Closing Date: 15th June, 2023


General Summary or Purpose
Interested applicants must submit a cover letter, resume, writing sample, and copy of law school transcript.

The North Dakota Court System offers employment opportunities that provide a rewarding career in public service working together to deliver justice. The Court System offers an excellent benefits package including employer-paid family health insurance premiums, retirement contributions and generous vacation and sick leave accruals.

If you are drawn to and want to play an integral role in supporting a judge or judicial referee by providing extensive legal research and analysis of legal issues and cases to make recommendations on the proposed disposition of cases, this opportunity may be right for you.

The ideal candidate:
  • Easily engages and communicates with others orally and in writing.
  • Enjoys researching, analyzing and writing.
  • Obsesses with detail ensuring accuracy of work.
  • Deliberately and thoroughly organizes and analyzes information.
  • Demonstrates an ability to provide sound judgment including the ability to think critically, identify, break down, evaluate and write information in a concise and logical manner.
  • Thrives on having a constant workload and organizing, planning and prioritizing work priorities.
  • Finds it rewarding to be highly dependable.
  • Seamlessly works as part of the courtroom team in providing necessary trial preparations including court recording.

The Ideal Candidate Minimum Qualifications:
  • Juris doctor degree from an accredited law school;
  • 2 years of related experience conducting legal research, preparing or presenting cases in state courts;
  • License to practice law in the State of ND; and
  • AAERT (American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers) CER (Certified Electronic Court Reporter) certification or the ability to obtain within six months of job entry. A comparable certification by another state court or federal court may be substituted for the AAERT certification

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Major Responsibilities & Essential Functions
Title of Immediate Supervisor
: Presiding District Court Judge
Accountable for (Job Titles): Law Clerk
FLSA Status: Exempt

The Staff Attorney-District Court is responsible for providing extensive legal research and analysis of legal issues and cases pending before the North Dakota District Courts and making recommendations on the proposed disposition of cases. Assists judges and judicial referees by applying legal principles and research in the drafting and writing of judicial orders and provides support services on other related matters. Makes a verbatim record of district and juvenile court trials, proceedings and other matters using audio recording equipment, writing court logs and noting appearances and essential events during the proceedings. Performs courtroom duties.
  • Conducts in-depth legal research and analysis of legal precedents, statutes, regulations and legislative history for all judges and judicial referees in the district. Reviews case records, including briefs and transcripts/recordings of prior hearings when necessary. Drafts findings and orders for the district court judges and judicial referees on complex cases in all areas of the law, including civil, criminal, juvenile, family law and administrative appeals.
  • Edits draft options prepared by other law clerk staff, judges and judicial referees and offers changes in style or content. Reviews legal analysis and proofreads findings and orders for both style and content.
  • Confers with judges and judicial referees on pending cases. Provides background research and analysis on the law and facts. Provides summary and analysis of relevant similar issues faced by other judges in the district and resolution of prior similar cases. Identifies nuances in the cases and suggests areas that will need clarification at any hearing. Suggests possible resolutions and alerts judges to any possible concerns or appealable issues surrounding proposed resolutions of issues.
  • Drafts jury instructions and special verdict forms for upcoming trials. Conducts necessary research for judges to make a determination on any requested special jury instructions and to make a determination on relevant pattern instructions. Confers with judges regarding closing instructions and drafts closing instructions.
  • Assists judges through ongoing complex trials. Provides insight and legal analysis on trial matters as requested by judges, including objections, in-chamber conferences and motions made through trial. Conducts in-depth legal research during the trials to provide the judges with the necessary law for making quick decisions and rulings as issues arise during trial.
  • Drafts orders for judges after complex bench trials. Attends entire bench trial if requested and analyzes testimony and evidence presented to the assigned judge. Suggests possible resolution and drafts final findings and order as requested by the assigned judge.
  • In districts with multiple law clerks, if assigned by the presiding judge of the district, may supervise the term law clerk. Supervision may include: reviewing resumes and application materials, conducting interviews, making hiring decisions, training, orientating, answering questions and mentoring on cases and legal issues.
  • Accurately records, transcribes and certifies the record of court and jury trial proceedings, unless it is prepared by a third party, by computer-aided equipment per state and appellate requirements. Responsibility also requires taking court notes during hearings and to locate and present prior testimony. Requires travel to other counties within and outside of the district for court proceedings assigned to the district judge or referee.
  • Performs clerking duties in courtroom, administers oath, marks documents, maintains logs and other forms and transfers storage devices, files and records to the clerk of district court for reference.
  • Performs other duties of a comparable level or type.

Minimum Qualifications & Certification or Licensing Requirements
Requires a juris doctor degree from an accredited law school and a minimum of two years related experience conducting legal research, preparing and/or presenting cases in state courts.

Requires a license to practice law in the State of North Dakota.

If assigned recording duties, then requires AAERT (American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers) CER (certified electronic court reporter) certification or ability to obtain within six months of job entry. A comparable certification by another state court or federal court may be substituted for the AAERT certification.

Knowledge, Skill, & Physical Requirements
Knowledge Requirements
  • Extensive knowledge of federal and state constitutional law, statutory law and court case precedent.
  • General knowledge of court administration and office management policies and procedures.
  • Extensive knowledge of court system operations, court procedures and rules including legal rules of evidence, civil procedures, criminal procedures and appellate procedures.
  • Knowledge of logical legal theorems, their application to legal precedent, rules of legal interpretation and statutory interpretation.

Skill Requirements:
  • Skilled in organizing, planning and prioritizing own work priorities, needs and projects.
  • Skilled in balancing the workload of assignments from all judges in the district and prioritizing matters that are assigned.
  • Skilled in learning, understanding and utilizing the preferences and writing style of all judges in the district.
  • Skilled in conducting legal research and the application and interpretation of legal concepts, principles and legal theorems to the specifics of individual cases.
  • Skilled in the use of legal research resources and software (i.e. Westlaw, Lexis Nexis, etc.) and general office support applications (i.e. word processing and other desktop software/applications).
  • Skilled in formulating, writing and drafting legal orders in a clear, concise and coherent manner in accordance with the requirements of the court.
  • Skilled in applying legal principles, rules, concepts, precedents and cases in addressing individual cases and legal problems/issues.
  • Skilled in presenting and communicating controversial or complex topics in an effective and persuasive manner in public presentations and speeches before managers, courts, boards judges or committees.

Physical Requirements:
  • The essential functions of the job typically require: grasping, walking, sitting, seeing, talking, hearing, feeling, fingering, and some repetitive motions or other reasonable methods that accommodate an individual in completing the essential functions of the job.
  • Work performed in a comfortable office environment.
  • Employee may be subject to some limited travel in the performance of the job.
  • Physical requirements can typically be characterized as Sedentary Work: Exerting up to 10 lbs. of force occasionally and/or a negligible amount of force frequently or constantly to lift, carry, push, pull, or otherwise move objects, including the human body.