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Administrative Law Judge - Temporary Appointment

This recruitment will be used to fill full-time temporary Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) positions to address the increased volume of Employment Security cases in our Olympia, Spokane Valley, and Tacoma field offices.


Interviews are anticipated to occur in late August and late September 2021.

Start Dates: September 16, October 1 and December 1, 2021.


The Opportunity:
OAH currently looking to fill temporary Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) positions to address the Employment Security (ES) caseload backlog. .

  • The initial temporary appointment will be for approximately 6 months with the ability to extend to 12 months or longer.
  • This position will be teleworking fulltime.
  • The first day of employment will be spent at an OAH facility.Employees at the facility are expected to follow COVID-19 safety protocols, which includes social distancing and wearing a cloth face covering when not working alone.


Position Overview:
Our ALJs mainly preside over telephonic hearings but will also conduct in-person hearings for both pro se and represented parties. ALJs work in a fast-paced, timeline driven environment where they are at the forefront of accomplishing the OAH mission. ALJs enjoy seeing the direct result of their work and the justice provided in each decision made. An ALJ's primary role is to conduct hearings that are fair--in both substance and appearance--and issue well-reasoned, timely decisions. This role demands the ability to build a record; manage time effectively; and produce clear, logical, well-written decisions. As a representative of the State of Washington, each ALJ is held to the highest standard of professionalism, performance excellence, and ethics.

The Caseload
Employment Security (ES): The ES caseload handles a high volume of cases with quick turnaround times for orders. A typical hearing is scheduled for about one hour and a fully trained judge is typically scheduled for 24 hearings a week. ALJs on this caseload hear cases involving unemployment insurance, unemployment fraud, training benefits, and unemployment tax assessments..

Some of what you'll do:

  • Provide high quality and timely administrative hearings and decisions under Chapter 34.05 RCW and other applicable laws consistent with the requirements of due process.
  • Conduct fair, impartial hearings accessible for all parties. ES hearings are almost exclusively conducted over the phone.
  • Become proficient in using our case management system to manage your caseload.
  • Ensure a clear and complete hearing record.
  • Preside and rule on pre-hearing, hearing, and post-hearing matters.
  • Read or view exhibits, pleadings, and legal reference materials to prepare for proceedings.
  • Swear in witnesses, take testimony, and rule on exhibits. Determine the relevancy of testimony as it is occurring; rule on admissibility of evidence.
  • Maintain control of the hearing, which may include parties who are upset or are having difficulty understanding the proceeding.
  • Analyze legal problems, some of which may be difficult and complex; and apply legal principles and precedents with a commitment to making an unbiased and legally correct decision.
  • Issue well-written decisions consistent with OAH quality standards, containing necessary findings of fact and conclusions of law disposing of all legal issues.
  • Issue decisions within strict timelines required by OAH standards and the governing federal and state law.
  • Develop and maintain current and accurate knowledge of administrative rules, policies and procedures, and other substantive law for caseloads.


We are looking for applicants who have:

  • Demonstrated the ability to make timely and logical decisions, adapt to changing business needs, conditions, and work responsibilities.
  • Extensive practice in legal writing and proofreading, including the ability to independently draft and edit legal documents.
  • A high stress tolerance, judicial decorum, calm demeanor, and ability to de-escalate confrontational behavior.
  • Demonstrated ability to respond positively to constructive feedback, changing processes, and make improvements to overall performance.
  • Tolerance of repeated interruptions, ability to adjust priorities as needed, and the ability to maintain mental focus.
  • Ability to interpret, apply rules and policies.
  • Ethical conduct, including a history of maintaining the highest standards of professional conduct and personal integrity.
  • A commitment to teamwork, to do what is necessary to achieve the team's goals, while working independently.
  • Ability to meet challenges with resourcefulness, generate suggestions for improving work, and develop innovative approaches and ideas.
  • Skill with Microsoft Office programs including Word and Outlook and the ability to produce accurately formatted and typed documents.
  • Ability to learn and use new technology systems, including case management systems and time-reporting systems.

Applicants must have the following qualifications:

  • A Juris Doctor degree.
  • A minimum of five years of legal experience as a licensed attorney *
  • Active or Judicial membership with the Washington State Bar Association or any state's bar association.

*Applicants with at least two, but less than five years' relevant legal experience may be considered for an Entry ALJ position. Entry ALJs are expected to perform the same duties as a Line ALJ, and may have the opportunity to promote to a Line ALJ position after successfully performing the duties of an ALJ with OAH for one year.

Preference may be given to candidates with experience as an administrative law judge, adjudicator, or hearings officer/examiner; OR to candidates with litigation/courtroom experience.  ALJs who have been successful in and enjoyed these types of positions/environments in their work history tend to be better prepared for the rewarding challenge of being an ALJ at OAH.

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