Trial Court Staff Attorney

Position Title: 
Trial Court Staff Attorney
Job Location: 
Santa Rosa County
Salary Range: 

**Please note - starting salary will be 10% less for candidates who are not members of the Florida Bar. 

Membership in the Florida Bar is required within one year of hire.


The staff attorneys/law clerks assist the judges of the First Judicial Circuit in researching legal issues and preparing orders.  Primarily the orders are written in response to postconviction motions filed by pro se prisoners (e.g., motions filed under Fla.R.Crim.P. 3.850 and 3.800, petitions for writs of habeas corpus and mandamus, etc.)  Staff attorneys are also responsible for responding to capital/death penalty postconviction motions filed under Fla.R.Crim.P. 3.851.   Although many motions may be resolved without hearing, the staff attorneys are responsible for determining which motions require hearings, and for attending the hearing, listening to the evidence, and preparing an appropriate order based on the evidence in consultation with the Court.  Less frequently, the staff attorneys may also assist the trial court judges in preparing for trial by researching and rendering opinions on pre-trial issues, such as witness qualification, motions for disqualification of the court, suppression of evidence, etc.  The staff attorneys may prepare legal memoranda outlining the information to be presented to the Court, or may also present requested information to the Court personally and more informally.  On occasion, the staff attorneys are called upon to assist in civil or family matters involving complex legal issues, and to prepare orders for the circuit judges relating to appeals from county court.  The staff attorneys also assist court administration and the circuit court judges with time-sensitive special projects which require legal research, writing, or a legal knowledge base (e.g., preparation of administrative orders, contract revision and review, etc.)   The staff attorneys assist the Court with all aspects of death penalty cases, including pretrial motions and trial proceedings, as well as postconviction motions.  In addition, the staff attorneys are responsible for the timely filing of quarterly postconviction reports to the Florida Supreme Court for death penalty cases.

Essential Duties

1) Timely manage all cases referred for research and/or action on behalf of the judiciary and/or court administration.

2) Research and write proposed orders for circuit judges in response to postconviction motions within required timelines.                                                      

3) Research and write proposed orders regarding trial level motions and county appeals within required timelines.

4) Research and respond on a time-sensitive basis to special needs and requests of the circuit judges and court administration regarding legal issues.

5) Be available to attend postconviction evidentiary hearings and prepare proposed orders based on the evidence offered at hearing within required timelines.

6) Answer telephones and respond timely to inquiries from the judiciary, clerks of court and court administration.  

7) Prepare accurate and appropriate timely quarterly postconviction reports to the Florida Supreme Court for death penalty cases.

8) Prepare monthly reports submitted to the supervisor and divisionally to the judiciary reflecting the aging of files under review and pending action.

Other related duties as required by Supervisor                                                                                  


Members of the Judiciary

Judicial Assistants


Clerk(s) of Court


The staff attorney works independently, with no supervisory responsibilities. Occasionally, one of the staff attorneys may be called upon to offer informal supervision to summer legal interns.  All staff attorneys report to the Supervising Senior Staff Attorney, who reports to the Trial Court Administrator.


Juris Doctorate degree from an accredited law school.

Membership in the Florida Bar is required within one year of hire.

EQUIPMENT: Computer, with accompanying word processing and legal research software.   Various legal publications.