Frequently Asked Questions About CASE

What is CASE?

California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges, and Hearing Officers in State Employment (CASE) is the exclusive representative for state employees who work in classifications with Bargaining Unit 2. CASE is also the recognized employee organization for Supervisors and Managers in Unit 2-related classes.

CASE is your on-the-job advocate, working each day to improve your pay and benefits, protect your pension, and provide guidance and representation when your job is at stake. CASE advocates for its members at the bargaining table, in the Capitol, before administrative agencies, judicial bodies, and anywhere your employment and professional interests are at stake. CASE was created by legal professionals, for legal professionals. For more on our history, click here

What does a State Attorney Do?

State Attorneys provide a range of services for the State of California, with thousands of attorneys spread across over 70 departments. From shutting down poorly run elder-care facilities, to fighting human trafficking, to protecting citizens against predatory loan practices, State Attorneys help maintain justice and make the State of California a safer and better community for all citizens.

What is an Administrative Law Judge and What Do They Do?

An Administrative Law Judge employed by the State of California specializes in administrative law and presides over administrative hearings. Administrative hearings involve resolving disputes between government agencies and citizens. Some of these disputes include worker’s compensation claims, unemployment appeals, arbitration between contracted workers and the State, and interdepartmental issues. ALJs are a vital part of the inner-workings of the California State Government and help maintain the general welfare of our State.

What is a Deputy Labor Commissioner and What Do They Do?

Deputy Labor Commissioners ensure a just day’s pay in every California workplace for every California worker. They combat wage theft, protect workers from retaliation, and educate the public on the laws protecting them on the job. This work frequently takes them into the field where they investigate and enforce compliance with workplace safety laws and regulations. 

What is a Graduate Legal Assistant and What Do They Do?

Graduate Legal Assistants are on the road to becoming licensed attorneys and perform an array of important legal research and document drafting like briefs, motions, analyses, and more. Those with provisional licenses can appear in court, draft legal documents and pleadings, and give legal advice under the supervision of a licensed attorney. They are important in ensuring a pipeline of top-notch legal professionals continue to be available for departments.

How do I become a State Attorney or Administrative Law Judge?

State Attorney, Administrative Law Judge, and legal professional jobs are part of the California State Civil Service, a merit-based employment system. Each task that needs to be accomplished on behalf of Californians is assigned to a classification by the State Personnel Board. Your first step is to check out job listings at to learn which classifications match your education and experience. When you find a position for which you’re qualified and in which you are interested, you may need to take an exam for that job’s classification – usually an online process that assesses your knowledge and experience as a legal professional. After you take an exam, you’ll be given a score and a rank. Anyone within the top 3 ranks of exam scores is reachable – meaning they are eligible to apply for and be hired to a position. 

We recommend getting on the eligibility lists for multiple classifications – anything that you may be qualified for – that way you are ready to apply when a position is available. 

The Minimum Salary for a Job I’d like to Take is Just Too Low – Can I negotiate my salary?

Salaries are set by the California Department of Human Resources (CalHR) through the collective bargaining process with state bargaining units. CASE bargains on behalf of Unit 2 legal professionals. The lowest and highest salary available for any classification is set and cannot be changed. Most prospective employees will be offered a salary at the low end of the classification’s salary scale. If that salary does not meet your requirements, ask about the possibility of a “HAM” – a Hire-Above-Minimum. The HAM process, authorized by Government Code Section 19836, requires the department to make the case that you have special skills and experience deserving of an increased starting salary to induce you to accept the job. Departments can be reluctant to pursue a HAM for the maximum of a salary range, but some will go to bat for you and get you a better offer. Make sure to ask about a HAM prior to accepting or starting a job with the state. You cannot HAM after you start your new job.

Please feel free to call the CASE office at 800-699-6533 if you have any questions about becoming a state employee.