Application Process: We encourage you to apply as soon as possible because this posting may close without notice. Must apply at www.denvergov.org/jobs
The Denver City Attorney's Office (CAO) is searching for a Division Director for the Civil Litigation Section. The Civil Litigation Section represents the city, city officials, and city employees in a variety of lawsuits, including civil rights actions brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and torts. The section is also responsible for investigating and managing the majority of claims made against the city, excluding those claims involving Denver International Airport and the Department of Human Services.
The CAO is one of the largest public law offices in Colorado, with over 125 attorneys and approximately 115 staff members, including paralegals, victim advocates, and other support staff. The CAO serves as chief legal counsel to all city agencies, departments, offices, boards, commissions and authorities, including the Mayor, the Auditor, the Clerk and Recorder and City Council. The CAO provides a diverse and inclusive work environment in which every person has the opportunity to achieve the highest professional and personal development and is accorded the highest degree of dignity and respect.
The Division Director has three main roles: (1) Advising the City; (2) Engaging with Stakeholders; and (3) Directing and managing the Section.
Advising the City: The Division Director advises the City, its officials, and employees regarding all aspects of civil litigation and risk management. A critical part of this job is providing legal advice and training on policies, practices, and laws related to public safety, including matters that impact the Denver Sheriff's Department and the Denver Police Department. The Division Director helps draft city ordinances and policies relating to risk management, public safety and other areas of concern to the section and collaborates with other CAO section directors to ensure that legal advice provided by the office is consistent. The Division Director is responsible for overseeing the litigation and claims handled by the section and, as such, is expected to be an expert on all aspects of federal constitutional and civil rights law under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Colorado Governmental Immunity Act. At the direction of the City Attorney, Division Director may be primarily responsible for handling cases that involve sensitive and/or complex legal issues.
Engaging with Stakeholders: The Division Director holds a key strategic position in the organization. As a result, he or she may need to engage with city, neighborhood and community leaders to develop creative solutions to emerging issues at the grassroots level. Many times, this task requires difficult discussions in order to develop creative solutions addressing the needs of both the city and its residents. The Division Director must be able to engage and collaborate with a diverse and vocal community. To accomplish this goal, the Division Director must be able to effectively advise city leaders on community engagement strategies and attend community meetings and forums on behalf of the city, not only to receive input, but also to affirmatively articulate positions on issues important to the city and the CAO.
Directing and managing the Section: The Division Director oversees a team of approximately 20 attorneys and staff, including a management team consisting of an Assistant Director and a Legal Administrator. The Assistant Director and Legal Administrator directly report to the Division Director. The Division Director must ensure that all section attorneys adhere to the highest professional and ethical standards. Additionally, the Division Director must be skilled in the following areas:
Leadership and Vision: The Division Director must be able to lead by example and through influence, develop high-performing teams, foster a culture of diversity and inclusion and collaborate with the City Attorney, Deputy City Attorney and CAO senior management team on all matters impacting the CAO and the City.
Talent Management: The Division Director must be able to establish professional, high-quality relationships with the management team he or she supervises, as well as team members, provide regular and meaningful feedback to the supervisors under his or her direct supervision, and identify and proactively resolve conflict within the section. The Division Director shall provide training and professional development opportunities for the Assistant Director, Legal Administrator and all team members. The Division Director must be able to effectively partner with the rest of the Section’s management team and/or other Division Directors to work through any challenges and arrive at a positive outcome for the Section’s employees and the CAO overall.
Operational and Administrative Competence: The Division Director oversees the Section’s business operations, including, hiring, discipline, budgeting and annual evaluations. The Division Director helps to develop and execute the vision and direction of the Section.
Investment in Organization: The Division Director actively participates in and promotes organizational and Mayoral priorities such as Peak Performance, employee engagement initiatives, the CAO's action plans and other department policies and initiatives. The Division Director must be the champion for ongoing process improvements in the Section.
Advises the City Attorney, Deputy City Attorney, department heads and other mayoral appointees and elected officials regarding all aspects of civil litigation and risk management.
Develops internal procedures and standards for the Section and ensures compliance with best practices.
Demonstrates the ability to undertake specific and important litigation tasks and to provide advice on legal issues and litigation strategy, as needed.
Develops, implements and maintains the section's policies and procedures, goals and objectives, including promoting the value of a diverse workforce and inclusive working environment.
Provides positive leadership and encourages employee engagement by communicating progress toward goals, fosters accountability and teamwork, models client service, and empowers employees in the performance of their work.
Demonstrates a willingness to listen and learn from staff, peers and leadership.
Oversees personnel actions, including recommendations for hiring, training, performance evaluations, discipline, and other personnel actions to ensure productivity and compliance with set standards.
Researches financial impacts of proposed projects, programs and actions and provides justification to the Deputy City Attorney for the development and implementation of the Section’s budget; develops and oversees budgetary expenditures and allocation of resources for the Section.
Oversees work assigned by the Section to outside counsel to ensure quality outcomes and fiscal responsibility.
Develops and maintains effective external and internal stakeholder relationships, including those with the courts.
Advises city leaders on community engagement strategies and attends community meetings and forums on behalf of the city to receive input, as well as to affirmatively articulate positions on issues important to the city and the CAO.
Oversees and ensures compliance with Colorado Open Records Act requests assigned to the Section.
Performs other administrative and legal duties as directed by the City Attorney or Deputy City Attorney.
We are looking for a visionary leader who is passionate about civil litigation, exhibits good common sense, community engagement skills and sound judgment (particularly in time sensitive, critical situations), and demonstrates an ability to inclusively lead, manage and motivate an experienced and dynamic legal team. The Division Director should have extensive experience working with people at all levels of an organization, someone who focuses on continuous improvement and the ability to develop, manage, and maintain plans, programs, and people. The successful candidate must be able to work on and manage complex and varied issues, be on call 24/7, quickly articulate complex issues in a simple manner in a public forum to a diverse audience, and demonstrate that he or she has a proven track record of providing strategic advice and managing complex sensitive issues. Competitive candidates should also have significant, wide-ranging, litigation and trial experience and expertise, including:
Excellent communication skills.
First or second chair responsibility in a minimum of three jury trials in the areas in which the Civil Litigation Section practices, significant appellate argument experience, and experience managing large litigation teams.
The ability to work effectively and collaboratively as part of a senior management team responsible for Civil Litigation matters and risk management.
Significant experience negotiating settlements, including participating in mediation proceedings.
Extensive knowledge of eDiscovery rules and processes, including use of eDiscovery tools related to early case assessment, collection and review.
Strong legal editing, writing and analytical skills.
A history of organizational and management skills that will assist in the development and implementation of procedures and guidelines to facilitate the effective oversight of cases and claims.
Significant experience with coaching, training, and mentoring of legal staff.
At least 10 years of increasingly responsible professional experience in civil litigation, including at least 8 years supervising complex civil litigation in both state and federal court.
We realize your time is valuable so please do not apply if you do not have at least the following minimum qualifications:
Education: Doctor of Jurisprudence Degree
Experience: Two (2) years of experience supervising attorneys which must have included responsibility for operation and staff functions.
Licensure & Certification: Possession of a license to practice law in Colorado from the Colorado Supreme Court at the time of application or possession of license from U.S. states that have a reciprocity agreement with the state of Colorado, excluding the following states: California, Delaware, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, Nevada, Rhode Island, and South Carolina. The preceding list of non-reciprocal admission jurisdictions is intended to be used only as a guide, as rules and regulations of every jurisdiction are subject to change at any time. Positions with the Denver City Attorney's Office are dependent upon the rules and regulations in place at the time of application and subsequent hiring. Licenses and certifications must be kept current as a condition of employment
Equivalency: No substitution of experience for education is permitted.
To be considered for this position, you must include the following on your job application (upload the multiple attachment(s) to the Resume/CV section on the My Experience tab):
Internal Number: R0022643
About Denver City Attorney's Office
The City Attorney’s Office serves as the legal adviser to the Mayor, City Council, City Auditor, City Clerk and Recorder and all City departments and agencies; represents and defends the City in legal matters; handles all suits initiated on behalf of the City and County of Denver and any of its departments and agencies; prosecutes violations of City ordinances; and provides counsel to elected officials and client agencies on charter interpretation and reform.