The Public Safety Division of the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia is seeking a trial attorney for the Mental Health Section. The Mental Health Section represents the Department of Behavioral Health prosecuting involuntary civil commitment cases and guardianship cases.
If you are looking for an opportunity to hone your litigation skills in a fast-paced litigation practice where you prepare and present expert witnesses in contested hearings, the Mental Health Section is ideal. Attorneys in the Mental Health Section litigate probable cause, revocation, status, and guardianship hearings, bench and jury trials before the Family Court of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, and hearings before the Commission on Mental Health (comprised of a judge and two clinicians). Attorneys also draft pleadings and provide legal advice and trainings for its client agency, the Department of Behavioral Health. Attorneys enjoy a collegial and collaborative work environment, with an eager and supportive administrative team.
Attorneys in the Mental Health Section perform the following duties:
- Litigate probable cause, emergency, revocation, status, motion, and guardianship hearings, bench and occasional jury trials before the Family Court of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, and hearings before the Commission on Mental Health (comprised of a judge and two clinicians). As probable cause hearings are scheduled on less than 24 hours notice, an ideal candidate will be adept at expeditiously developing a case theory, thoroughly reviewing, and evaluating medical documents, and efficiently identifying and interviewing expert and fact witnesses.
- Review certificates and affidavits prepared by mental health clinicians to ensure legal sufficiency. Proofread, and occasionally draft, petitions to obtain court-ordered inpatient or outpatient mental health treatment.
- Conduct legal research, and draft written oppositions to motions prepared by opposing counsel. Occasionally draft motions for reconsideration, motions for review, and pre-hearing motions on evidentiary and discovery issues.
- Provide legal advice for OAG’s client agency, the Department of Behavioral Health.
- Conduct trainings on civil commitment and guardianship law.
- Perform other related duties as assigned.
Qualifications: The ideal candidate should have excellent litigation, legal research and writing skills, be a team player, committed to public interest work and helping individuals with mental illnesses, and possess the ability to produce quality work in a fast-paced environment as well as the ability to present the government’s case at probable cause hearings on short notice. Lawyers with 1-3 years of post-graduate experience are encouraged to apply.