Assistant District CounselValley WaterAnnual Salary $239,324.80 - $303,888.00 DOE/DOQ Overview: Valley Water's Office of District Counsel (ODC) is seeking a mid-level attorney to advise on environmental regulatory and permitting matters. The Assistant District Counsel will function as one of four assistant counsels reporting to a Senior Assistant District Counsel and is designated as unclassified/at-will. ODC advises on a significant number of Valley Water capital, operations, and maintenance projects. In particular, Valley Water's capital improvement program contains several major public works projects in various stages of development. The Assistant District Counsel will be expected to jump in, review environmental documents and advise staff on projects, and may be called on to interface with regulators in short order. The ideal candidate has a solid background in environmental law, especially permitting and compliance. Experience with the water industry and water law, public works contracting, design and engineering contracts, and federal and state funding obligations would all be a plus. The selected candidate must be or agree to become a signatory to the Santa Clara County Bar Association's Code of Professionalism (viewable here: https://www.sccba.com/code-of-professional-conduct/)
The demands and expectations of this role will require a commitment to public service, a passion for the mission of the agency, and a tremendous work ethic. An energetic, proactive, self-initiating, multitasker will be a perfect fit for this assignment. A sense of humor is essential.
About Valley Water: Santa Clara Valley Water District (Valley Water) is a public agency with a current operating and capital budget of $838 million, an $8.021 billion 2022-26 Five-Year Capital Improvement Program, and a staff of over 880 employees. Valley Water is governed by a seven-member Board of Directors, each elected by their district to serve overlapping four-year terms.
Valley Water manages 10 dams and surface water reservoirs, three water treatment plants, an advanced recycled water purification center, a state-of-the-art water quality laboratory, nearly 400 acres of groundwater recharge ponds, and more than 275 miles of streams to serve nearly two million people in Santa Clara County, which stretches 1,300 square miles and encompasses 15 cities and unincorporated areas.
Valley Water's mission is to provide Silicon Valley safe, clean water for a healthy life, environment, and economy. With headquarters in San Jose, California, Valley Water delivers water supply; enhances streams and watersheds through creek restoration and habitat protection; provides flood protection for homes, schools, businesses, and roadways; and partners with other agencies to provide trails and open space for the community.
Key Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
Providing timely, accurate, and politically neutral advice to the Board of Directors, executives, and front-line staff with respect to environmental regulatory and permitting matters.
Preparing, drafting, and reviewing a variety of legal documents including environmental review documents, permit applications, contracts, resolutions, ordinances, and pleadings.
Represent Valley Water before external parties such as regulators, legislators, partners, adverse parties, and in dispute resolution fora.
Review new and proposed State and Federal legislation and administrative regulations affecting District interests and analyze them for impact on Valley Water.
Ideal Candidate's Background Includes: Applicants whose experience and background best match the ideal experience, knowledge, skills, abilities, and education are considered ideal candidates for the position. To determine the top candidates, each applicant will be assessed based on the ideal candidate criteria as listed below.
Two (2) years of recent experience (five or more years is ideal) in the active practice of law in the State of California focusing on environmental law.
Experience with the California Environmental Quality Act, the National Environmental Policy Act and other environmental laws/regulations, Porter-Cologne, and federal and state Endangered Species Acts is ideal.
Litigation experience is also valuable.
Prior public agency experience is helpful but not required.
Experience with federal, state, and local agencies and their related regulatory environments is also preferred.
Ideal Skills and Abilities:
A can-do, solutions-oriented mindset is a must, as is a sense of humor.
Maintains effective relationships with federal, state, regional, municipal, and local agencies, and with Silicon Valley's major stakeholders.
Comfortable operating in complex legal and regulatory environments,
Establish and maintain effective working relationships with colleagues and adversaries.
Analyze and apply principles of law.
Present statements of law and fact clearly, succinctly, and logically, both orally and in writing.
Prepare a variety of reports, correspondence, and other written materials.
Collect, interpret, and evaluate varied information and data and provide recommendations.
Knowledge of the water industry, water law, public works contracting, design and engineering contracts, and federal and state funding obligations would all be a plus.
Principles and procedures of law, particularly as related to public agency activities.
Basic principles of law related to flood control and water resources management.
Research resources and techniques.
Trial procedure and rules of evidence.
Judicial procedures and the rules of evidence.
Pleadings and practices and effective techniques in the presentation of court cases.
Principles of governmental organization.
Principles and practices of supervision, training, and performance evaluation.
State and federal laws and constitutional provisions affecting District operations.
Ethical responsibilities of California attorneys.
Ideal Training and Education:
Graduation from an accredited four-year college or university, and graduation from an accredited law school.
SELECTION PROCESS/TO APPLY: Please submit your application along with a cover letter and resume by the application deadline. In your cover letter, please provide your CA State Bar Association number and address the following three prompts:
Who is the client of an attorney for a public entity? How would that influence the performance of your duties as the Assistant District Counsel for the Santa Clara Valley Water District?
Please describe the top three achievements of your professional legal career and why you are proud of them.
Tell us about your experience in the following areas:
Navigating a multilayered regulatory environment
Following the closing date, resumes, and cover letters will be screened according to the qualifications outlined above. The most qualified candidates will be invited to Zoom panel interviews with a Valley Water-appointed interview panel. A select group of candidates will be asked to provide references once it is anticipated that they may be recommended as finalists. References will be contacted only following candidate approval. Finalist interviews will be held with a Valley Water executive interview panel.
BENEFITS: RETIREMENT/PENSION: 2% at age 60 or 2% at age 62 based on provisions of the California Public Employees' Pension Reform Act of 2013 (PEPRA). Valley Water is exploring with CalPERS the ability to provide an existing classic formula of 2.5% at age 55 to defined classic employees.
RETIREMENT HEALTH BENEFITS: Up to a maximum of 10 years prior public service reciprocity credit towards obtaining retirement health benefits. Employee must work a minimum of 5 years with Valley Water and retire from Valley Water.
HEALTH INSURANCE: Medical, Dental, Vision Care, and EAP benefits are provided. Employees pay 15% towards the monthly premium cost for medical coverage. Dental, Vision Care, and EAP coverage is provided with no monthly premium cost to the employee; Medical, Dental, Vision Care, and EAP benefits are provided to all regular employees and their eligible dependents.
OTHER INSURANCE: Group Life and Disability Insurance.
DEFERRED COMP: Available to employees as an option with up to $8,000 in annual matching contributions.
FLEXIBLE SPENDING ACCOUNT: Health Care and Dependent Care Spending.
LEAVES: 3 days of bereavement leave; 24 hours of executive leave and 32 hours of prorated personal leave; up to 96 hours per year sick leave.
HOLIDAYS: 14 designated days per calendar year.
Required License or Certificate Possession of, or ability to obtain, an appropriate, valid California driver's license. Individuals who do not meet the driver's license requirement due to a disability will be considered for a reasonable accommodation on a case-by-case basis.
Must be a current member, in good standing, of the California State Bar Association.
COVID-19 vaccination requirement: *To protect our most valuable assets, our employees, as well as the communities we serve, Valley Water requires all new hired Valley Water personnel to be fully vaccinated (for COVID-19) or to be formally excused from the requirement through the **reasonable accommodation process (for details, see bottom of job posting)
Valley Water Telework Program: Eligibility for telework will depend on the type of work performed, operational needs, and the ability for the employee to perform the essential functions of their job duties while teleworking. Employment with Valley Water requires employees to work within 150 miles of their primary physical work location located in San Jose, California by their start date.