Legislative Legal Counsel to City Council

POSITION DESCRIPTION:

The Legislative Department has an exciting opportunity for a creative, high performing Attorney to join our Central Staff team as Legislative Legal Counsel to City Council (Executive Manager-LEG).

 

This is a new position that will provide legal advice and analysis to members of the Seattle City Council and the City Clerk on legislative and policy issues, and work closely with the City Attorney’s Office (CAO) to ensure Councilmembers have robust legal advice on all issues facing the City.

 

The Legislative Legal Counsel position will report to the Central Staff Director as part of the twenty (20)-member Central Staff team, a division of the City’s legislative branch that brings counterbalance to the executive branch of government and the Mayor’s Office. We provide independent, objective policy and fiscal analysis for all nine (9) councilmembers. Our work environment is complex and political as we play a critical role in laying the groundwork for the Seattle City Council to make informed decisions that shape our city.

 

The Central Staff division cultivates an inclusive, anti-racist workplace. We are active participants in the City’s Race and Social Justice Initiative and seek team members who bring an anti-racist lens to their work, and who are interested in developing these analytical skills in a team environment.

 

As the Legislative Legal Counsel, you will play a pivotal role in shaping and defining legal questions associated with policy and advising Councilmembers to inform their decision-making. We seek mid to senior-level candidates with public sector experience who are eager to work in an independent, self-directed manner and in collaboration with other stakeholders to join our team.

 

YOU WILL BE MOST SUCCESSFUL IN THIS POSITION IF YOU:

  • Understand the legal context of municipal government and are excited to apply your legal background to writing new law and policy
  • Communicate clearly and can distill complex legal and policy ideas into digestible pieces both verbally and in writing.
  • Apply a positive approach to building professional working relationships despite conflicting viewpoints and can effectively communicate purpose, process, and outcome to a broad audience.
  • Thrive in a political environment with elected officials who may have political views/ orientations different from your own
  • Can exercise good judgment and discretion in handling confidential and/or sensitive data and information
  • Enjoy working as part of a team that has a high standard in the quality of their work product and desire to continually improve
  • Are committed to race and social justice and are motivated to work towards ending institutional and systemic racism.

 

JOB RESPONSIBILITIES:

 

Provide Legal Advice to the Council

  • Generate legal analysis to inform policy strategy: workshop legal questions tied to policy choices with Councilmembers when designing a policy approach
  • Shape Council’s legal inquiries: help Councilmembers and Central Staff define the legal questions associated with a policy, to be posed to the City Attorney’s Office and/or outside counsel to get more efficient and better results
  • Prepare legal opinions: provide independent written legal analysis on a select set of policy issues each year
  • Answer brief legal questions on legislative processes for Councilmembers and staff to support day-to-day operations of the Legislative branch
  • Attend and participate in Executive Sessions regarding potential or pending litigation, ensuring Councilmembers are prepped with appropriate questions to inform their decision-making
  • Participate in staffing and providing legal analysis on issues affecting the Select Labor Committee and Labor Relations Policy Committee

 

Write and Present Legislative Material

  • Draft legislation and amendments, and author written reports of various styles, including issue papers, decision agendas and executive summaries, alongside policy and budget analysts.
  • Prepare and deliver presentations to Council and others summarizing key elements of reports, analysis, and recommendations.

 

Partner with the City Attorney’s Office

  • Liaison with the City Attorney’s Office to help the Council maintain a positive working relationship with the CAO through strong relationships and project coordination on significant projects.

 

Note: This position will not engage in litigation on behalf of the City or City Council.

 

QUALIFICATIONS:

 

You will be effective in this role if you have the experience, skills, abilities, and knowledge listed below through a combination of work, education, and life experience as demonstrated in your resume, cover letter, and answers to supplemental questions:

  • Law degree and current membership in good standing with the Washington State Bar Association (or articulate a plan to re-join the Bar if returning from out of state)
  • 5 (five) or more years of experience providing advice to municipal government
  • 5 (five) or more years of experience working on public policy or in a political context
  • Demonstrated knowledge in one or all these areas: Municipal government, including the framework of the City Charter and State Constitution; Principals of municipal law related to the open and transparent conduct of legislative bodies, including parliamentary procedure, the Open Public Meetings Act, State Budget Act; and Labor and employment law in Washington state, including public sector labor relations
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, including the ability to effectively communicate with internal and external audiences.
  • Ability to use discretion and care in handling confidential and sensitive information.
  • Proficient with Microsoft Office applications: Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, Teams, OneDrive, and SharePoint.
  • Track-record of applying a race and social justice lens to policy or legal analysis

 

You may be even more prepared for this role if you have the following knowledge, skills, and abilities:

  • Experience working for elected officials and working with multiple City departments and other jurisdictions or agencies.
  • Understanding of and experience working on a broad range of public policy issues.

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

This full-time position is exempt from the Civil Service System and is currently under classification review for the title of Executive Manager-Legislative. This position is exempt from the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

 

COVID VACCINE MANDATE

All City of Seattle employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. If hired, you will be required to submit proof of vaccination. People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine. Employees may make requests for a reasonable accommodation based on a medical disability or for sincerely held religious beliefs. Philosophical, political, scientific, or sociological objections to vaccination will not be considered for an exemption or accommodation. Failure to submit proof of vaccination or qualify for a reasonable accommodation will result in withdrawal of the job offer.

 

WORK ENVIRONMENT

This Legislative Department is located at the Seattle City Hall: 600 Fourth Ave. 2nd Floor, Seattle, WA. The person in this role must reside within the State of Washington, and Alternative Work Arrangements, including remote work, may be considered, and will be based on operational needs.

 

WHY WORK AT THE CITY

The City of Seattle recognizes every City employee must play a role in ending institutional and structural racism. Our culture is the result of our behavior, our personal commitments, and the ways that we courageously share our perspectives and encourage others to do the same. To cultivate an antiracist culture, we seek employees who will engage in the Race and Social Justice Initiative by working to dismantle racist policies and procedures, unlearn the way things have always been done, and provide equitable processes and services.

 

TOTAL COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS

The City of Seattle offers a comprehensive benefits package including vacation, holiday, and sick leave as well as medical, dental vision, life, and long-term disability insurance for employees. For more information, review the City’s "Benefits at a Glance Guide.”

 

HOW TO APPLY