Councilmember Neal Black was elected to Position 5 on the Kirkland City Council in November 2019 and re-elected in November 2021.
Councilmember Black has been a resident of Kirkland for nearly 25 years, having lived in the Lakeview neighborhood, the Everest neighborhood, and now the Central Houghton neighborhood. For 10 years, he was a fixture at Everest Park where he coached Kirkland American Little League baseball.
Councilmember Black has a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Stanford University and a Juris Doctor degree from Georgetown University. He and his brother were the first in their family to attend a 4-year college. He is a licensed member of the bar in Washington and Oregon. He has taught intellectual property and business law courses at the University of Washington School of Law (2009-2016), Seattle University School of Law (2008), and the Seattle University Albers School of Business and Economics (2007), as an adjunct professor and part-time lecturer.
For over 10 years, Councilmember Black has been a partner at the law firm Adkins Black, where he advises clients in the software technology and interactive entertainment software industries. Before joining Adkins Black, he was Vice President and General Counsel of Square Enix, a global developer and publisher of interactive entertainment software. He also previously served as Vice President and General Counsel of Emergent Payments, a provider of digital payment solutions for the interactive entertainment software industry. He began his legal career as an associate at the Seattle law firm of Perkins Coie in 1998.
Councilmember Black has been involved in public policy and related community service for over 25 years. Since November 2019, he has been a member of the Kirkland City Council. From 2014-2019, he was the chair of the Public Policy Committee of the King County Bar Association, where he is now a member of the Board of Trustees, addressing issues associated with diversity in the legal profession and equal access to justice. Prior to that, from 2007 to 2009, he was a member of the Board of Trustees of Washington Ceasefire, which at that time was the leading organization in Washington advocating for common sense gun safety legislation. Councilmember Black has also worked on public policy for the White House Office on Environmental Policy (1994), the California State Assembly Natural Resources Committee (1993), the US Department of Justice Environmental Enforcement Division (1997), and the Environmental Defense Fund (1996) as a law clerk and intern.
Councilmember Black was born on Adak Island, near the southwestern tip of Alaska's Aleutian Islands. He grew up in a small town in the high desert of Central Oregon, and since 1998 has lived in Kirkland with his wife, two sons, and their pet Havanese.
Current City Council Committee Assignments: Disability Board
Regional Representation: Water Resource Inventory Area Salmon Recovery Council (WRIA 8), Eastside Transportation Partnership (ETP), Sound Cities Association representative to the King County Regional Law, Safety and Justice Committee