Legal Department Administrator and Executive Assistant - San Francisco Headquarters


Job Title:                    Department Administrator and Executive Assistant

Department:              Legal Operations

Location:                   San Francisco, CA

Reports to:                SVP General Counsel and Corporate Secretary and Senior Counsels

Effort:                         Full Time

FLSA Status:             Non-Exempt

(This is not a dockworker position. It is not covered by the contracts negotiated between the ILWU and PMA.)

Put your experience and talents to work in a role with a unique company - the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA). PMA is a non-profit mutual benefit corporation that serves as a multi-employer collective bargaining agent for approximately 75 shipping lines, stevedore companies and marine terminal operators at California, Oregon and Washington ports. West Coast port operations (including non-containerized cargo such as bulk and autos) now support 9 million U.S. jobs and contribute 12.5 percent of the U.S. GDP.

PMA’s primary purpose is to negotiate and administer labor contracts with the International Longshore & Warehouse Union on behalf of the Association’s member companies, as well as administrating payroll and certain benefits. Our headquarters and administrative office is located in San Francisco, California, with area offices in Southern California (Long Beach, Port Hueneme and San Diego) and the Pacific Northwest (Portland, Oregon and Seattle and Tacoma, Washington) in addition to Northern California (Oakland).


Under the general direction of PMA’s Senior Vice President General Counsel and Secretary and several Senior Counsels, provide high-level, detail-oriented administration of the Company’s Legal Department.  The position provides effective administrative support to the Legal Department, primarily by developing and maintaining efficient systems for matter management (e.g., tracking cases), records management (e.g., keeping case files and organizing knowledge base materials), and document management (e.g., controlling versions) for department records, including corporate records, and documents related to civil litigation and administrative agency charges, chiefly in the field of labor and employment law.  The position supports the Senior Vice President, General Counsel with calendar management and scheduling, travel arrangements and communications, preparation and timely completion of special projects and reports, preparation of highly confidential and sensitive documents, preparing and answering routine and non-routine correspondence, and dealing with a diverse group of external callers as well as internal contacts at all levels of the organization.  This position supports the Senior Counsels with clerical tasks.  The work of the Legal Department is fast-paced and highly complex, and this position performs critical functions.  Success in this position requires owning up to responsibilities, exercising discretion, using good judgment, paying attention to detail, and demonstrating initiative in performing the duties outlined below.

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES include the following.  Additional duties may be assigned.

The major responsibilities that are critical to the role include the following:

  • Develop, organize, and maintain a system for managing all Legal Departmental records. Among other tasks, this includes:
    • Designing and implementing a matter management system for tracking case information and a records management system for organizing and retrieving existing department records, such as litigation records, administrative agency charge records, and corporate documents;
    • Promptly and efficiently entering new information and filing new records upon receipt; and
    • Identifying privileged and/or confidential records and protecting them from unauthorized disclosure.
  • Plan and prepare for PMA Board meetings, Finance Committee meetings, and Membership meetings by, among other things:
    • Maintaining a calendar for meetings;
    • Interacting with staff from PMA and PMA member companies to assist them in their planning and reporting in connection with the meetings;
    • Timely preparing, editing, distributing, and filing meeting minutes, agendas, reports, correspondence, and other materials as needed.
  • Maintain a database and other records related to PMA’s member companies and Board of Directors that includes member-company applications, admissions, agreements, contacts and other information.
  • Prepare documents by transcribing, formatting, copying, inputting edits, and providing version control.
  • Conserve the General Counsel’s and Senior Counsels’ time by being proactive, efficient, and accurate, for example, by reading, researching, and accurately routing correspondence, drafting and/or editing well-formatted, mistake-free letters and other documents, thoroughly collecting and analyzing information, and initiating or thoughtfully responding to communications.
  • Maintain the General Counsel’s schedule by planning and scheduling meetings, conferences, teleconferences, and travel.  For Senior Counsels, provide some of the same functions on a more limited basis.
  • Work with PMA’s Accounting Department to:
    • Receive, process, and ensure timely payment of invoices from Legal Department vendors, which includes maintaining accurate tracking spreadsheets;
    • Timely and accurately provide monthly outside legal estimates to Accounting for accruals, which includes maintaining accurate tracking spreadsheets and sending reminders to vendors;
    • Collect and process approval for Legal Department expenses.
  • Assist the Legal Department in collecting information for purposes of planning and reporting on the Legal Department budgets.
  • Maintain a positive attitude and contribute to a collegial work environment that involves working with PMA staff, PMA member company representatives, outside attorneys and other vendors, and, on occasion, union representatives.  This includes situations in which the Legal Department staff is working under pressure.


To perform the job successfully, the candidate must be knowledgeable and capable in the following areas:

  • Convey a professional and positive attitude, oriented to taking action, solving problems, achieving positive results, continually improving the department’s operational performance, and eliminating clutter and backlogs.
  • Possess proven ability and experience in exercising good judgment and discretion, including in handling confidential materials and matters.
  • Be trustworthy.
  • Have the willingness and ability to learn what PMA and the Legal Department does and acquire sufficient understanding of the types of information and documents the Legal Department generates or receives so the information and documents can be appropriately classified, handled, and stored.
  • Display flexibility to work effectively in a changing environment and ability to adapt to changes in work environment, work assignments, and/or changes in priorities.
  • Be devoted to accuracy and high attention to detail.
  • Follow through to ensure responsibilities are met and tasks are completed in a timely, orderly manner.
  • Take ownership of responsibilities and see large, difficult projects through to the end.
  • Be highly organized and able to improve efficiency and quality by streamlining and maintaining orderly systems and processes.
  • Have effective oral and written business communication skills.
  • Be a Microsoft Office Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, and Excel “Super User”, and both know how to and make a habit of using the advanced formatting features in Word, PowerPoint, and Excel to create and edit professional-looking, usable documents.
  • Have the ability to learn and familiarize oneself with a variety of other PMA and Legal Department electronic resources, including Diligent Boardbooks, Concur, Lotus Notes, and Oracle.
  • Be familiar with travel logistics and planning.
  • Manage time efficiently.
  • Possess an assertive but gracious personality – display personal strength and confidence.


  • Minimum of 4 to 6 years prior experience supporting Senior Level staff and working directly with executive management.
  • 4-year college degree preferred.
  • The successful candidate does not need to be a paralegal, but paralegal or legal secretary/legal assistant experience would be a plus for this position.


The physical demands of this position are typical of those found in an office setting.

  • Must be able to work at a computer terminal for an extended period of time.
  • Must be able to communicate verbally (including on telephone) and in writing, in English.
  • Must be able to lift at least 5 lbs (office supplies and packages) frequently and at least 30 lbs (records boxes) occasionally.
  • Must be able to crouch, bend and reach on a daily basis.
  • Must be able to maintain focus and calm, yet multitask.
  • Must be able to maintain grace under pressure.
  • Must be able to reliably attend office during scheduled business hours.  

Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of the position.


The work environment is that of a typical office setting.  However, the pace can be very hectic at times, particularly when meeting deadlines. The offices are located in downtown San Francisco within easy walking distance of public transportation and the retail center of the city.  Attire is business casual.  Regular business hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  For this position, overtime is occasionally required; however, out-of-town travel is not required.

Pacific Maritime Association is an equal opportunity employer.


Please email your cover letter and resume (in MS Word, PDF, or text format) to:

PMA Human Resources Department                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Email:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Please write “Executive Assistant – Legal Operations – San Francisco” in the subject line.                                                                                                                                                           HR (confidential) Fax:(415) 520-5314.