Johnston George LLP





Kathy George and Scot Johnston’s unique partnership combines nearly 50 years of legal experience. Their expertise spans special education law, disability discrimination and bullying in schools, open government and public records cases, land use law, and business transactions. They aim to help families, individuals, and businesses make informed decisions and assert their rights.
What We Do

  • Business transactions and advice
    Startups and angel and venture investing
    Mergers and acquisitions
    Aircraft finance
    Day-to-day business law advice and management
  • Appellate law
    Appeals of court and agency decisions
    Amicus (“friend of the court”) briefs
  • Education law
    Special education/disability rights
    Bullying, harassment, abuse issues
  • Open government law
    Public Records Act/ Freedom of Information Act
    Open Public Meetings Act
  • Environmental and land use challenges
    Permits/environmental impact statements
    Growth management plans
How We Can Help

We offer experience, insight and a strong commitment to advocating for the interests of our clients. Our unique partnership covers transactional as well as litigation needs.

Contact us for an appointment to discuss what we can do for you.

Kathy has been in private practice for more than 10 years, focusing on administrative and appellate law.

She has represented appellants and amicus parties in dozens of precedent-setting cases. In the civil rights arena, she has extensive experience helping parents improve special education for children with disabilities. She also has substantial experience helping news organizations and citizens exercise their right to know what government agencies are doing, including handling numerous cases under state and federal sunshine laws. Katherine’s practice also has emphasized protecting the environment from harmful developments.

Kathy began her law career in 2005 as a law clerk to the Hon. Gerry Alexander, then chief justice of the Washington Supreme Court. Before practicing law, Katherine worked as a political reporter and assistant city editor at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer for 15 years.

Kathy’s legal work has been recognized with the highest possible Avvo rating (10) and designation as a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers magazine in 2013 and 2015

She frequently speaks at public workshops and legal conferences concerning the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act, the Public Records Act and the Open Public Meetings Act.

Kathy is known as a passionate advocate both in and out of the courtroom. She was instrumental in the passage of House Bill 1240, protecting vulnerable children from excessive physical restraint and isolation in public schools.  She brought a case challenging the constitutionality and legality of state rulemaking in response to the Covid19 pandemic, and has represented a coalition of children’s advocates in the landmark education funding case, McCleary v. State of Washington, advocating for full funding of special education for children with disabilities.

She has worked extensively to protect public access to government records as a board member and legal committee chair of the Washington Coalition for Open Government, and as Gov. Jay Inslee’s appointee on the Sunshine Committee (also called the Washington State Public Records Exemptions Accountability Committee). She is dedicated to serving the community both as an attorney and as a volunteer.


Washington Attorney General’s Open Government Resource Manual, co-editor of 2015 and 2016 updates.

Washington State Bar Association’s Public Records Deskbook (2014), author of statutory interpretation chapter, editor of health records chapters.

Washington State Association for Justice’s Civil Rights Deskbook (2011), associate editor.


Washington Sunshine Committee (Public Records Exemptions Accountability Committee), member from March 2015 to February 2023.

Washington Coalition for Open Government, board member since 2010, legal committee chair since 2012.

Futurewise, former board member.

Attorneys for Education Rights, board member, Vice President and co-founder.

Bellevue Parks and Community Services Board, chair 2015-2016, member 2008-2016.

Washington Autism Alliance & Advocacy, board member 2013 to 2015.

Families for Effective Autism Treatment of Washington, board member 2010 to 2013.

Center for Environmental Law and Policy, board member 2008 to 2010.


Seattle University School of Law, J.D. cum laude

University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism, B.A.


Washington State Bar Association

U.S. District Court, Western Washington

Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals

United States Supreme Court

Over 25 years of experience representing private and public companies, individuals and financial institutions: advising top management on all manner of legal and business issues, and planning, negotiating and executing acquisition, investment, commercial and other business transactions, many of them novel and highly complex.

Transactional work has included mergers and acquisitions of public and private companies, venture capital and other equity investments, aircraft leasing and financing, project financings, private placements, international transactions and sovereign debt trading.


Dorsey & Whitney, Seattle. Partner.

Bogle & Gates, Seattle. Partner.

Davis Polk & Wardwell, New York City. Associate


Seattle Tennis Club President, Vice President, Treasurer, Board Member, Chair of numerous committees.

Crystal Mountain Alpine Club Director, Governance Committee Chair.

Attorneys for Education Rights Director, Secretary, Treasurer.

Epiphany Parish, Seattle. Vestryman.


Harvard Law School, J.D. cum laude.
Chairman, Lincoln’s Inn Society.
Editor, Harvard Computer-Aided Legal Instruction Project.

Yale University, B.A. magna cum laude with Distinction in the History Major.
Legislative Intern, Senator Lowell Weicker
Editor-in-Chief, The Yale Record, the nation’s oldest college humor magazine

Bellevue High School, Bellevue, Washington, Honors graduate.


Member of New York Bar and Washington State Bar Association.

Instructor and panel participant for continuing legal education seminars on commercial law and aircraft finance.

Represented Boyne USA in its acquisition of Crystal Mountain, Inc., a publicly-held company, in a unique tax-driven deal involving a first-step corporate reorganization through an elective cash/in-kind dividend, followed by a reverse triangular merger

Advised The Boeing Company regarding a proposed $100 million investment in a technology company; advised Deutsche Bank AG regarding a $40 million investment in a software developer

Provided intensive general counsel representation to a technology start-up company over a period of several years, including the full range of business issues such as: capital structure, executive employment, terminations and associated litigation, licensing and five acquisitions (variously: attempted, failed, unwound and completed)

Negotiated the settlement of a dispute and litigation between an Internet entrepreneur and a software developer arising from the software company’s failure to perform obligations under its development and consulting agreement

Represented the lender financing an individual’s acquisition of a new wide body airliner for use as a personal jet and by professional sports teams owned by the buyer

Negotiated leases, operating agreements and associated arrangements for official transportation at both the Republican and Democratic national conventions using environmentally-friendly natural gas fueled vehicles

Represented a real estate developer in a $65 million refinancing of a financially-troubled shopping center, using a bankruptcy remote structure; completing the deal in 11 days from first term sheet to closing, thereby allowing the client to take out the previous senior lender at a discount in excess of 30%

Ongoing general representation of a Pacific Northwest “family office” over a period of years, advising on corporate, real estate, investment and personal matters

Represented a wealthy European venture capital and “angel” investor in a number of transactions associated with Washington State, including potential investments and personal matters

Advised an international businessman and investor based in Australia regarding several purchases and sales of private jets and arrangements for the operation thereof

Represented the acquiror, one of multiple shareholders in a multi-generation family company, in a unique transaction in which he exchanged his minority interest in the family business for 100% ownership of one of its operating units

Negotiated the dry lease of a Lockheed Hercules cargo aircraft for a shipping and logistics company located in Washington State

Represented a Japanese trading company, acting as an intermediary between the Japanese Ministry of Defense and a U.S. manufacturer, in a novel structure to permit it to extend approximately $600 million of purchase-money financing while complying with Japanese regulation and business customs

Negotiated the early termination of numerous aircraft leases, some in default, on behalf of a troubled lessee

Represented the lessee in a $48 million leveraged synthetic lease of aircraft, funded in the commercial paper market, with a bank liquidity facility to be funded in the interbank Eurodollar market

Invented a “forward purchase agreement” structure to permit Latin American companies to retire or refinance debt with credit extended by a New York money center bank, and effected its first use in a $670 million transaction

Represented a department store chain in the acquisition of a point-of-sale system and negotiated associated agreements and arrangements, including software license, limited source code license, equipment purchase etc.

Advised a freight forwarding company regarding air cargo (ACMI) agreements generally; created standard form of agreement for use with long- and short-term contractors

Represented a regional retail chain in the $71 million acquisition of a significant competitor, structuring the transaction as a tax-free reorganization while allowing the target to spin off undeveloped real property and maximizing cash to the target shareholders

Negotiated senior secured and subordinated multi-currency debt financing in connection with an acquisition of several companies in Europe

Executed over 30 syndicated loan transactions for a New York money-center bank, providing more than $9 billion of credit to manufacturers, consumer products companies, railroads, airlines, insurance companies, financial institutions, retailers, construction companies, management consultants, not-for-profits, individuals, entertainment companies, equipment wholesalers, software developers, oil companies and others

Represented a New York money-center bank in the creation of a $2 billion “bank liquidity facility” in which our client extended credit to a regional bank secured by its entire portfolio of thousands of mortgages and automobile loans in two states, thereby ensuring the regional bank would have sufficient liquidity to forestall regulatory action against it

Advised a major European bank in connection with the attempted workout of a $300 million syndicated credit facility for a 67-store department store chain

Acted as counsel and advised one of the largest international aircraft leasing companies regarding its purchase of multiple aircraft from The Boeing Company, and related financings

Talk to Us

PHONE: 206-832-1820

FAX: 206-770-6393

2800 First Avenue, Suite 226
Seattle, Washington 98121-1182

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