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Sara Kobak

Overview

Clients facing high-stakes appellate litigation turn to Sara Kobak for experienced representation and compelling advocacy. Sara has handled appeals in diverse subject areas, including commercial disputes, insurance issues, energy and utility sector disputes, tort claims, administrative appeals, and constitutional law issues. She regularly practices before the Oregon Court of Appeals, the Oregon Supreme Court, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and has assisted with U.S. Supreme Court certiorari and merits briefing.

In addition to her appellate practice, Sara helps develop legal arguments and strategy for state and federal trial and administrative proceedings. Her knowledge of the law and the appellate process positions cases for early resolution and successful outcomes. Sara regularly works with trial teams to preserve issues for appeal and to protect trial victories.

Before joining Schwabe, Sara served for three years as judicial clerk for then-Chief Justice Wallace P. Carson, Jr. of the Oregon Supreme Court. Sara maintains an active pro bono practice and has recently been involved in a post-conviction death-penalty proceeding in Louisiana. 

Experience

Experience

  • Represented an individual homeowner in an appeal successfully reversing the jury verdict in an insurance coverage dispute to secure $12.5 million in coverage benefits for the client (Masood v. Safeco Ins. Co., 2015).
  • Represented an investor-owned utility in an appeal successfully defeating challenges to prior federal administrative decisions under the Northwest Power Act (Public Power Council v. United States Dept. of Energy, 2015).
  • Represented a group of employers and employees challenging application of Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes to nonimmigrant alien workers in Northern Marianas Islands (American Pac. Textile, Inc. v. United States, 2015, decision reported in related appeal at Ai v. United States, 2015).
  • Represented a company in an appeal successfully defending a favorable court decision after trial concerning a multi-million-dollar easement and contract rights (Cascade Pac. Pulp, LLC v. Georgia-Pacific Consumer Prods. LP, 2014).
  • Represented an investor-owned utility in an appeal successfully defeating challenges to Bonneville Power Administration’s final decisions on multi-billion-dollar settlement securing benefits for utility customers under the Residential Exchange Program of Northwest Power Act (Ass’n of Pub. Agency Customers v. Bonneville Power Admin, 2013).
  • Represented an industry association as amicus curiae in an appeal on questions of law certified to the Oregon Supreme Court on Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS) and the Oregon Trust Deed Act (Brandrup v. ReconTrust Co., N.A., 2013).
  • Represented an industry association as amicus curiae in an appeal concerning the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program and land title issues (Nordbye v. BRCP/GM Ellington, 2012).
  • Represented a defendant in an appeal successfully defending a summary judgment decision dismissing a construction breach-of-action action (Pincetich v. Nolan, 2012).
  • Represented a water company in an appeal challenging an amendment to a water-rights permit (Pete’s Mt. Homeowners Ass’n v. Or. Water Res. Dep’t., 2010).
  • Assisted with briefing before the U.S. Supreme Court at both the certiorari and merits stages  and on remand in Ninth Circuit (Hall Street Associates, LLC v. Mattel, Inc., 2008).

Memberships & Awards

Memberships

  • American Bar Association, Council of Appellate Lawyers
  • American Bar Association, Section of Environment, Energy and Resources
  • Oregon Association of Defense Counsel
  • Oregon State Bar Appellate Practice Section
  • Oregon Women Lawyers
  • Defense Research Institute (DRI), Appellate Advocacy Committee 
  • American Constitution Society for Law and Policy

Awards

  • Lewis and Clark Law School, Cornelius Honor Society 
  • Lewis and Clark Law School, Pro Bono Honors

Resources & Ideas

Seminars & Speaking Engagements

Panel Moderator, “Appeals of Arbitration Awards,” DRI Appellate Advocacy Seminar (2016)

Panel Moderator, “Introduction to the New Judges on the Oregon Court of Appeals,” OSB Appellate Practice Section (2014)

Co-presenter, “Legal Writing,” Oregon State Bar, Opportunities for Law in Oregon Program (2013)

Co-presenter, “What's Next? From the Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court, Appellate Tips for Litigators,” Oregon Law Institute of Lewis and Clark Law School (2012)

Co-presenter, “Preservation of Error for Appeal,” Multnomah Bar Association (2011)

Co-author, “Chief Justice Wallace P. Carson, Jr.: Contributions to Oregon Law,” Willamette Law Review (2007)

Author, “State Court Action Is Not Precluded by Previous Federal Court Action Involving Same Claim,” Oregon Association of Defense Counsel (Summer 2009)

Community Activities

Community Activities

  • Oregon State Bar Appellate Practice Section, Treasurer and Member of Executive Committee
  • Oregon Rules of Appellate Procedure Committee, Member
  • Oregon Women Lawyers, Board of Directors 
  • Oregon State Bar Legal Services Program, Committee Member
  • Defense Research Institute (DRI) Appellate Advocacy Leadership Committee, Chair of Pro Bono Appeals
  • Oregon Association of Defense Counsel, Case Notes Editor
  • Ninth Circuit Pro Bono Program, Volunteer Attorney
  • Campaign for Equal Justice, Former Associates Committee Member

Services

Education

Admissions

Oregon State Courts

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

United States District Court for the District of Oregon

United States Supreme Court

Outside The Office