Lead Staff Attorney at Supreme Court Commissioner’s Office



Position Overview

Under the direction of the Supreme Court Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner, this senior professional level position independently works on the most complex legal research and writing projects. Cases researched/analyzed at this level involve issues where the law is not well-settled, lower court opinions may be conflicting, the US Supreme Court has announced new constitutional rules, or there are emerging legal developments with wide ranging impacts. Regularly drafts written rulings in personal restraint petitions or motions for discretionary review from Court of Appeals decisions dismissing personal restraint petitions.  Available on a regular basis to consult with staff attorneys and law clerks for on legal and procedural issues and provides orientation and training to law clerks and mentoring for legal externs.

See Job Description for more in-depth information (www.courts.wa.gov/employ).

Duties and Responsibilities

Researches and analyzes more complex procedural and substantive legal issues presented by petitions for review, appeals filed directly in the Court, motions decided by the Court, and personal restraint petitions or motions for discretionary review of Court of Appeals decisions dismissing personal restraint petitions.

Provides the Justices with legal memoranda including a summary of the case, legal analysis of the issues, discussion of the multifaceted considerations involved in selecting cases for review, and a recommendation as to whether the Court should grant, deny, or take some other appropriate action on petitions for review and motions, and whether the Court should retain appeals filed directly in the Court or transfer them for decision by the Court of Appeals in the first instance. In order to recommend disposition of a case: studies the trial record, performs complex legal research, analyzes emerging legal developments, considers issues in other pending cases, considers the additional procedural steps, if any, necessary for appropriate disposition.

Prepares draft opinions and orders for the court and draft rulings for the Commissioner on a regular basis.

Prepares, for internal Court use, summaries of opinions circulating among the Supreme Court Justices.

Prepares, for public information and posting on the Court’s website, drafts of issue statements for cases to be heard by the Court.

Serves as a resource to law clerks of the justices on legal and procedural questions and primary mentor of legal externs of the Commissioner’s Office.

Prepares educational and training materials and acts as the principal resource for specialized areas of the law (such as post-conviction relief procedural and substantive law).

Assists the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner in presenting an annual orientation for new law clerks and in the periodic revision of the law clerk manual.

Performs other duties as assigned.

Knowledge and Abilities

See Job Description for an in-depth list (www.courts.wa.gov/employ).


The salary range for this position is a Range 74: $78,348 – $102,828 per year DOQ.

This position is not covered by the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act and the Washington State Minimum Wage Act.

Minimum Qualifications

Graduation, with a strong academic record, from an accredited law school


Member in good standing in the Washington State Bar Association


Six years of work experience as an attorney with at least four years working in an appellate court or equivalent experience.

Application Information

This position will close on Friday, August 11, 2017, at 5:00 p.m.

Applications should include the following:

  • a letter of interest addressing the qualifications for the position,
  • a comprehensive resume with 3-5 professional references,
  • two legal writing samples representing your own work, and
  • an Application for Employment

(located at the bottom of the Washington Courts Employment Page)

Please submit to:

Administrative Office of the Courts
Attention: Human Resources
P.O. Box 41170, Olympia, WA 98504-1170
Or via email to Employment@nullcourts.wa.gov (preferred)

No applications will be accepted by the Supreme Court Commissioner’s Office.  Please submit all applications as indicated above.

Heather LigtenbergLead Staff Attorney at Supreme Court Commissioner’s Office