Opportunities at Work

New York State Department of Civil Service Announces Open-Competitive Examination Open to the Public

Legal Assistant 1/2

Written Test To Be Held
January 21, 2012
Applications Must Be Submitted or Postmarked By
December 19, 2011


Exams Included on This Announcement
Exam Number Exam Title Salary Salary Grade Fee
25-503 Legal Assistant 1 $40,477 G-14 $35
25-504 Legal Assistant 2 $47,698 G-17 $35

This announcement has hereby been amended. See revised material below.

*The salary you receive will depend upon the negotiating unit of the position.

Appointees who work in the five boroughs of New York City or in Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland, or Westchester Counties will receive an additional $3,026 annual downstate adjustment. Appointees who work in Dutchess, Orange, or Putnam Counties will receive an additional $1,513 annual mid-Hudson adjustment.

Back To Top

Minimum Qualifications

On or before January 21, 2012, you must have:

For Number 25-503: an associate's degree or certificate in legal studies, paralegal studies, or legal assistant studies from an accredited institution or one approved by the American Bar Association.

For Number 25-504:
Either 1. a bachelor's degree in legal studies, paralegal studies, or legal assistant studies from an accredited institution or one approved by the American Bar Association;
Or 2. an associate's degree or certificate in legal studies, paralegal studies, or legal assistant studies from an accredited institution or one approved by the American Bar Association AND either one year of subsequent full-time experience as a Paralegal (see "definition" below) or a bachelor's degree or higher in any field.

DEFINITION: For the purposes of this examination, a Paralegal is someone who applies knowledge of the law and legal procedures in rendering direct assistance to lawyers, clients, and courts; prepares and interprets legal documents; researches, compiles, and uses information from legal materials; and analyzes and handles procedural problems that involve independent decisions.

For the purpose of these examinations, experience limited solely to general clerical or secretarial duties performed in a law office is NOT considered to be qualifying experience.

SUBSTITUTION: Graduation from an accredited law school will be accepted as meeting the educational requirements for either examination.


  1. If you expect to meet the educational requirements by July 31, 2012, you can be admitted to the written test but you cannot be considered for appointment until you submit proof of successful completion of the educational requirements to the hiring agency at the time of interview.
  2. Your degree or college credit must have been awarded by a regionally accredited college or university or one recognized by the NYS Education Department as following acceptable educational practices. If your degree or college credit was awarded by an educational institution outside the United States and its territories, you must provide independent verification of equivalency. You can write to the Examination Information Desk of the NYS Department of Civil Service for a list of acceptable companies who provide this service. You must pay the required evaluation fee. If you are applying on the Internet, you must mail the independent verification of equivalency to the NYS Department of Civil Service, Alfred E. Smith State Office Building, Albany, New York 12239. Attention: S5JBH.
  3. Appropriate part-time and volunteer experience, which can be verified, will be accepted on a prorated basis.
  4. At the time of appointment and continuously thereafter, you may be required to have a valid license to operate a motor vehicle in New York State or otherwise demonstrate your ability to meet the transportation needs of the job, which may include travel to various places including correctional facilities and courthouses.
  5. A promotion examination is also being held for Legal Assistant 2. If you are eligible for appointment from a promotion list, you may not be appointed in your own agency from the list resulting from this examination open to the public.
  6. Although a promotion examination is being held for Legal Assistant 2, it is expected that appointments will be made as a result of this examination open to the public.
  7. New York State residence is not required.
  8. If you do not receive a confirmation number after submitting your online application, your application was NOT processed.

The Positions

These positions exist in various agencies throughout New York State government and are located primarily in Albany and New York City.

Back To Top


As a Legal Assistant 1, under the direction of staff attorneys in various areas of law, you would be responsible for compiling and organizing documentation, preparing and assisting in the preparation of legal documents and forms, logging information, and preparing correspondence and subpoenas. You would respond to inquiries and complaints, track cases, ensure that deadlines are met, and maintain various calendars. You would conduct research into legal matters, analyze materials, and present both verbal and written comments on your findings. You might prepare and maintain files, interview witnesses and clients, take depositions, record and monitor the status of legislation, and gather and create materials and summaries of legislation and current legal developments pertinent to the agency. The use of computer software and the Internet is integral to these positions and may be used in any of the following areas: preparing documents, tracking and researching assignments, tracking litigation, and communicating. This position requires the ability to work independently on some matters/assignments.

As a Legal Assistant 2, your duties would be similar to those of Legal Assistant 1 but would be distinguished by increased responsibility, greater freedom of judgment, and degree of expertise in interpreting the overall mission of the bureau and agency. As a Legal Assistant 2, you might supervise paraprofessional or clerical staff.

The classification standard for this title is available on the Classification and Compensation webpage at: http://www.cs.ny.gov/tsplan/tsp_display2.cfm?speccode=2522210F.

NOTE: Some positions may be created that require Spanish language proficiency. The eligible list created from this examination will be used to fill those positions, and eligibles must demonstrate proficiency in the Spanish language at a level that will ensure their ability to perform properly the duties of the position. If other language parenthetics are established, the eligible list will also be used to fill those positions and appointees must demonstrate their language proficiency prior to appointment.

Back To Top

Subject of Examination

There will be a written test which you must pass in order to be considered for appointment. The written test is designed to test for knowledge, skills, and/or abilities in such areas as:

  1. Conducting research into legal matters - These questions test for the ability to use various legal research techniques and legal reference aids. Included are questions requiring knowledge of legal citations and the ability to locate a particular law, subject or topic using an appropriate legal reference text. Additionally, upon being provided with a simulated computer based legal research program, you will be required to know which databases to search and how to use special commands and symbols to set the parameters of a search.
  2. Interviewing - These questions test for knowledge of the principles and practices employed in obtaining information from individuals through structured conversations. These questions require you to apply the principles, practices, and techniques of effective interviewing to hypothetical interviewing situations. Included are questions that present a problem arising from an interviewing situation, and you must choose the most appropriate course of action to take.
  3. Office record keeping - These questions test your ability to perform common office record keeping tasks. The test consists of two or more "sets" of questions, each set concerning a different problem. Typical record keeping problems might involve the organization or collation of data from several sources; scheduling; maintaining a record system using running balances; or completion of a table summarizing data using totals, subtotals, averages and percents.
  4. Preparing written material - These questions test for the ability to present information clearly and accurately, and to organize paragraphs logically and comprehensibly. For some questions, you will be given information in two or three sentences followed by four restatements of the information. You must then choose the best version. For other questions, you will be given paragraphs with their sentences out of order. You must then choose, from four suggestions, the best order for the sentences.
  5. Legal terminology, documents and forms - These questions test for the ability to recognize definitions of specific common legal terms or the term which fits a certain description. The questions are presented in various forms such as simple definitions, examples of terminology, and the use of this terminology within documents and forms related to the legal field.
  6. Understanding and interpreting legal materials - These questions test for the ability to read, interpret, and apply legal passages. You will be provided with brief reading selections based on or taken from legal text, each followed by one or more questions. All the information needed to answer the questions is contained in the reading selections. No prior knowledge of the subject is required. The subject matter of the selections may not be specific to the title(s) for which you are being tested. The purpose of these questions is only to test for the ability to read this type of material at this level of difficulty.

Your final score must be 70 or higher in order to pass. Rank on the eligible list will be determined after adding any wartime veterans' and Civil Service Law Section 85-a credits to your final passing score.

TEST GUIDE: A Guide to the Written Test for the Legal Assistant 1 & 2 Series is now available.**

Back To Top

How To Apply

This announcement is for viewing purposes only.

If you do not receive a confirmation number after submitting your online application, your application was NOT processed.

Additional Information

New York State is an Equal Opportunity Employer

It is the policy of the State of New York to provide for and promote equal opportunity in employment, compensation and other terms and conditions of employment without discrimination on the basis of age, race, color, religion, disability, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, or arrest and/or criminal conviction record unless based upon a bona fide occupational qualification or other exception.

Appointment to many positions in State government require candidates to undergo an investigative screening. This may include a thorough character investigation, a Federal Bureau of Investigation Criminal Record History Check, a Child Abuse Registry clearance, or other similar procedures. Candidates may be fingerprinted and may be required to pay any necessary fees for that procedure. Depending on the nature of the job, the criminal convictions discovered, or any falsified or omitted information revealed, the investigative findings may bar appointment or result in removal after appointment.

Eligibility for Employment

You must be legally eligible to work in the United States at the time of appointment and throughout your employment with New York State. If appointed, you must produce documents that establish your identity and eligibility to work in the United States, as required by the federal Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, and the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Religious Accommodation

Most written tests are held on Saturdays. If you cannot take the test on the announced test date, due to a conflict with a religious observance or practice, check the box under “Religious Accommodation.” We will make arrangements for you to take the test on a different date (usually the following day).

Reasonable Accommodations in Testing

In addition, it is the policy of the Department of Civil Service, in accordance with the New York State Human Rights Law and the Americans with Disabilities Act, to provide qualified persons with disabilities equal employment opportunity and equal opportunity to participate in and receive the benefits, services, programs, and activities of the Department. It is the policy of the Department to provide such persons reasonable accommodations and reasonable modifications as are necessary to enjoy equal opportunity. Persons with disabilities who require an accommodation to participate in an examination must note this on their applications. Further information is available from the Special Arrangements Unit of the Department of Civil Service at 518-457-2487 [press 2, then press 2] in the Albany area, toll free at 1-877-697-5627 [press 2, then press 2], or via TDD (telecommunications device for the deaf) at 518-457-8480.

Admission to Examination

Notice to appear for the test may be conditional as review of applications may not be made until after the test. If you have not received your notice to appear for the written test three days before the date of the test, call 518-474-6470 in the Albany area or toll free at 1-877-697-5627 [press 2, then press 1].

Multiple Examinations Scheduled for the Same Day

With the exception of written tests announced by New York City, if you have applied to take a written test announced by a local jurisdiction (county, town, city) scheduled to be held on the same test date as this written test, you must call 518-474-6470 in the Albany area or toll free at 1-877-697-5627 [press 2, then press 1], no later than two weeks before the test date, to make arrangements for taking all tests at one test site. All tests will be held at the state examination center.

Cell Phones or Electronic/Communication Devices at the Test Site

Do not bring cell phones, beepers, headphones, or any electronic or other communication devices to the test site. The use of such devices at the test site in the test room, hallways, restrooms, building, grounds, or other areas could result in your disqualification.

Issued: 11/4/2011
**Revised Material: 12/2/11

This announcement is subject to amendment or cancellation without notice. Do not copy it, or post it to any other site, but link to it instead.

Back To Top