Exam Bulletin - Attorney III

State of California

Exam Code: EX-1580

Examination Plans Included:


Final Filing Date: Applications are accepted on a continuous basis.

Classification Details

ATTORNEY III: $10,536.00 - $13,526.00 per Month

View the ATTORNEY III classification specification.

Application Instructions

This is not a timed examination. If you request a Reasonable Accommodation, your account will be locked and you will not be able to proceed with the examination until the request is processed.

Applications are accepted on a continuous basis.

Who Should Apply:

The information below will help you determine which classification(s) is(are) appropriate for you. Applicants must meet the Minimum Qualifications as stated on this bulletin to compete in this examination.

Open and Open, Non-Promotional Examination(s):


For all Classifications, once you have participated in any of the following examinations, you may not recompete for 6 months:

Exam Code(s):


For ATTORNEY III, once you have participated in any of the following examinations, you may not recompete for 6 months:

Exam Code(s):

  • EX-01580

How To Apply:

Submit an Examination/Employment Application (STD 678) to apply for this examination.

Electronic applications can be submitted through your account at www.CalCareers.ca.gov.

Special Testing Arrangements:

If you require assistance or alternative testing arrangements due to a disability, indicate on your application that you need reasonable accommodation. You will be contacted by a representative of the testing department to make the necessary arrangements. If you have not been contacted by the time you receive notification of testing, please contact the testing department listed in the Contact section of this bulletin.

If you are unable to submit your application or complete the test due to a disability, please contact the testing department listed in the Contact section of this bulletin.

Minimum Qualifications

All applicants must meet the education and/or experience requirements as stated on this exam bulletin to be accepted to the examination.

00105795 - ATTORNEY III

All Attorney Levels

All classifications require active membership in The California State Bar. (Applicants who are not members of The California State Bar but who are eligible to take the California State Bar examination or are in their final year of law school will be admitted to the examination but will not be considered eligible for appointment until they are admitted to The State Bar.)

Applicants who are six months from meeting the required legal experience will be admitted to the examination, but must meet the total required years of experience prior to appointment.

Attorney III

Five years of legal experience in the practice of law*.

* “Legal experience in the practice of law" is defined as: (1) only that legal experience acquired after admission to any State Bar, or (2) experience as a judicial clerk for a federal court, California's state courts, or any other state's courts, or (3) legal experience acquired while practicing under a provisional license to practice law issued by the State Bar of California's Provisional Licensure Program, to constitute experience in the practice of law. For an individual's judicial clerkship to qualify as “legal experience in the practice of law," the experience must have been gained after receipt of a Juris Doctor or equivalent degree.

Position Description

00105795 - ATTORNEY III

Under general direction, at the full journey level, incumbents serve as experienced attorneys performing complex and sensitive legal work with broad discretion and minimal supervision. In addition to work performed at the Attorney level, the Attorney III may independently conduct complex and difficult hearings and trials. This level is distinguished from the Attorney classification by the difficulty of assignments, level of independence, and expertise required.

For information regarding position location(s), please refer to the Eligible List Information section.

Examination Information

We recommend using Chrome, Firefox, or Edge for optimal performance when accessing the examination.

This examination consists of the following component(s):

Component OrderComponent TypeComponent DuePercentage of Final Score
1CalHR Online ExamN/A100%

A final score of 70% must be attained to be placed on the eligible list.

In addition to evaluating the applicant's relative knowledge, skill and ability as demonstrated by quality and breadth of education/experience, emphasis in each test component will be on measuring competitively, relative to job demands, each applicant's:

Knowledge of:
  1. Legal research methods and performing research
  2. Legal principles and their application
  3. Scope and character of California statutory law and of the provisions of the California Constitution
  4. Federal and state statutes and rules
  5. Rules of professional conduct
  6. Principles of administrative trial and hearing procedure and rules of evidence
  7. Court procedures
  8. Legal terms and forms in common use
  9. Statutory and case law literature and authorities
  10. Professional and ethical rules as they relate to the practice of law
  11. Appellate proceedings
  12. Rules of evidence and conduct of proceedings in trial and appellate courts of California and the United States and before administrative bodies
  13. Provisions of laws and Government Code sections administered or enforced
Ability to:
  1. Research
  2. Analyze, appraise, and apply legal principles, facts, and precedents to legal problems
  3. Analyze situations accurately and adopt an effective course of action
  4. Prepare and present statements of fact, law, and argument clearly and logically in written and oral form
  5. Prepare correspondence and memoranda involving the explanation of legal matters
  6. Draft opinions, pleadings, rulings, regulations, and legislation
  7. Negotiate effectively and conduct crucial litigation
  8. Work cooperatively with a variety of individuals, organizations and maintain the confidence and respect of others
  9. Independently present difficult and complex cases before Administrative Law Judges
  10. Prepare, present, and handle legal cases
  11. Direct the work of clerical and professional assistants
  12. Edit written documents written by oneself, as well as those produced by others, for accuracy and effectiveness
  13. Reason logically
  14. Exercise good judgment
  15. Effectively plan and engage in discovery, including depositions and interrogatories, and to compel production or attendance of/at same
  16. Independently prepare and present difficult and complex cases before boards, commissions, trial courts, and appellate courts
  17. Independently present difficult and complex cases before administrative bodies

Eligible List Information

A Servicewide Open eligible list for the ATTORNEY III Classification will be established for:

  • State of California

The names of successful competitors will be merged onto the eligible list(s) in order of final score regardless of test date. Eligibility expires 12 months after it is established. Applicants must then retake the examination to reestablish eligibility.

Resulting Eligibility List(s) will be used to fill vacancies throughout the State of California.

Veterans' Preference will be granted for this examination. Veterans' Preference is an assistance program for veterans, veteran widows and widowers, and spouses of 100% disabled veterans who seek employment with the state. Veterans' Preference is also extended to currently serving military members nearing their retirement or separation date.

You are not eligible for Veteran's Preference if you are:

  • A veteran who has been dishonorably discharged or released.
  • A veteran, widow or widower of a veteran, or spouse of a 100 percent disabled veteran who currently has permanent civil service status. (Permanent civil service status is the status of an employee who is lawfully retained in his/her position after completion of the applicable probationary period. This does not include limited term).

Veterans' Preference is codified in Government Code Sections 18973 – 18979.

Veteran status is verified by the California Department of Human Resources (CalHR). Directions to apply for Veterans' Preference are on the Veterans' Preference Application (Std. Form 1093), which is available at www.CalCareers.ca.gov, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Career Credits are not granted for examination(s) administered on an Open basis or a Promotional basis.

Attorney III Training and Experience Examination Preview

Rate your experience performing specific job-related tasks.

IMPORTANT NOTE: In responding to each statement, you may refer to your WORK EXPERIENCE (public or private) whether paid or volunteer (e.g., law clerk, internships, etc.), FORMAL EDUCATION, FORMAL TRAINING COURSES, ADVOCACY TRAINING (e.g., Moot Court, Mock Trial, Jessup Court, Trial Advocacy).

Written Communication


1. Preparing, reviewing, editing and/or approving a wide range of documents (e.g., discovery, pleadings, motions, briefs, opinions, memoranda, contracts, regulations, legislation) with proper content, legal and factual analysis, tone, organization, grammar, format, and terminology.
2. Preparing, editing, reviewing and/or approving policy, informational documents or matters with proper content, legal and factual analysis, tone, organization, grammar, format, and terminology to provide information/recommendations to appropriate decision makers.
3. Preparing, editing, reviewing and/or approving correspondence (including email) or matters on behalf of various individuals (e.g., executive management, clients).

Oral Communication


4. Communicating verbally with support staff (e.g., legal secretaries, office assistants, etc.) taking into consideration workload, pending deadlines and other issues when assigning appropriate types and levels of tasks and to follow up to ensure the completion of assigned tasks.
5. Communicating verbally with less experienced attorneys or paraprofessionals regarding legal issues, policies, individual cases, and other matters to complete work.
6. Communicating verbally with colleagues and peers regarding complex legal issues, policies, individual cases, or other matters to complete work.
7. Communicating verbally with members of the public (e.g., community organizations, customer base, other stakeholders) to provide and receive information and concerns regarding cases, issues, and/or legal principles in plain language.

Case/Assignment Communication


8. Communicating verbally with immediate supervisor or senior managers to provide updates or recommendations and/or seek guidance and feedback on substantive and/or procedural issues and strategies.
9. Interviewing clients or witnesses to gather facts and/or prepare them for appearance before various forums (e.g., governmental, judicial or private sector entities).
10. Communicating verbally with external stakeholders (e.g., outside counsel, legislative staff, other agencies’ personnel, customers) regarding substantive and/or procedural issues arising from the case or matter to advance and/or resolve the case or matter.
11. Making oral presentations and/or arguments to a decision-maker, judicial, governmental, or private sector entity regarding the facts or legal issues to achieve a desired result.
12. Conferring with clients and/or colleagues to make legal, strategic, tactical, and policy recommendations.
13. Representing or advising public or private clients in transactions, and/or administrative, legislative, or judicial proceedings.
14. Negotiating legal issues (e.g., settlements, admissibility of evidence, contracts, legislation) on behalf of the client and/or agency.

Research and Analysis


15. Researching complex legal and/or factual matters using both book-based and computer-based resources.
16. Researching complex issues to determine the relevant facts and applicable legal authority in a particular case or matter.
17. Locating and researching department, agency, and/or private client legal opinions, published annotations, policies, decisions, and/or recommendations, to review for consistency and relevancy.
18. Reviewing documents and/or communications (e.g., pleadings, internal memos, agency reports, constituent/client letters, email) to identify legal issues and risks and recommend the appropriate course of action based on analysis of the facts and applicable law.
19. Evaluating evidence or facts to identify legal research, factual investigations, or other inquiries relevant to supporting or opposing a legal theory or claim.
20. Assimilating useful information from a large volume of documents to extract and prioritize information relevant to a case or other matter.

Workload Management and Decision Making


21. Developing strategies to resolve the case and/or matter in a manner most favorable to the client and/or agency.
22. Prioritizing tasks and/or developing timelines for a case or legal matter.
23. Managing and meeting timelines for cases or matters.
24. Identifying and utilizing experts, investigators, paralegals, and/or other individuals to ensure issues raised by cases/matters are adequately explored and addressed.
25. Identifying applicable rules, laws, and policies of an agency or private client in determining how to proceed with the case, matter, or policy.
26. Determining the strengths and weaknesses of the case, matter, or policy based on applicable rules and laws.
27. Handling unexpected developments (e.g., short deadlines, administrative obstacles, limited resources, external events) that impact current work assignments.
28. Using computers and other technology effectively (e.g., to create documents, keep records, communicate with others).
29. Completing multiple projects within appropriate time frames while maintaining a high level of work performance.
30. Working independently while producing high quality work products and meeting deadlines.

Interpersonal Attributes


31. Applying professional ethical rules as they relate to the practice of law.
32. Communicating with and treating others with professionalism, respect, courtesy, and tact.
33. Working collaboratively with others in a team environment.
34. Maintaining confidentiality and exercising discretion in the dissemination of information.

Testing Departments

  • State of California

Contact Information

Questions regarding this examination should be directed to:

State of California
CalCareer Service Center
1810 16th Street
Sacramento, CA 95811
Phone: (866) 844-8671

California Relay Service: 1-800-735-2929 (TTY), 1-800-735-2922 (Voice). TTY is a Telecommunications Device for the Deaf, and is reachable only from phones equipped with a TTY Device.

Equal Opportunity Employer

The State of California is an equal opportunity employer to all, regardless of age, ancestry, color, disability (mental and physical), exercising the right to family care and medical leave, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, medical condition, military or veteran status, national origin, political affiliation, race, religious creed, sex (includes pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and related medical conditions), and sexual orientation.

Drug Free Statement

It is an objective of the State of California to achieve a drug-free State work place. Any applicant for State employment will be expected to behave in accordance with this objective, because the use of illegal drugs is inconsistent with the law of the State, the rules governing civil service, and the special trust placed in public servants.

General Information

Examination and/or Employment Application (STD 678) forms are available at the California Department of Human Resources, local offices of the Employment Development Department, and through your CalCareer Account (www.CalCareers.ca.gov).

If you meet the requirements stated on this examination bulletin, you may take this examination, which is competitive. Possession of the entrance requirements does not assure a place on the eligible list. Your performance in the examination described in this bulletin will be rated against a predetermined job-related rating, and all applicants who pass will be ranked according to their scores.

State of California reserves the right to revise the examination plan to better meet the needs of the service, if the circumstances under which this examination was planned change. Such revision will be in accordance with civil service laws and rules and all applicants will be notified.

General Qualifications: Applicants must possess essential personal qualifications including integrity, initiative, dependability, good judgment, the ability to work cooperatively with others, and a state of health consistent with the ability to perform the assigned duties of the class. A medical examination may be required. In open examinations, investigation may be made of employment records and personal history and fingerprinting may be required.

Eligible Lists: Eligible lists established by competitive examination, regardless of date, must be used in the following order: 1) sub-divisional promotional, 2) departmental promotional, 3) multi-departmental promotional, 4) service-wide promotional, 5) departmental open, 6) open. When there are two lists of the same kind, the older must be used first. Eligible lists will expire in one to four years unless otherwise stated on the bulletin.

High School Equivalence: Equivalence to completion of the 12th grade may be demonstrated in any one of the following ways: 1) passing the General Education Development (GED) Test; 2) completion of 12 semester units of college-level work; 3) certification from the State Department of Education, a local school board, or high school authorities that the competitor is considered to have education equivalent to graduation from high school; or 4) for clerical and accounting classes, substitution of business college work in place of high school on a year-for-year basis.

Accepted applicants must provide proof of identification at each in-person test session. Acceptable identification consists of a photo identification card or two forms of signed identification.

Application Methods:
Electronic (Your CalCareer Account)