Careers

Attorney Positions

Attorney Positions

Join our team! There are very few opportunities for attorneys more rewarding than those offered by the Department of Law & Public Safety. You’ll have the chance to work on some of the state’s most pressing legal issues, developing valuable skills while serving your fellow citizens.

One of the most unique features of the Department is the sheer variety of legal positions available. Whether you have a background in civil, criminal, family, regulatory, or transactional law, you’re likely to find a job that excites and interests you.

Broadly speaking, the majority of the Department’s lawyers work in the Division of Law (DOL), which is organized into several smaller “practice groups” based on subject matter. Three other Divisions employ attorneys as criminal prosecutors: the Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ), the Office of Public Integrity & Accountability (OPIA), and the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor (OIFP). Another three Divisions hire a small number of lawyers to assist with their specialized practices: the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE), the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), and the Division of Administration (DOA).

Most Department attorneys hold the title of “Deputy Attorney General,” with a small number of senior managers and Division directors holding the tile of “Assistant Attorney General.”

  • Civil Attorneys (Division of Law)
    The Division of Law (DOL) provides legal representation to the Office of the Governor and the state’s departments, boards, and agencies. With nearly 500 lawyers, DOL is organized into several “practice groups” of roughly equal sizes. The majority of DOL’s lawyers are based in Trenton, with some lawyers working in Newark and in a handful of other offices across the state.
    Given its large size, DOL is always hiring new attorneys and therefore accepts job applications on a rolling basis. Candidates may submit their materials through DOL’s Online Application by clicking the link in the sidebar. From time to time, DOL will also issue job postings for supervisory positions, as well as for non-supervisory positions in practice groups with multiple openings. All such postings appear on the Department’s Job Postings page.
    • Administrative Practice Group
      The Administrative Practice Group is organized into eight sections that specialize in counseling state agencies on their legal questions. (In New Jersey, most state agencies are not permitted to employ their own in-house counsel, and so all legal advice rendered to these agencies is provided by DOL attorneys.) The Administrative Practice Group focuses on legal matters relating to education, elections, energy, environment, health, local government services, mass transit, professional boards, public benefits, and regulated utilities, and also advises state agencies on employment issues.
    • Affirmative Civil Enforcement Practice Group
      The Affirmative Civil Enforcement (ACE) Practice Group brings enforcement actions against companies, individuals, and other entities that violate state law. These enforcement actions – known as “affirmative litigation” or “affirmative civil enforcement” (ACE) – ensure compliance with New Jersey’s civil rights, consumer protection, environmental, health care fraud, labor, and securities laws. DOL attorneys in the ACE Practice Group advise client agencies on investigations, drafts legal pleadings, and then litigates any resulting enforcement actions.
    • Children & Families Practice Group
      The Children & Families Practice Group represents the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF), the agency tasked with protecting children and strengthening families. Among other responsibilities, DOL attorneys in the Children & Families Practice Group represents DCF when the agency seeks supervision or custody of abused and neglected children or seeks termination of parental rights when necessary. The work is litigation-intensive but also touches on aspects of social work. The Practice Group’s attorneys are assigned to offices across the state, with many of the lawyers working out of Newark, Trenton, and Cherry Hill.
    • Financial Affairs & Contracting Practice Group</br /> The Financial Affairs & Contracting Practice Group provides legal advice on many of the state’s most important financial transactions. The Practice Group’s lawyers regularly advise the Office of the Governor, the State Treasurer, and other state agencies on significant public finance matters, issues relating to bankruptcy, banking regulation, municipal securities, construction, condemnation, project finance, affordable housing finance, health care benefits, insurance regulation, pensions fund, administration and investment procurement, public-private partnerships, real estate transactions, State tax litigation, collections, and transportation financing.
    • Litigation Practice Group
      The Litigation Practice Group handles all defensive litigation involving state agencies, including personal injury (Title 59) and employment litigation. The Practice Group’s attorneys are involved in all stages of litigation, from the initial briefing through arbitration or trial, and regularly appear in state and federal court at both the trial and appellate levels. Cases range from wrongful deaths to negligent conduct by state employees to constitutional equal protection and due process claims.
    • Other Legal Projects
      In addition to the Practice Groups described above, the Division of Law also assigns a small number of attorneys to handle other legal projects, including appellate litigation and disputes involving the Open Public Records Act (OPRA).
    • Criminal Prosecutors (DCJ, OPIA, OIFP)
      Three Divisions within the Department of Law & Public Safety hire attorneys to serve as criminal prosecutors, as listed below. Supervisory and non-supervisory attorney positions for all three Divisions are listed on the Department’s Job Postings page.
    • Division of Criminal Justice
      The Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ) has statewide jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute violations of New Jersey’s criminal laws. With more than 100 prosecutors and 150 detectives, DCJ focuses on high-impact cases that require significant or highly specialized investigative resources. DCJ is organized into five “bureaus,” three of which investigate and prosecute cases: the Financial & Cyber Crimes Bureau; the Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau; and the Specialized Crime Bureau, which among other things prosecutes violations of the state’s labor, environmental, and anti-bias laws. DCJ also operates an Appellate Bureau and a “Prosecutor Supervision and Training Bureau,” which provides training and support to the state’s 21 County Prosecutor Offices.
    • Office of Public Integrity & Accountability
      The Office of Public Integrity & Accountability (OPIA) has a dual mission: to investigate violations of public trust and to develop policies that rebuild faith in government institutions and the criminal justice system. OPIA is the lead state agency tasked with prosecuting public corruption offenses and civil rights violations involving law enforcement. OPIA also houses the Attorney General’s “Conviction Review Unit,” which investigates claims of actual innocence, and oversees a statewide “Cold Case Network, which uses new technology to solve old crimes. OPIA also maintains an Office of Policing Policy, which develops statewide policies to promote trust, transparency, and accountability in law enforcement.
    • Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor
      The Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor (OIFP) is responsible for investigating, prosecuting, and deterring insurance fraud and serves as the statewide coordinator for all anti-insurance fraud efforts in New Jersey. With more than 50 detectives and 20 prosecutors, OIFP investigates a wide range of insurance fraud schemes and serves as a clearinghouse for cases referred by the public, insurance companies, the Medicaid Program, and other law enforcement agencies.

Other Legal Opportunities (DGE, ABC, DOA)

Three other Divisions in the Department of Law & Public Safety employ a small number of attorneys, as described below. Supervisory and non-supervisory attorney positions for all three Divisions are listed on the Department’s Job Postings page.

      • Division of Gaming Enforcement. The Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) ensures the integrity of the casino gaming industry in New Jersey. DGE employs a number of attorneys who represent the agency on a variety of matters, including licensing investigations and the prosecution of certain regulatory violations. DGE’s attorneys work in either Atlantic City or Trenton.
      • Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. The Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) regulates the manufacture, distribution, sale, and transportation of all alcoholic beverages in New Jersey. ABC’s attorneys provide legal advice on regulatory and permitting matters and enforce violations of the state’s alcoholic beverage laws.
      • Division of Administration. The Division of Administration oversees the day-to-day operations of the Department of Law & Public Safety, coordinating the Department’s human resources, information technology, budget, fiscal, and grant-making functions. The Division houses the Office of the General Counsel for Administration, which provides in-house legal advice for the Department’s administrative and operational functions.

Job Titles, Classifications, and Salary

Most Department attorneys hold the title of Deputy Attorney General (DAG). Under the state’s civil service rules, there are four “classifications” of the DAG title, based largely on the attorney’s level of experience and supervisory responsibilities. Most attorneys enter the Department as a “DAG 4” and can be elevated to other titles – such as DAG 3, DAG 2, and DAG 1 – if they are promoted to supervisory positions or spend a significant number of years working for the Department in a non-supervisory role.

The Department uses a “step-based” salary system, which allows attorneys to receive automatic pay increases as they gain seniority within their DAG title. Attorneys advance to the next “step” at regular intervals, usually once a year, and each step increase results in an increased salary.

Consider, for example, a recent law school graduate who just passed the bar exam and is hired as an attorney in the Division of Law. This attorney typically enters the Department as a DAG 4, Step 1, with a fixed annual salary of $82,527. After a year of service, the attorney automatically advances to DAG 4, Step 2, with a salary of $86,443. Each year, the attorney advances another step, resulting in predictable salary increases that rewards one’s ongoing commitment to public service.

Salary Scale for DAG 4 ZR Salary Scale
Step 1 $82,527
Step 2 $86,443
Step 3 $90,359
Step 4 $94,275
Step 5 $98,191
Step 6 $102,107
Step 7 $106,023
Step 8 $109,939
Step 9 $113,855
Step 10 $117,772

For more senior attorneys, the starting salary depends in part on the applicant’s prior work experience. Lawyers who are considering a lateral move to the Department from another legal position should contact the Human Resources office for more information about salaries.

Generally speaking, the DAG 3 title is reserved for non-supervisory attorneys who have worked at the Department for at least a decade (and advanced through all ten steps of the DAG 4 title). The DAG 2 title is reserved primarily for deputy or assistant section chiefs and the DAG 1 title is used primarily for section or bureau chiefs.

Recent law school graduates who have not yet been admitted to the New Jersey bar are required to begin work under a different title – “Law Clerk” – and are then promoted to DAG 4 once admitted.

Division of Law employees in the DAG3 and DAG4 titles are represented by a union that negotiate regular increases to the salary schedule.

Resources

Current Job Postings for Attorneys
Civil Service Commission Compensation Compendium

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