SEATTLE – Attorney General Rob McKenna today announced that Gary Ikeda, former senior legal counsel for Seattle Public Schools and a former deputy attorney general, will lead the Attorney General’s University of Washington Division.
Ikeda, who will assume his new role on Nov. 1, brings 34 years of legal experience in the public and private sectors and was named one of Seattle’s Top Lawyers by Seattle Magazine in 2007.
His achievements include overseeing the legal department of the state’s largest public school district from 2004 until earlier this year and representing the largest managed healthcare network in the Pacific Northwest. But he began his legal career in state government in 1976 as an assistant attorney general under Slade Gorton.
Ikeda and McKenna said they’re excited about his to return to state service and to the University of Washington.
“Gary Ikeda brings a wealth of experience in education and public law, including arguing high-profile cases, as well as a familiarity with the Attorney General’s Office and the University of Washington,” McKenna said.
During Ikeda’s first stint with the Attorney General’s Office, he initially provided legal advice for the Employment Security Department, then to Central Washington University, Bellevue and Seattle community colleges and the University of Washington. He was promoted to senior counsel in the Antitrust Division in 1986.
His first case as an assistant attorney general involved the U.S. Department of Labor. At risk was $175 million in federal money that came to the state in support of the unemployment fund. The question was whether parochial schools were to be included in the program; the state argued that they shouldn’t be taxed. The state’s team worked on the case for a year, coordinated with other states and flew back and forth from Washington, DC. They won.
Ikeda’s career path next led him to the health care industry and 12 years as vice president and general counsel for Group Health Cooperative.
Ikeda returned to the Attorney General’s Office as a deputy attorney general from 1999 to 2001, supervising six divisions: Torts, Consumer Protection, Education, University of Washington, Washington State University and Public Counsel.
He subsequently spent several years representing The Hope Heart Institute, a cardiovascular research organization.
Ikeda is a Husky alum and the first in his family to attend college. He received a Bachelor’s in English, an executive management certificate and his law degree from the UW.
He has a rich history of community service, including among many other volunteer activities, work for the Meany Hall for the Performing Arts, Seattle Central Community College Foundation, Seattle Japanese-American Chamber of Commerce, Tacoma Human Rights Commission and the Washington State Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission.
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Editor's Note: Click to download a high-res version of Gary Ikeda's photo.