Closing Date: 2nd October, 2023


Competitive salary: $74,339 - $106,142 Annually

Who We Are:
ODA helps Ohioans in many ways including: supporting agriculture, protecting consumers, safeguarding plants and animals, and conserving natural resources. As a cabinet-level agency, we answer to the Governor, and we get a lot of stuff done! Ohio's food and agriculture industry is huge, contributing $124 billion to the economy and employing one in eight people. This success starts on the farm, but these aren't your great grandpa's farms! They may have started way back when, but many of Ohio's more than 70,000 farms are modern, state-of-the-art operations that use technology to maximize production to feed our growing population.

ODA is located in Reynoldsburg on a beautiful, 158-acre campus. Parking is free and so are the amazing connections you will make with professionals who are known as the best in their field.

What we do:
At ODA, we do a lot that helps a lot of people. That's a pretty big deal! We make sure the meat and food you eat and the milk you drink is safe. We protect farmland and conserve our soil and water resources. We keep Ohio's plants, crops, and livestock free of pests and disease. We house the state's top food safety lab and serve as a hub for a statewide lab safety system. We make sure you get what you pay for through ensuring accurate weights and measures standards. We oversee Ohio's fairs and make sure the amusement rides you love are safe. As a member of ODA's family, you'll be working with a team of the highest caliber, doing work that makes a difference to all Ohioans.

What You'll Do:
You don't have to know a lot about agriculture, you'll learn that on the job! You just have to have a willingness to learn and a desire to devote your skills to a greater purpose. Join our Legal Office team and make a statewide impact!

The preferred Associate Legal Counsel candidate will possess:
  • Accomplished legal analysis skills, be detail oriented, and be able to work collaboratively and independently
  • Excellence in oral and written communications
  • Strong working knowledge of real estate law
  • Proficiency using online legal research and related technologies
  • A commitment to public service

Please include your resume and cover letter with your application

The position is responsible for:
  • Under direction of agency Chief Legal Counsel, plans, directs and coordinates legal program and provides legal service to Department of Agriculture divisions (e.g. Office of Farmland Preservation) which have statewide impact
  • Conducts title searches & reviews title history documents & easements to ensure clear title for the Office of Farmland Preservation
  • Prepares legal documentation to support legal operations: writes briefs, contracts, memorandums of agreement, deeds and deeds of easement, opinions of title, notices of commencement, reports, position papers, legal opinions, administrative rules and other legal documents on a case-by-case basis, orders of enforcement and notices of violation, and correspondence
  • Under direction of agency Chief Legal Counsel, plans, directs, coordinates and provides legal services for Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) assigned divisions which have statewide impact (e.g. Dairy, Auctioneers, Commercial Dog Breeding (CDB), Dangerous Wild Animals (DWA), Hemp Program)
  • Advises ODA staff on legal matters; assists in the development of legal policies and procedures for divisions and overall agency, as applicable, in accordance with agency policy in matters having a legal impact on other state agencies, other governmental jurisdictions, and the general public
  • Oversees potential legal action & cases & provides legal support for ODA administrative hearings pursuant to Chapter 119 of the ORC
  • Assists staff in resolving complex questions of law & provides legal advisory services to Director's Office and offices of Deputy Directors on assigned divisions
  • Conducts research & develops legal documentation pursuant to request or need
  • Works under direction of chief legal counsel to review and respond to public records requests within a reasonable timeframe & acts as system administrator for ODA database for online public records requests
  • Remains current in statutory changes and case law regarding Open Meetings Act under R.C. 121 and to ensure compliance by ODA with ORC 149
  • Provides legal division updates on both public records and the Open Meetings Act & attends annual Sunshine Laws Training through the Ohio Attorney General
  • Oversees the preparation and review of legal documents
  • Trains legal staff and agency staff in the use of public records processing system
  • Conducts research, case/matter management, and litigation support for, real property, administrative law and other matters having legal impact on assigned divisions
  • Reviews, drafts & negotiates contracts & other agreements
  • Provides assistance and litigation support in matters involving the agency to agency officials and Office of Attorney General
  • Provides legal counsel for agency officials and personnel & assistance in resolving complex questions of law

We Support Diversity and Inclusion:
ODA values its internal diversity and pledges to cultivate an inclusive and engaging environment for all employees where differences are embraced and celebrated. The agency commits to building a workforce that champions the advancement of DEI principles and initiatives. The values on which these efforts are founded are: respect, empathy, transparency, equality, and equal access.

What's in it for you:
At the State of Ohio, we take care of the team that cares for Ohioans. We provide a variety of quality, competitive benefits to eligible full-time and part-time employees. For a list of all the State of Ohio Benefits, visit our Total Rewards website! Our benefits package includes:

Medical Coverage
Quality, affordable, and competitive medical benefits are offered through the Ohio Med PPO plan.

Dental, Vision and Basic Life Insurance
Dental, vision and basic life insurance premiums are available the following month after your hire date.

Time Away From Work and Work/Life Balance
  • Paid time off, including vacation, personal, and sick leave
  • 11 paid holidays per year
  • Childbirth/Adoption leave

Ohio Public Employees Retirement System
OPERS is the retirement system for State of Ohio employees. The employee contributes 10% of his/her salary towards his/her retirement. The employer contributes an amount equal to 14% of the employee's salary. Visit the OPERS website for more information.

Deferred Compensation
The Ohio Deferred Compensation program is a 457(b) voluntary retirement savings plan. Visit the Ohio Deferred Compensation website for more information.

Maternity Benefits
  • 12 weeks paid childbirth leave at 70% with option to supplement to 100%
  • Expanded maternity health care benefits available to state employees enrolled in the Ohio Med PPO and Ohio Med NN (narrow network) medical plan options. Several prenatal, childbirth, and post-childbirth services are provided at no out-of-pocket cost to employees utilizing network providers.
  • Examples of services now covered by network providers at 100% include:
    • Prenatal care, including physician visits and examinations.
    • Home health care services designated as maternity care (for expectant members on bed rest).
    • Inpatient claims for all types of delivery.
    • Inpatient NICU claims, from birth through discharge.
    • Postpartum care, including office visits for follow-up, and procedures/treatments directly related to maternity.
  • Medications prescribed for both antepartum and postpartum conditions (e.g., morning sickness, postpartum depression). Medical services provided by non-network providers will be processed at the applicable coinsurance, deductible, and out-of-pocket limits.
  • Prescription drugs that are directly related to maternity care are covered with no copay. The State of Ohio has collaborated with the prescription drug third-party administrator (OptumRx) to provide a list of covered medications that can be approved for zero copay via prior authorization from providers.

Ohio is a Disability Inclusion State and strives to be a Model Employer of Individuals with disabilities. The State of Ohio is committed to providing access and inclusion and reasonable accommodation in its services, activities, programs and employment opportunities in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other applicable laws.

  • Admission to Ohio Bar pursuant to Section 4705.01 of Revised Code
  • And
  • 12 months experience as licensed attorney
  • And
  • 6 months experience in employee training & development

Knowledge of law (i.e., procedural & substantive); legal research methods; legal writing; interviewing; laws, rules & procedures applicable to operations of employing agency; supervisory principles/techniques*; employee training & development. Ability to deal with large number of variables & determine specific course of action; organize & interpret extensive variety of legal material in books, journals or legal documents; communicate verbally regarding legal issues; handle sensitive contacts with government officials, adverse parties &/or general public.

(*)Developed after employment.

If you require an accommodation for the interview process or the position, please notify the assigned recruiter

This position is Unclassified 124.11 (A) (9), Ohio Revised Code

Training & Development Required to Remain in Classification After Employment:
Completion of 24 credit hours of continuing legal education from accredited programs for applicable two-year reporting period pursuant to Rule X of Rules of Government of Bar of Ohio. Current certificate of registration pursuant to Rule VII of Rules of Government of Bar of Ohio.

For Questions Regarding This Posting Please Contact:
  • Keary Sorgini

Background Check Information:
The final candidate selected for the position will be required to undergo a criminal background check. Criminal convictions do not necessarily preclude an applicant from consideration for a position. An individual assessment of an applicant's prior criminal convictions will be made before excluding an applicant from consideration.

The recommended candidate for this position will be required to take a drug screen as part of their approval process. A candidate who tests positive for illegal or improperly used controlled drugs will not be hired.

The final candidate selected for the position will be required to complete a review of records of the Ohio Department of Taxation (ODT) concerning compliance requirements for timely filing and, if applicable, payment of personal income taxes, as well as timely filing and, if applicable, payment of school district income taxes if reside(d) in a taxing school district.