Barry P. Helft Fellowship FAQs

  • What are the compensation and benefits for program participants?
    • Participants who have not yet been admitted to the California Bar will be hired into a limited term position as a Graduate Legal Assistant (GLA) at a salary range of $4560-$5207/month. Once admitted to the Bar and upon successful completion of the Attorney exam, GLAs will be promoted in place to Attorney Fellow position and will serve a 12-month probationary period at a salary range of $5756-$5987/month. All participants will also receive a variety of benefits as described on the Compensation and Benefits page. The salaries listed are the latest available from the State Controller’s Office, but may not reflect the most recent salary adjustment.
  • What is the California civil service exam, and do I need to take it?
    • In order to be hired into any state civil service position, including the Fellowship Program, you are required to take a civil service exam. The civil service exam gauges your experience and educational credentials. You should consider all of your experience and education, in any capacity (student, volunteer, etc.), when completing the exam. Your exam will be scored and your name will be placed on a certification list. The certification list is ranked and you must score in one of the top three ranks in order to be appointed to a position. Participants who are admitted to the California Bar as of June 30, 2021 will need to complete the Attorney exam. Participants who have not been admitted to the California Bar by June 30, 2021 will need to complete the GLA exam and sit for the California Bar exam in July 2021.
  • How do I submit my letters of recommendation?
    • It is preferred that the required two letters of recommendation be submitted as part of your application package. If any of your recommenders have concerns about this process or would prefer to send their letters separately, please direct them to contact HumanResources@ospd.ca.gov. The letters of recommendation should be addressed to “Fellowship Program Selection Committee.”
  • How will I know that my application was received?
  • How and when will interviews be conducted?

    • Interviews will be conducted in March and April. This year, in light of Covid-19, interviews will be conducted virtually. Telephonic conference interviews are also available in cases where a candidate cannot access Zoom.
  • If I am selected for a position, can I defer for a year?
    • Unfortunately we are not able to offer any deferrals. If you are still eligible in the next hiring cycle, we encourage you to apply again.
  • Do I have to take the California bar exam?
    • Yes. Applicants must either be members of the California Bar, or must sit for the July 2021 Bar exam. We encourage applicants to sit for the earliest possible California State Bar exam. Failure to pass the California Bar exam within 12 months of employment may result in termination from the program.
  • I’m taking the July 2021 Bar exam and won’t get my results until November. Will I still be able to do legal work in the first few months of the program, and what happens if I fail?
    • You will be able to work on substantive legal projects under the supervision of another attorney while you are awaiting your results. You will not be able to sign briefs or appear in court. Participants who do not pass the Bar exam within 12 months from employment may be terminated from the program.
  • Will I be reimbursed for Bar exam fees?
    • The program does not cover Bar exam fees or the cost of any Bar exam preparation courses.
  • Do I need to be a U.S. Citizen to apply?
    • No, but all applicants must be eligible to work in the United States. Upon employment, applicants must submit verification of their legal right to work in the United States.
  • Do Veterans preferences or any other hiring preferences apply?
    • Veterans preference will apply to applicants when determining their rank on a civil service exam.
  • I still have questions, whom should I contact?
    • First, please check with your career services office. If they are not able to resolve your question, please e-mail HumanResources@ospd.ca.gov.