County Attorney

Industry:
Public Sector
Last Updated:
September 12, 2023

Job Description Overview

A County Attorney job description involves serving as legal counsel for counties in the public sector. They are responsible for providing advice and legal representation to county officials and departments as they make decisions about county operations, policies, and regulations to comply with state and federal laws. County Attorneys may be involved in a range of legal issues, from civil litigations, land use, and zoning disputes to criminal prosecutions, child protection, and public health emergencies. They conduct legal research, interpret state and federal laws, draft contracts, and negotiate settlements. County Attorneys communicate effectively with various stakeholders, including elected officials, law enforcement, courts, and the public to ensure that the county is on the right path. A County Attorney needs a Juris Doctor degree, membership in the state bar, and several years of legal experience.

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Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Represent the county government in legal matters, including civil, criminal, and administrative cases.
  • Provide legal advice and guidance to county officials and departments on matters such as contracts, ordinances, and policies.
  • Draft and review legal documents such as contracts, resolutions, and opinions.
  • Investigate potential legal issues and recommend courses of action to the county government.
  • Defend the county in lawsuits and prosecute individuals or entities that violate county laws.
  • Work with law enforcement officials to investigate and prosecute crimes committed within the county.
  • Attend county board meetings and provide legal analysis on proposed actions.
  • Negotiate settlements and plea agreements on behalf of the county.
  • Stay up-to-date on changes in laws and regulations that may affect the county and advise county officials accordingly.

Experience and Education Requirements

To become a County Attorney in the Public Sector industry, you need a lot of education and experience. First, you'll need to attend law school and earn a Juris Doctor degree. Then, you'll have to pass the bar exam to get your license to practice law. After that, you'll need to gain experience working as a lawyer, preferably in the areas of criminal law and litigation. In addition, you should have experience with government agencies and public law, as much of a County Attorney's work involves advising and representing government entities. It's important to have strong communication and analytical skills, as well as a dedication to public service and the ability to work collaboratively with others.

Salary Range

The salary range for a County Attorney in the Public Sector industry in the United States typically falls between $105,000 and $175,000 per year, with the average salary being around $138,000 per year. However, the salary range can vary depending on factors such as location, experience, and the size of the county. For example, in California, the County Attorney salary range can go up to $211,170 per year.

In other countries, such as Canada, the range can vary as well. A County Attorney in Ontario, Canada can make anywhere from CAD $106,292 to CAD $161,397 per year.

Overall, a County Attorney in the Public Sector industry can expect to make a competitive salary relative to their experience and location. 

Sources: 

  • https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/county-attorney-salary-SRCH_KO0,14.htm 
  • https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=County_Attorney/Salary 
  • https://www.revenue.land.gov.on.ca/profiles/profession-guide-1969.pdf

Career Outlook

A County Attorney is a key role in the Public Sector industry as they provide legal advice and representation to a county government. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of lawyers is projected to grow 4% from 2019 to 2029, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. This growth is driven by the demand for legal services in various areas such as healthcare, environmental laws, intellectual property, and international trade. However, the employment growth may vary based on the location and budget conditions of the county government. To remain competitive in the job market, County Attorneys should enhance their skills in negotiation, advocacy, and legal writing.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What exactly does a County Attorney do? 

A: A County Attorney is a legal advisor for the county government, representing the county in civil lawsuits, drafting contracts, giving legal opinions, and prosecuting criminals.

Q: Is a County Attorney's job only limited to criminal law? 

A: No, the County Attorney's job encompasses a wide range of legal issues, including real estate transactions, employment law, public health emergencies, and civil litigation.

Q: How important is the job of County Attorney for a county's government? 

A: A County Attorney is an essential component of a county's government as they provide legal guidance and represent the county in legal disputes. Their job ensures that the county is functioning legally and ethically.

Q: What's the required education and experience for a County Attorney? 

A: To become a County Attorney, one must pass a bar examination and hold a law degree from an accredited law school. In addition, several years of experience in litigation and government law are also required.

Q: What skills are essential for a County Attorney? 

A: A County Attorney must possess numerous skills, such as excellent communication skills, in-depth knowledge of law, ethical decision-making, critical thinking, and the ability to work under high-pressure situations.


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