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Chief Deputy District Attorney
County of Sonoma | Larkfield, California
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Job Description

As a Chief Deputy District Attorney, you will assist in the overall management of the office.  Serving in a management role, you will supervise staff and oversee the operational functions of a division or large organization unit.  You may also be assigned the most complex legal work and assist in the establishment of office policies and procedures.  Typical duties of the Chief Deputy District Attorney include:

  • Demonstrating high quality trial skills, and setting an example for staff
  • Monitoring and adjusting a unit's caseload assignments to ensure efficiency
  • Mentoring Deputy District Attorneys based on familiarity with assigned cases, attorneys' skills, and observation of their performance in court
  • Effectively and regularly evaluating staff performance, providing training, and managing performance issues
  • Motivating staff and maintaining high morale
  • Cultivating effective professional relationships with office staff, the management team, representatives of the Courts, and other agencies, including law enforcement and the public
  • Representing the District Attorney during various meetings, events and participating in various committees

What you Bring

The ideal candidate will possess the following attributes:

  • A self-starter who can drive tasks to completion
  • Sound judgment and discretion
  • A team player who is flexible and demonstrates a positive attitude
  • Dependable follow-through coupled with a keen attention to detail
  • The aptitude for effectively managing work priorities and meeting deadlines in a fast-paced environment
  • Committed champion of victims' rights
  • Demonstrated dedication to upholding the highest ethical standards
  • Superb communicator both orally and in writing


Under the leadership of District Attorney, Jill R. Ravitch, the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office is the largest legal office in the County with 132 employees, including attorneys, investigators, victim witness advocate, and administrative and support staff. Each year the office receives close to 20,000 crime reports to review and investigate, files approximately 12,000 cases, which include the full range of offenses, makes over 150,000 court appearances, and serves over 3,500 victims.

The office has enjoyed numerous honors and has developed many programs which have been used as models for other counties. The office works collaboratively with many agencies and community organizations.

The office culture is hard working and the staff shares a passionate commitment to ensure the well-being of the residents of Sonoma County.

This recruitment is being conducted to fill one full-time Chief Deputy District Attorney vacancy in the Office of the District Attorney.  The employment list may also be used to fill future full-time, part-time or extra help (temporary) vacancies as they occur during the active status of the list.  County employees who wish to be considered for future vacancies should consider applying to this recruitment. 


Responses to supplemental questions may be scored using position-specific criteria. Please provide specific and detailed responses of a reasonable length to allow for thorough assessment of your qualifications. Responses which state "See Resume" or "See Application" may be considered insufficient and therefore may not be scored.


Minimum Qualifications

Experience: Significant legal experience subsequent to membership in the State Bar of California, which directly relates to the knowledge and abilities listed. Normally, five years of legal experience practicing criminal law as a licensed attorney with emphasis on the preparation and trial of felony cases, including the equivalent of two years of experience at the level of Deputy District Attorney IV with Sonoma County, would provide the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and abilities listed.

Professional License: Current active membership in the State Bar of California. License: Possession of a valid California driver's license at the appropriate level including special endorsements, as required by the State of California to perform the essential job functions of the position.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Extensive knowledge of: the duties, powers, limitations, and authorities of the Office of the District Attorney; the principles of law relevant to the area of assignment, principles of trial procedure, and rules of evidence; legal research methods and judicial procedures; the statutory and constitutional laws of the State of California.

Considerable knowledge of: effective supervisory techniques; written and oral communications, including language mechanics, syntax and English composition.

Ability to: analyze and present legal considerations related to the policies, programs and operations of the District Attorney's Office; research, analyze and apply legal principles, facts, evidence and precedents to legal problems; plan, assign, coordinate and review the work of subordinate professional, specialized and supportive personnel; effectively orient, train, supervise and evaluate subordinate departmental personnel; consistently prepare and present statements of law, fact, and argument clearly, logically and persuasively in written and oral form, including the most complex legal matters; establish and maintain effective working relationships with staff members, departmental representatives, county officials, the courts, law enforcement agency officials, and the general public.

Selection Procedure & Some Helpful Tips When Applying


  • Your application information and your responses to the supplemental questions are evaluated and taken into consideration throughout the entire selection process.
  • You should list all employers and positions held within the last ten years in the work history section of your application.  Be as thorough as possible when responding the supplemental questions.
  • You may include history beyond ten years if related to the position for which you are applying.  If you held multiple positions with one employer, list out each position separately.
  • Failure to follow these instructions may impact your competitiveness in this process or may result in disqualification.

For more detailed information about examination steps and the hiring process, you are encouraged to visit http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/HR/Recruitment-and-Classification/Getting-a-Job and review the hiring process overview.


The selection procedure will consist of the following examination:

An Application & Supplemental Questionnaire Appraisal Examination (weight 100%) will be conducted to evaluate each applicant's application and supplemental questionnaire for satisfaction of minimum qualifications (pass/not pass); and for educational coursework, training, experience, knowledge, and abilities which relate to this position. Each applicant will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
  • Relevance of work history, related experience, and achieved level of education and/or training as described in the application and responses to the supplemental questions.
Candidates demonstrating possession of the minimum qualifications will be placed on an employment list in order of most qualified to least qualified based on the achieved score received in the Application & Supplemental Questionnaire Appraisal Examination.  Scores may be adjusted based on such factors as number of candidates, anticipated vacancies, past practice, and natural breaks in the scores achieved by this group of candidates.

It is the policy of law enforcement departments (Sheriff, District Attorney, and Probation), in the County of Sonoma, that job candidates complete a thorough background investigations process prior to employment. This policy is imperative in order to keep the department's employees and the public safe, and to maintain high standards in the law enforcement community.  Candidates referred to departments for a selection interview are typically required to sign authorizations and release forms enabling such an investigation. Failure to sign prescribed forms will result in the candidate not being considered further for that vacancy.  Reference information will not be made available to applicants.

A background investigation will include a thorough assessment of a candidate's personal, employment, educational, criminal and credit history.  The investigations may include, but is not necessarily limited to: use of prescription and/or other drugs, reports from former employers, friends, family members, educational institutions, law enforcement agencies, credit reports, court reports, public records search, and/or other relevant sources.  Candidates must be honest and forthcoming about information that may arise during the background process.  Deception during any portion of this process is grounds for disqualification, even after employment.  Depending on the assignment, candidates may be required to take a pre-employment medical examination and may be required to take a polygraph examination.  All candidates for law enforcement positions are required to undergo drug testing as part of the selection process.  Additionally, candidates may be required to take a pre-employment psychological and physical abilities examination. The results of these examinations and the background investigations shall be confidential and shall not be available to the candidate for review.  Failure to pass the background investigation will eliminate a candidate from the employment process.  You may also review the Job Classification Screening schedule to determine the requirements for this.   

Any issues that arise during the investigation process will be assessed and judgement and discretion will be used to determine the employability of the candidates.  Where there is evidence of a candidates past use of controlled substances, many factors shall be used to determine the employability of the individual such as a pattern of use, kind of drug used, circumstances of the start of drug use, treatment, behavior and attitude since discontinuance, etc. Please note that a history of using controlled substances does not result in automatic disqualification from the selection process.  Prior to disqualifying any candidate whose profile falls within the provision of the policy, the candidate shall be given the opportunity to present any and all evidence of mitigating facts which the candidate feels should be considered by the hiring authority.


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