Thursday, October 16, 2008

2008 Foreign Lawyers Reception

Join us for this fantastic Foreign Lawyers Reception (local attorneys are of course welcome).

Keynote Speaker:
Joel Benoliel - Senior Vice President for Legal and Administration and Chief Legal Officer for Costco (see bio below).
Thursday, October 30, 2008
5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Williams Kastner
601 Union Street, Suite 4100
Two Union Square
Seattle, WA 98101
  • How to Register:
  • There is still time to register! Download E-Flyer and Registration Form Here (.pdf file)

  • Biography of Joel Benoliel:

    A native of Washington, Joel was born and raised in the Seattle area. A 1963 graduate of Seattle’s Franklin High School, he completed his undergraduate degree in Political Science at the University of Washington in 1967 and earned his J.D. from the University of Washington Law School in 1971. While in Law School, Joel enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve, serving on active duty for six months and thereafter on reserve duty in a JAG Detachment, until his honorable discharge in 1974.

    Joel began his professional career as a lawyer in general private practice with a small firm in Seattle. In 1978, he became Vice President and General Counsel at the privately held Jack A. Benaroya Company, the largest commercial real estate developer in the Northwest in the 1970’s and early 1980’s. The company sold its real estate assets in 1984 for $325 Million. The transaction was managed and closed under Joel’s direction. It involved more than 100 buildings, and represented the largest single real estate transaction in West Coast history to that point.

    Following the sale, Joel remained in the commercial and industrial real estate development business, first as a partner in the Seattle office of Dallas-based Trammell Crow Company, and then beginning in 1987, as a founding partner of Menlo Park, California-based Spieker Partners. He specialized in development of community shopping centers, including those anchored by large format discount stores, home improvement stores, and supermarkets in the Seattle area.

    In 1992, Joel retired from active participation at Spieker Partners and joined Costco Wholesale as Vice President, Legal and Real Estate. The following year, Costco merged with the San Diego based Price Company, resulting in a doubling of Costco’s size in sales and locations. Joel was promoted to Senior Vice President in the new company in 1993. While serving as General Counsel, Joel primarily focused on his real estate role, managing a diverse team of real estate professionals and helping Costco select new markets and expand to many new cities throughout North America. At the same time, working under Costco Chairman, Jeff Brotman, Joel helped Costco infill locations in the existing Costco markets, principally on the West Coast and East Coast of the U.S, as well as Alaska and Hawaii. In a nine-year period, Costco grew from under 100 locations to more than 350 locations.

    In 2001, Joel was promoted to membership on Costco’s Executive Committee, at which time responsibility for Real Estate Development was transitioned to another executive. Since that time, Joel has served as Senior Vice President for Legal and Administration and Chief Legal Officer. Reporting directly to CEO Jim Sinegal, he has oversight of the office of General Counsel and a team of twenty two in-house lawyers as well as a diverse group of outside law firms who handle the company’s legal affairs in the U.S. and seven other countries in North America, Europe, and Asia. He also oversees the company’s Administration, Membership and Marketing, Travel, Community Relations, and Corporate Compliance departments and participates as a member of Costco’s Charitable Contributions Committee, which manages the donation of 1% of the company’s pre-tax profit each year to qualified 501©(3) non-profit organizations, such as Children’s Hospitals and United Way campaigns in all the regions where Costco does business. The company’s budget for charitable donations is currently in excess of $18 million per year. In 2007, Joel’s management role was again expanded to include oversight of Costco Home stores, Business Centers, Business Delivery and other strategic businesses.

    Joel is active outside of Costco in his community in a variety of charitable endeavors. He serves his alma mater on the University of Washington School of Law Foundation as a Trustee, and on the Dean’s Advisory Board, Capital Campaign, and Strategic Planning Committees. He is a Director and Officer for Washington State Mentors, a public-private partnership with the State of Washington and the business community to promote mentorship; and has served as a Director for the King County Chapter, American Heart Association. He was a founding Seattle Guild Member for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and has maintained a close relationship with that organization for more than 15 years. He is a member of the Circle of Care for Children’s Hospitals in North America, and active in other philanthropic endeavors. In 2005, he was appointed by the governor to serve as a citizen member of the Washington Council for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (now Council for Children and Families), where he serves as Vice Chair, and was re-appointed by the Governor for a second term to expire June, 2011. He has been an advocate for children in foster care. In past years, he has been a mediator and arbitrator specializing in real estate and construction dispute resolution.

    He has been married to Maureen Benoliel, a retired schoolteacher and active community volunteer, for 37 years, and has one son, age 30.