes. The geographic jurisdiction of the Court is all of Franklin County and those portions of the City of Columbus that extend beyond the boundaries of Franklin County.
Despite its jurisdiction and name, the Franklin County Municipal Court
is the judicial branch of the City of Columbus government. The Franklin County Municipal Court Self Help Resource Center was created in 2015 as a cost-effective solution to Ohio’s access to justice problem. Center staff provide legal information, not legal advice, about civil matters in Municipal Court including the sealing of criminal records, landlord/tenant
disputes, small claims and general claims lawsuits, and commercial debt collection. The Center assists the Court through the three goals in its mission: to improve court filings, increase access to justice, and provide a positive point of contact between the Court and the community. Under the direction of the Managing Attorney, the Staff Attorney assists with managing court-wide programs providing services to self-represented litigants across multiple case types, including record sealing, landlord/tenant disputes, small claims, general division claims, and consumer/debt collection; participates in community outreach on behalf of the Court; serves as a center of knowledge for best practices of serving pro se litigants for the Court; assists with supervising community volunteers in the Center; and performs other related duties.
ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
• Provides legal information to self-represented litigants that otherwise would not have access to legal assistance and ensures that Center Visitors are provided with referrals to legal and non legal resources as necessary
• Plans, manages, reviews, evaluates, and proposes new court programs to provide assistance to self-represented litigants across a variety of case types, including record sealing, landlord/tenant disputes, small claims, general division claims, and consumer/debt collection.
• Recommends, facilitates, and consults with the Managing Attorney on the implementation of process, policy, and procedural changes to maximize assistance to self-represented litigants.
• Stays abreast of technological solutions and other innovations that can enhance the provision of court services to self-represented litigants and leverages those solutions for the benefit of court users.
• Works closely with judges, the Clerk of Courts, and other court staff to ensure that self-represented litigants are receiving the assistance necessary to improve court filings and improve the efficiency of the court system
• Assists in the preparation of a variety of correspondence, periodic and special reports, narrative and statistical reports, informational publications, program documentation, policies, procedures
and other written materials; and may access varied databases or use information from various sources to prepare such materials.
• Operates a variety of modern office hardware and software.
• Maintains effective working relationships with judicial officers, court staff, and justice partners engaged in the provision of services to self-represented litigants and ADR services.
• Works with the Clerk’s office and other court departments to develop forms and educational materials designed to better serve self-represented litigants and improve the quality of filings received by the Clerk’s office.
• Performs community outreach on behalf of the Center and the Court to increase Center traffic.
• Attends community meetings and presents to various groups on services provided by the Center.
• Participates in providing CLEs to attorneys interested in learning more about Center services.
• Performs other related duties as assigned.
• Graduation from an accredited college or university with a Juris Doctorate.
• Experience in working with low-income individuals, especially related to record sealing, landlord/tenant disputes, small claims, general division claims, and consumer/debt collection.
Ability to serve as a strong advocate for the court and court programs to the public and to assist the court in providing services to self-represented litigants. Experience working with judges and court staff is preferred.
• Active member in good standing with the State Bar of Ohio, are currently awaiting Ohio Bar Exam results, or have been approved to sit for the Ohio Bar Exam.
Knowledge and Abilities
• Ohio judicial branch operations; court policies, procedures, and processes; Ohio Rules of Court and Franklin County Municipal Court local rules; and forms that are commonly used by self-represented litigants.
• Applicable laws and codes; relevant educational materials; proper forms and the correct completion of them; appropriate referral sources.
• Current and in-development software solutions, including web-based, to assist self-represented litigants through, e.g., completion of forms and obtaining remote access to court services.
• Best practices that help self-represented litigants with accessing and using the court system.
• Plan, organize, administer, and coordinate projects, programs, and operations, consistent with Court policies and goals.
• Exercise excellent time management, triage, and multitasking skills.
• Exercise initiative and proactively identify and make improvements to existing processes both within the Center and throughout the Court.
• Ability to mentor externs, judicial fellows, and student volunteers to provide insight into court and judicial branch operations and provide a meaningful learning experience.
• Recruit and retain volunteers to assist in the provision of services to self-represented litigants and general office tasks.
• Exercise excellent independent judgment in dealing with complex and/or sensitive matters; maintain confidentiality.
• Prepare clear and concise correspondence, reports, and related written materials; read, understand, interpret, and apply a variety of statutes, rules, and regulations; analyze complex issues, apply applicable legal authorities, and reach legally sound decisions.
• Engage with the public with respect, tact, and empathy; work cooperatively and professionally, and communicate effectively, with judicial officers, court personnel, and justice partners.
• Analyze complex matters, formulate recommendations and alternatives, anticipate problems, and present ideas and solutions in a logical and justifiable manner, often while under pressure.
• Communicate emphatically, neutrally, and clearly with individuals of diverse socioeconomic, cultural and ethnic backgrounds, including people with disabilities.
• Provide high quality, trauma-informed services to individuals facing stressful and difficult situations.
• Operate modern office equipment, including computers, smart phones, tablets, and software applications designed to assist self-represented litigants.
The Franklin County Municipal Court offers an excellent benefits package that includes health, prescription, vision, dental and life insurance; short-term disability; generous vacation, sick and personal leave; 11 paid holidays; longevity-service payments; sick-leave reciprocity; employee-assistance
program; deferred-compensation program; tuition reimbursement; credit-union membership; supplemental benefits including accident and critical-illness insurance; and affordable legal and identity theft-protection services.
All court employees are members of the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, which provides retirement, disability and survivor benefits for public employees. All full-time employees contribute to OPERS by paying the required employee share, which is 10 percent of their salary. The court pays the required employer’s share of 14 percent of an employee’s salary. Court employees are members of OPERS and therefore do not have any Social Security taxes withheld from their paychecks.
The following application materials should be submitted via e-mail to HumanResources@franklincountymunicourt.org by the posted application deadline.
• Resume and cover letter describing with some specificity how the applicant’s qualifications match those required for the position
• Completed Franklin County Municipal Court Judges’ online employment application:
Receipt of application materials via e-mail will be acknowledged. Applicants invited for interviews will be contacted directly by the court’s human resources assistant. Candidate may be required as a part of the selection process to perform skills tests that could include exercises to test their writing ability, understanding of court systems, knowledge of legal terminology and procedures, and knowledge of the Franklin County Municipal Court. A candidate selected will be required to undergo a criminal-record check.
COURT EXPECTATIONS OF EMPLOYEE
The court expects the employee will adhere to all court policies, guidelines, practices and procedures in completing the duties and responsibilities of the position; act as a role model both inside and outside the court; perform duties as workload necessitates in a timely, accurate and thorough manner and be conscientious about meeting department productivity standards; and communicate regularly with supervisor about department issues.
AT-WILL EMPLOYMENT AND EQUAL-OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER
Employees of the court are at-will employees and serve at the pleasure of the court; they are not in the classified civil-service system and are not members of bargaining units. The court is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of age, gender, religion, race, color,
national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, disability, military status or genetic information.