The NOAA General Counsel serves as the chief legal officer for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The position of the NOAA General Counsel was established in section 2(e)(1) of Reorganization Plan No. 4 of 1970 that created NOAA.
The General Counsel is appointed by the Secretary of Commerce, with the approval of the President. The Office of the General Counsel provides legal service and guidance for all matters that may arise in the conduct of NOAA's missions. These functions are carried out subject to the overall authority of the General Counsel of the Department of Commerce, as provided in Department Organization Order 10-6.
As can be seen from the organization chart, the NOAA Office of General Counsel is managed by the General Counsel and two Deputy General Counsels and consists of sections throughout the country, headed by section chiefs and deputy section chiefs who supervise offices in Washington, D.C.; Silver Spring, Maryland; Gloucester, Massachusetts; St. Petersburg, Florida; Long Beach, California; Seattle, Washington; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Juneau, Alaska.
The Office of General Counsel includes 113 attorneys, 12 paralegals, and 17 support staff in 12 offices.