Sarah Roubidoux Lawson


Sarah Lawson helps tribal governments and entities nationwide achieve their self-governance and economic development goals while protecting tribal resources and sovereignty. Before joining Schwabe, Sarah spent over 10 years working in tribal government, advising tribal council and tribal departments on a variety of matters including contracts, real estate development and drafting legislation. Sarah’s work is particularly focused on tribal tax and real estate matters, and she is widely regarded as an authority on issues involving Indian trust land.

As a tribal member, Sarah understands the importance of bringing business to Indian Country to strengthen tribal economies. Sarah works with tribal governments and companies doing business with tribes, and assists companies with navigating the unique legal and political framework of Indian country.



  • Accomplished tax planning for the acquisition of a state chartered corporation by a subsidiary of a Section 17 tribal corporation.
  • Advised a tribe on the implementation of tribal environmental enforcement code, including appointment of enforcement staff and establishment of the tribal judiciary.
  • Advised corporation on Indian trust land issues, including lease renewal partition, and fractional interest acquisition.
  • Drafted HEARTH Act leasing code for a tribe, enabling the tribe to grant leases without having to obtain further approval from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
  • Prepared and submitted applications to have tribal fee land taken into trust for submission to the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
  • Drafted tribal site investigation code for environmental emergency response.
  • Assisted tribal radio station with FCC licensing

Memberships & Awards


  • Northwest Indian Bar Association, President
  • National Native American Bar Association
  • National Tribal Land Association
  • Tribal In-House Counsel Association, Secretary
  • King County Bar Association Diversity Committee


  • National Native American Law Students Association, Alumni of the Year (2005)
  • Washington Rising Stars List, Native American Law (2017)

Resources & Ideas


Seminars & Speaking Engagements

What Does the Future Hold for Tribal Governments Under the New Administration? A 2017 Update, May 18, 2017

Negotiating Contracts on Tribal Lands, May 11, 2017, Boise, ID

Taxation on Indian Trust Land, Tribal Land Staff Conference, March 21-23, 2017, Tamaya Resort, New Mexico

Leases on Indian Trust Land and the HEARTH Act, NBI Continuing Legal Ed, Boise, ID

Federal Indian Law
Indian National Finals Rodeo - Las Vegas, Nevada
Nov. 11, 2016

Contracting in Indian Country
NBI Continuing Legal Education
Oct. 22, 2016
Day-long CLE on Indian law and contracting with tribes and tribal organizations.

Rights-of-Ways in Indian Country II
Falmouth Institute
Sept 26-28, 2016
Advanced course on rights-of-way on Indian land, Instructor

Federal Indian Probate, Inheritance, and Cultural Patrimony, ACTEC Rocky Mountain Regional Conference, Park City Utah, Sept. 9, 2016

Tribal Self-Governance
Intertribal Environmental Council Conference - Hard Rock Hotel, Tulsa, OK
July 19-21, 2016

State Taxation of Indian Trust Land; Tulalip Tribes v. Smith – Spokane County Bar Association Indian Law Conference

Rights-of-Way in Indian Country – Idaho State Bar Association Indian Law Section CLE



  • Top 10 Things You Need to Know About the New Rights-of-Ways Regulations on Indian Land
    January 19, 2016

Community Activities

Community Activities

  • President Elect, Northwest Indian Bar Association
  • Board of Directors, Tribal In-House Counsel Association
  • Board of Directors, National Tribal Land Association
  • King County Bar Association Diversity Committee
  • Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, Washington State Judicial Diversity Program
  • Past President, Red Eagle Soaring Native Youth Theater Board of Directors
  • Leadership Tomorrow, Class of 2014
  • Adjunct professor at Seattle University School of Law, Tribal Administration and Tribal Taxation courses, Fall 2016




Arizona Federal District Court

Arizona State Courts

Snoqualmie Tribal Court

Tohono O'Odham Tribal Court

Washington State Courts

Wisconsin State Courts

Outside The Office