The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

June 26, 2013
What California state workers earn: State lawyers

LS_ALBERTA_LEE_UC_Davis_Law_Library.JPGBy Amy Gebert and Jon Ortiz

California's state attorneys are paid far less than their counterparts in local governments and the private sector. The union, one of the smallest bargaining units in the state, for years has argued for pay parity with little success.

In the last few years the union has taken a different tack by aggressively fighting contracts that outsource legal work it says should go to its members.

Here are pay numbers for California Attorneys, Administrative Law Judges and Hearing Officers in State Employment , Bargaining Unit 2:

Number of employees in 2012: 3,573
2012 average pay: $93,142
2012 median pay: $105,548

Number of employees in 2011: 3,459
2011 average pay: $94,091.89
2011 median pay: $103,658.33

2012 Largest job class: Attorney III (620 positions)
Highest paid job class (2012 average): Tax Counsel IV ($118,777)
Lowest paid job class (2012 average): Graduate Legal Assistant ($10,872)

With talks and ratification votes for new state employee contracts on the agenda over the next few weeks, The State Worker is looking at what unionized workers earned over the last two years by bargaining unit.

The numbers feeding the series come from the State Controller's payroll database. The figures include only regular pay issued to full-time employees represented by the 21 bargaining units that negotiate contracts with the state. The number of employees includes only full-time workers who were paid more than 1 cent during the calendar year. University of California and California State University employee earnings are not included in these figures. The data covers calendar 2011 and 2012.

PHOTO: An attorney pulls a law book from the shelves at the Law Library at UC Davis on Nov. 26, 2003. The Sacramento Bee/ Lezlie Sterling

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.

About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


Now on the State Worker column

State Pay Database

This database allows you to search the salaries of California's 300,000-plus state workers and view up to four years of their pay history.


October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    

Monthly Archives