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Legal Document Specialist

Salary: N/A

Definition: Under general supervision, this class series performs the full range of technical and support activities related to the functions of recording and issuance of official documents; performs the full range of technical and support activities related to reassessment of real and personal property for tax purposes and the verification of assessment data.

Classes in this series perform specialized work involving a wide range of knowledge in federal, state, city, and county codes and ordinances, terminology and procedures specific to the County Clerk-Recorder-Assessor's office.

Distinguishing Characteristics: Legal Document Specialist is a flexibly staffed legal technician series allocated only to the Office of the Clerk-Recorder-Assessor. It is distinguished from the Clerk and Clerk Typist series by duties that require an increasing knowledge of legal documents and special aspects of law related to Clerk-Recorder and/or Assessor functions.

LEGAL DOCUMENT SPECIALIST I - This is the entry-level class in the document specialist series. Initially under close supervision, incumbents with professional office and customer service skills learn recording, assessment, and Santa Barbara County and departmental policies and procedures. Incumbents assist Document Specialist II and III levels with document processing, recording, or indexing work. Incumbents receive training in specific duties of the Clerk-Recorder and/or Assessor as stated below:

Recorder

Phone and counter reception; customer service; assisting public in locating and retrieving official documents through various indexing systems that include Cott, LMNRT, alphabetical, and chronological; mail distribution; maintaining official records dead letter files; provide customer copying service of official record documents from film, microfiche, and image; issuing marriage licenses, registering marriage certificates, and performing marriage ceremonies; imaging archival and retrieval; recording vital records; filing of domestic partnership statements, fictitious business name statements, and passports; cashier transactions and balancing individual cash drawers and receipts.

Assessor

Reading legal descriptions on deeds to match parcel number and owner; maintaining all assessment records by filing either chronologically or alphabetically and by ensuring that files are checked in and out; balancing cash drawers, sorting mail, answering phones, assisting the public at front counter; verifying and encoding property characteristics; identifying forms and implementing procedures for processing homeowner and other exemptions, index values, processing building permits, monitoring and maintaining storm damage, value reduction, and assessment appeals programs; business property statement processing.

Example of Duties:

1. Delivers friendly, superior and enthusiastic customer service by providing prompt and accurate service to the public on all inquiries, requests, and complaints; responds in writing to specific requests for information from the public; assists the Department in meeting customer service goals by identifying customer needs and making appropriate referrals to the supervisor.
2. Interprets State, Federal, County and City laws, codes, rules, ordinances, regulations and policies for public recordation, chain of title determination, exemptions and exclusions, tax penalty cancellations.
3. Receives documents from the public, title companies, attorneys, or through electronic transmission; determines whether they meet legal requirements and the quality of a document for photographic reproduction; determines the acceptability of the notarized portion of a document. Indexes documents for recording; enters document information into an automated records management system.
4. Determines real property transfers and whether they meet the requirements for reassessment; compiles the working file for use by County Appraisers or Auditor-Appraisers; enters appraisal data to produce tax rolls and appropriate billings, and notifies taxpayers in writing of changes as appropriate.
5. Collects, provides receipts, and accounts for large sums of transfer taxes and recording fees; balances accounts and reconciles cash drawers.
6. Maintains accurate records and files related to work performed.
7. Operates reproduction, micrographics and imaging equipment to produce copies of records, legal documents, and maps for archival storage and/or for distribution to the public.
8. Performs a variety of general office support work such as answering telephones, distributing and processing mail, inventory and order supplies, file management and retention.

Legal Document Specialist I -

Employment Standards: Education and Experience

1. Graduation from high school or possession of a G.E.D. certificate; and one year of responsible general clerical or office assistant experience that included significant public contact; or,
2. equivalent combination of training, education, and experience that would provide the required knowledge and abilities.

Additional Qualifications: A valid California Class C Driver's License may be required.

Knowledge of: general office terminology, practices, and procedures; business letter writing; alpha and chronological filing practices; basic arithmetic including decimals and percentages; cash handling practices; standard office computers and programs; effective customer service practices; proper phone etiquette.

Ability to: read and comprehend general office and employee manuals; communicate clearly and effectively in both oral and written form, using correct business English; follow written and oral instructions; identify detailed differences in the format and content of documents; maintain confidentiality and security of departmental records; maintain thorough and accurate indexing of documents; work within established formats and priorities; perform work in required sequences; interact and assist the public with tact and courtesy, and in a helpful manner; establish and maintain effective working relationships with staff, the legal community, and the public; learn to find and interpret pertinent laws, codes, ordinances, departmental policies, procedures, and guidelines; learn the department's organizational structure; understand the meaning and intent of a wide variety of legal documents; use sound judgment in following and applying appropriate laws, regulations, policies, and procedures.

LEGAL DOCUMENT SPECIALIST II - Under general supervision, this classification has a full understanding of how to interpret and apply various laws in all functions listed above in either the Clerk-Recorder or Assessor offices. They are distinguished from the Legal Document Specialist I by their ability to assist customers in any of the Recorder or Assessor functions listed above. They are distinguished from the Legal Document Specialist III by the latter classification's responsibility for examining and recording the most complex documents such as deeds and maps and/or performing moderately complex chain of title research. Incumbents at this level are expected to learn the more advanced document recording or chain of title research required to move to the LDS III level.

Examples of Duties: (In addition to those duties listed above)

1. Trains and advises less experienced Legal Document Specialists.
2. May conduct on-site visits of businesses and other locations to verify assessment data and correct tax rolls.

Employment Standards: Education and Experience

1. One year of experience performing the duties equivalent to Legal Document Specialist I in the County of Santa Barbara, or,
2. equivalent combination of training, education, and experience that would provide the required knowledge and abilities

Additional Qualifications: A valid California Class C Driver's License may be required.

Knowledge and Abilities: In addition to Legal Document Specialist I knowledge and abilities above:

Knowledge of: functions, policies, and procedures of either a County Clerk-Recorder or Assessor's office; records management in an Assessor and/or Recorder's office; recording methods, including electronic/computerized data entry, storage, retrieval, and document production techniques;

Depending on assignment:

RECORDER:

Knowledge of: code requirements and processes for the recording of legal documents such as passports, marriage licenses, birth and death certificates and fictitious business name statements; official records functions, and the indexing of a wide variety of documents.

ASSESSOR:

Knowledge of: codes, procedures, processes, and forms related to the assessment of real and personal property for tax purposes including exemptions and exclusions, roll corrections, business property statements, on-site inspections of personal property, legal descriptions; laws, codes, and regulations governing basic change of ownership, exemption and exclusion processing, and the indexing of a wide variety of documents.

FOR ALL ASSIGNMENTS:

Ability to: handle multiple tasks or assignments at one time; organize, prioritize and perform assigned duties under tight deadlines; assist in training co-workers on procedures and policies; take initiative to locate information necessary for the performance of job functions or to respond to customer inquiries; interpret and apply laws to specific situations; identify and resolve problems; learn laws, rules, regulations, and procedures related to recording of more complex legal documents such as deeds and/or chain of title research; interpret laws, rules, regulations, and procedures pertaining to the work of a County Clerk-Recorder-Assessor's office.

LEGAL DOCUMENT SPECIALIST III - Under general direction, this position is the technical specialist in this series. All positions at the LDS III level require a thorough knowledge of the recording and/or tax assessment process. This level is distinguished from the lower classifications by its responsibility for more complex work assignments and its ability to perform all functions including complex document and/or moderately complex chain of title research in the Clerk-Recorder and/or Assessor's office. Unlike the LDS I and II, incumbents at this level are expected to be able to perform work as stated below, depending upon their assignment:

RECORDER: examine and record all complex types of legal property transfer documents with emphasis on notary acknowledgments, computation of documentary transfer tax, monument survey tax, recording fees, concurrent filings including 1031 exchanges and maps, long-term leases, and contracts.

ASSESSOR: conduct moderately complex legal research to determine chain of title or change of ownership, including evaluating real property contracts of sale, revocable, irrevocable, credit and Q-TIP trusts, life-estate agreements, decrees of final distribution, wills, and long- and short-term leases and their assignments.

Examples of duties: (In addition to those duties listed above)

1. Interprets and applies various laws in all functions of the Clerk-Recorder and/or Assessor's office; acts as a resource for resolving complex problems; performs special projects.
2. Reviews and accepts for recordation the most complex documents, such as deeds and maps and/or performs moderately complex chain of title research.
3. Communicates all legal recording and/or chain of title requirements to title company representatives, attorneys, corporate representatives, and the public.
4. Assists in the determination of procedures for handling unique problems that have significant fiscal impact to the County or the customer; acts as a technical expert on complicated issues; identifies, researches, and resolves problems from staff, the public, title companies, attorneys, courts, and other County departments regarding Clerk-Recorder and/or Assessor procedures, civil laws, and regulations.

Employment Standards: Education and Experience

1. One year of experience equivalent to Legal Document Specialist II in the County of Santa Barbara; or
2. equivalent combination of training, education, and experience that would provide the required knowledge and abilities.

Desirable Qualifications: College-level coursework in real estate practices or legal issues related to real estate, wills, trusts, and/or contracts is highly desirable.

Additional Qualifications: A valid CA driver license may be required.

Knowledge and Abilities: In addition to Legal Document Specialist II knowledge and abilities above:

Knowledge of: departmental and divisional procedures to ensure proper and immediate "on the spot" decisions can be made without supervisor involvement; laws, codes, regulations, policies, procedures, and practices associated with legal document recording and/or changes of ownership to meet requirements set forth in the Revenue and Taxation Code for Assessor duties, and the Government codes regarding recorder duties; legal terminology associated with recorded legal document examination and/or title transfer research; methods of recordation including on-site mail, and electronic processes.

Ability to: understand workflow and work priorities as it relates to the work of a County Recorder and/or Assessor's office; speak persuasively to groups for meetings and training sessions and the public on all aspects of Operations functions in the Assessor and/or Recorder's office; work independently without immediate supervision; learn basic supervisory principles and practices; effectively process the most sensitive and complex recording and indexing issues.
 



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