California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers in State Employment

California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers in State Employment

Are you interested in becoming a State Attorney or Administrative Law Judge?

If you are a new or experienced attorney there are many openings with the State of California. As you are probably aware, accepting work with a public entity can be difficult therefore it is important that you have all information available when you are considering an offer from a department.

Many potential employees are not aware that they have a limited ability to negotiate their salary with the state when they are first hired so that they are not brought in at the minimum of the pay scale. This is called "Hired Above Minimum" and is authorized in Government Code Section 19836.

The 2 main factors that you need to be aware of in order to be hired above minimum are 1) how much you were making for the 12 months prior to accepting a position with state (documentation must be submitted) and 2) your experience.

The term used to determine where you should be placed based on your years of experience is called the "Alternate Range Criteria" or ARC. It is extremely important that you be placed appropriately based on your experience otherwise your opportunities for promotion could be held up in the future. You can determine the Alternate Range Criteria for the position you are considering by following these steps:

1. Go to
2. Click on the Salary Tab
3. Click on Pay Scales
4. Click on Salaries of Civil-Service Classifications-Alphabetic listing.
5. Find the Classification that you are considering accepting a position for under the heading "AR Crit"
6. Go back to the Pay Scales page
7. Click on Alternate Ranges
8. Click on the appropriate Range Criteria. For example if you are applying for an attorney I position the number is 217 so you would click on Ranges 200-299.
9. Either scroll down to the appropriate number or go to "Edit" and use the "Find" feature to locate the appropriate ARC
10. Review and print out the ARC to discuss with Legal management and Personnel regarding the range and salary
Note that not all classifications may have an ARC and that the ARCs are not consistent amongst the different but similar classifications.

Example: An attorney with 3 years of legal experience since being admitted to the Bar applies for a position at the State Compensation Insurance Fund. The attorney was working in the private sector and made $6,000 per month for the last 12 months. A review of the ARC shows that they could be placed in Range C. With documentation they can argue that they should be paid more than the minimum of Range C which is $5,638 and that they should be making $6,000 because of their extraordinary qualifications.

There is no guarantee that a department will hire an attorney above minimum but hopefully armed with this information and the documents authorizing departments to hire above minimum you will be able to begin your state employment on a positive note.

Please feel free to call the CASE office at 800-699-6533 if you have any questions about becoming a state employee.

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California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers in State Employment

1231 I Street  ·  Suite 300  ·  Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 800·699·6533  ·  Fax: 916·669·4199  ·  E-mail:
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