The North Carolina Department of Commerce is the state's lead agency for economic, community and workforce development. The department works with local, regional, national and international organizations to fulfill its mission to improve the economic well-being and quality of life for all North Carolinians.
The primary purpose of the Utilities Commission is to regulate the rates and quality of service of investor-owned public utilities in the State of North Carolina. The primary purpose of the Legal Division of the Commission is to provide the Commission with a full range of expert legal counsel and technical advice, assistance, and support with respect to all aspects of agency operations in the complex and specialized field of public utility regulation. More specifically, the major responsibilities of the Legal Division are as follows:
Advising and otherwise assisting members of the Commission and its professional staff in the deliberative and decision-making process
Preparing and issuing Commission Orders and reports
Coordinating the Commission’s formal complaint dockets
Providing legal representation to the Commission and serving as the Commission’s liaison and representative before the North Carolina General Assembly and with other agencies of state and federal government
Performing Hearing Examiner functions and duties
The Senior Staff Attorney serves as a legal advisor to the seven members of the Utilities Commission and its professional staff. As such, he/she is responsible for the most advanced, difficult, and important matters of legal interpretation, counsel, and litigation in the highly complex and specialized field of public utilities regulation. The Senior Staff Attorney regularly advises the members of the Commission and other staff in matters involving the decision-making process in contested cases, rulemaking proceedings, and development of policy, preparation of position statements, comments on proposed legislation, and the need to seek legislation. As a legal advisor, it is the responsibility of the Senior Staff Attorney to analyze and make recommendations on the most advanced, difficult, and complex legal issues presented in proceedings before the Commission for decision. These proceedings include mergers and consolidations, general rate cases, rulemaking proceedings, certification proceedings, complain cases, show cause proceedings, special investigations and appeals to the Commissioners of proceedings originally heard by another Hearing Examiner. In these proceedings, it is the responsibility of the Senior Staff Attorney to independently analyze facts, research and study the legal issues, and make recommendations either alone or in conjunction with members of other divisions of the Commission Staff, such as accounting or engineering, in order to make a thorough and comprehensive presentation to the Commission. The Senior Staff Attorney is responsible for ensuring the lawfulness of the decisions issued by the Commission.
The Senior Staff Attorney also serves as one of the Commission’s Hearing Examiners in contested evidentiary proceedings requiring a formal hearing. These proceedings include certification proceedings for public utilities, general rate case for public utilities, complaint cases and show cause proceedings to investigate the service practices of public utilities, and prehearing conferences. These proceedings are quasi-judicial in nature. In the role of Hearing Examiner, the Senior Staff Attorney acts as an administrative law judge in proceedings within the specialized jurisdiction of the Commission. In this role, the Senior Staff Attorney hears and decides the most advanced, difficult, and complex cases involving issues of statutory or constitutional interpretation. As to the cases assigned to him or her, the Senior Staff Attorney must work independently, without any supervision or advice from the Commission. He/she must study the case thoroughly, preside at the public hearing to receive evidence, analyze the facts and law, and prepare a written decision resolving the issues, which is subject to review by the Commissioners and, ultimately, the appellate courts.
This is a full-time position (40 hours per week) with State Benefits. This position qualifies for teleworking on a part-time basis as part of the Department of Commerce Teleworking Program. Any teleworking will be under the conditions of the Commerce Teleworking Program Policy, and the employer may end any teleworking arrangement at any time at the employer's sole discretion.
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities / Competencies
Demonstrated ability to conduct legal research and analyze the law in highly complex issues
Demonstrated ability to provide independent legal advice and counsel
Demonstrated ability to find creative solutions to legal issues with major ramification and provide counsel and advice
Demonstrated ability to express highly complex legal concepts and related facts in a clear, concise and organized manner, both oral and written
Demonstrated ability to effectively present legal issues
Demonstrated ability to coordinate, facilitate and participate in a collaborative approach to complete assignments
Posting closes 6/9/2023 5:00 PM
Licensed to practice law by the North Carolina State Bar and four years of progressively responsible professional legal experience.