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General Counsel/Chief Compliance Officer, Port of Seattle

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The General Counsel/Chief Compliance Officer (“GC/CCO”) leads and manages the Port of Seattle’s legal division, and provides legal counsel to the Port’s leadership. 

The GC/CCO oversees the Port’s legal strategy and compliance with laws and regulations, advises on business and governmental dealings, and addresses questions regarding the legal authority of the Port.  In addition, the GC/CCO oversees compliance issues, including the Port’s records and public disclosure obligations.

The GC/CCO is a member of the Port Executive Leadership Team, and has a dual reporting relationship to the Executive Director and the Port Commission President.  The GC/CCO is a key leader who partners with the Commissioners to advance the Port’s economic and policy goals.  The Port of Seattle plays a key role in the local economy, providing maritime and airport operations and other activities that drive job growth and increase prosperity throughout the Puget Sound region.


Leadership & Management

  • Serves as key member of the Port’s Executive Leadership Team, supporting the strategic management of the Port and the formulation and adoption of Port goals, objectives, strategies, policies, and procedures.
  • Works with the Port Commission, the Port’s Executive Director, and the other members of the Port Executive Leadership Team to anticipate and identify emerging issues and to develop legal strategies and approaches.
  • As the Port’s chief legal officer, the GC/CCO oversees all legal issues at the Port, and leads and manages an experienced legal team with expertise in a breadth of relevant practice areas to ensure that the Port operates efficiently, ethically, and in compliance with all laws and regulations.
  • Provides leadership, direction, and support to the legal department, ensuring the legal team meets the Port’s mission, vision, and strategic objectives, while also balancing the interests and goals of all stakeholders with the obligations of a public agency.
  • Manages the legal team to address areas of law that impact the Port, anticipate legal challenges to the organization, and strategize solutions.
  • Assists the legal team in managing and coordinating outside legal counsel, as needed.

Legal & Policy Counsel

Advising Leadership

  • The GC/CCO advises on the Port’s complex legal and compliance issues; provides legal counsel regarding governance and policy matters, while taking into account the Port’s public sector issues; and advocates for the Port’s interests, and strategizes how the Port can best achieve its goals.
  • Provides pragmatic legal insights and advice on the wide range of legal and policy issues of a major international port, including: environmental; governmental relations; security issues; tenant and customer relations; transactional and contracting matters (g., real estate and procurement contracts); contract disputes; and labor and employment matters.
  • Oversees and directs the management of all Port litigation.

Ethics Counsel

  • Oversees the Workplace Responsibility Office and compliance with the Port’s Code of Conduct.

Public Governance

  • Supports public governance, including review of Port Commission and executive session agendas. Attends all Port Commission meetings. 
  • Determines the Port’s legal authority with respect to strategic initiatives and day-to-day policies and procedures.
  • Familiar with current and historical federal, state, and local legislative issues relevant to the Port, and navigates political issues and relationships while advancing the Port’s interests.
  • Coordinates responses to audits, including the State Auditor’s Office compliance and performance audits, financial bond compliance audits, internal audits, and federal audits and investigations.
  • Oversees the Port’s records and public disclosure obligations, and ensures timely and accurate responses.


Professional Experience

  • Juris Doctor and member in good standing of Washington State Bar Association.
  • Minimum of fifteen (15) years of legal experience. The ideal candidate will be knowledgeable in one or more of the Port’s key practice areas such as real estate, labor, litigation, environmental, contracts, or maritime/aviation, and will understand the laws that govern public sector organizations, such as the Port.
  • Minimum of ten (10) years of leadership and management experience, including responsibility for a team of lawyers and other staff. Strong leader and manager dedicated to team building.
  • Experience working with elected officials, business leaders, and management.
  • Experience in public governance, and workplace ethics and compliance. 

Core Competencies

  • Strong personal integrity, moral character, and dedication to ethics.
  • Dedicated to highest quality of service in advancing the Port’s mission, goals, and operating philosophy.
  • Exceptional judgement and critical thinker who serves as trusted advisor to all levels of the organization. When faced with complex issues, able to offer pragmatic legal strategies that balance risk with positive outcomes.
  • Builds productive relationships with internal and external stakeholders through trust, teamwork, and effective communication. Works effectively with diverse constituencies, including: elected officials; committees and staff; state, local, and federal agencies; public policy interest groups; and citizens.
  • High level of diplomatic skill and gravitas, and comfortable with conflict management and resolution. Respectful of competing viewpoints and considerations.
  • Comfortable in fast-paced environment, and calm under pressure. Ability to multitask high-priority projects.
  • Skilled communicator with clear written and verbal style. Strong public speaker.
  • Proven leadership skills in building an efficient, collaborative team of excellent attorneys and staff who serve the organization’s goals and values. Able to provide resources, mentoring, and training towards the team’s professional growth.


The Port of Seattle has exclusively retained Harris Legal Search to complete this search.  Interested candidates must submit a cover letter and resume that includes relevant legal and leadership experience.  Please submit your application materials as soon as possible, but no later than October 31, 2018 by visiting

The position will remain open until filled; however, the screening process will move quickly. 

The successful candidate must pass a Transportation Security Administration background check.  Will also be fingerprinted for a criminal history background check with the FBI.  Hire date will be contingent upon obtaining a Port of Seattle ID badge.

Salary determination is based on the knowledge, skills, and experience of the successful candidate.  The Port offers an attractive benefits package.  Questions about this position can be directed to or 425.453.2700.

The Port of Seattle is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer and is committed to diversity in the workplace.  Minorities, women, veterans, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.  We will provide assistance in the recruitment, application, and selection process to applicants with disabilities who request such assistance.


The Port of Seattle plays a key role in bringing international trade and travel to the Pacific Northwest.  The Port provides maritime and airport operations for the King County area.  The Port economic activity contributes to over 200,000 jobs in the greater Seattle area, and our century agenda plans to add 100,000 more.  The ports of Seattle and Tacoma are currently working together as the innovative Seaport Alliance, unifying the management of the two ports’ marine cargo terminals and related functions to continue our leading role in international trade.

The Port operates Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac), serving nearly 47 million passengers and more than 425,000 metric tons of air cargo in 2017.  The airport has experienced increasing growth over each of the last six years.  Sea-Tac has served a record number of passengers for several years to become the 9th largest airport in the United States.

The Port of Seattle also manages two passenger terminals that make Seattle the preferred choice for Alaska and Pacific Northwest cruises.  Over one million visitors are expected during this year’s cruise season.  In addition, recreational boating is a major part of the Port.  The Port operates four marinas – with nearly 1700 slips.  The Port also manages Fishermen’s Terminal, the homeport of the North Pacific fishing fleet, which provides over 40 percent of the nation’s landed catch.  The Port operates its own Stormwater Utility, committed to improving water quality in Puget Sound.  It owns and manages 23 parks and operates a large maintenance department.

Our region is growing and changing, putting new pressures on the environment.  The Port of Seattle targets its investments and programs to reduce the impacts of development and protect our natural resources.  As environmental stewards, we embrace our responsibility to our citizens, to the livability of this region, and to the future.

Five commissioners, elected at large by the voters of King County, serve four-year terms and establish Port of Seattle policy.  The Executive Director, in carrying out these policies, leads over 2,000 employees.  The Port’s Century Agenda supports the triple bottom line of business development, environmental sustainability, and social responsibility.  The Port’s goal is to serve as the gateway of choice and create a vibrant economic engine that drives job creation throughout the region.  For more information, visit


Download or Print Job Announcement PDF:  Port of Seattle GC Job Announcement PDF

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