Sara Sayles


The best parts of being an attorney are learning and ‎working with people. Each transaction grants additional ‎insight into people’s motivations, community issues, and ‎the impact of government.‎

How I represent clients at Schwabe

Unlike many real estate practitioners, I have experience appearing in court and before administrative bodies in multiple jurisdictions. This background informs my ability to navigate the intricacies of contractual documents to minimize risk and increase client benefits. I regularly advise developers, ‎landowners, and landlords on real estate transactions and commercial leasing matters. Through the course of every representation, I build relationships with ‎clients to understand their objectives and strategically ‎meet their goals.‎

In correlation with my real estate practice, I focus on utility-scale renewable energy development. I assist my clients with all phases of development, beginning with site control, obtaining land use entitlements, and negotiating ancillary agreements. I have obtained land use entitlements on behalf of developers for over 30 Oregon solar projects. I ‎also assist my clients in navigating construction finance transactions and the purchase and sale of energy ‎project portfolios.‎ I am active in the renewable energy community and have sat on the Board of the Oregon Solar + Storage Industries Association (OSSIA) for the past several years.

Early in my legal career, I was an Assistant Attorney General for the American Samoa Office of the ‎Attorney General. There, I worked with the U.S. Department of Labor to bring the territorial government ‎into compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act. I also acted as in-house counsel to various government ‎departments. Prior to my time in American Samoa, I represented California hospitals and inpatient ‎psychiatric facilities in medical malpractice actions. In my time as a litigator, I regularly appeared in state, federal and bankruptcy courts. My background in multiple ‎jurisdictions helps me to pivot quickly to address a broad range of client needs.‎

Chambers & Partners USA, client highlights

Sara is great to work with. She is extremely responsive and easy to reach, and provides great advice.”


  • Represented utility in multi-state conveyance of land and associated energy generation facilities.
  • Assisted international renewable energy developer in obtaining site control via ground leases, lease options, and easements over thousands of acres for development of combined solar, wind, and battery storage projects.
  • Advised non-profits and landowners in drafting and negotiation of cell tower leases and associated easements.
  • Represented numerous utility-scale solar developers, in both traditional solar and agrivoltaics, in obtaining necessary entitlements at county and state levels.
  • Advised local, national, and international wind energy and battery energy storage system (BESS) developers on site control and permitting matters.
  • Negotiated with state agencies on behalf of municipal entity to develop electric vehicle project.
  • Advised and consulted with landowners and commercial developers on real estate and land use matters, including a variety of real estate transactions, zoning analyses, and obtaining land use entitlements.
  • Performed due diligence for real estate transactions, including review of title reports, escrow documents, closing documents, deeds, easements, legal descriptions, environmental reviews, and surveys.
  • Negotiated and prepared commercial leases, ground leases, property sale agreements, deeds, and contracts.
  • Provided municipal government advice, including drafting and amendment of policies and resolutions, research and analysis of complex legal issues, and drafting and negotiation of agreements and contracts.


  • University of Colorado, Boulder, Bachelor of Arts degree, Environmental Studies (2002)‎
  • Lewis & Clark, Law School, Juris Doctor degree (2008)‎


  • California Federal Court
  • California State Courts
  • High Court of American Samoa
  • Oregon Federal Court
  • Oregon State Courts
  • Washington State Courts
  • Washington Federal Courts


  • Oregon Solar + Storage Industries Association, Board Member (2019-present)
  • Urban Land Institute (ULI), Member, Women’s Initiative Committee (2018-present)
  • Women in Commercial Real Estate (CREW), Member, Networking Committee (2018-present)
  • Oregon Women Lawyers, Member (2013-present)
  • The Foundation for Natural Resource and Energy Law, Member (2024-present)
  • Rose Villa, Inc. and Rose Villa Foundation, Board Member (2019-2021)


  • Ranked for Real Estate in Oregon, Chambers USA (2024)
  • Selected to Oregon Super Lawyers “Rising Star” List (2019-2020)
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch® in America, Land Use and Zoning Law (2021-2024)

Additional Publications

“The CARES Act: Intersection Between Real Estate and Bankruptcy”
August 2020

“The CARES Act: Effects on Residential and Multifamily Borrowers and Tenants”
July 2020

“The CARES Act: Effects on Commercial Landlords”
June 2020

Additional Events

Energy Storage and the Inflation Reduction Act
2022 Oregon Solar + Storage Conference
November 2, 2022

Nuisances: More than Just Irritating
Community Associations Institute Law Day
February 2021

Ask an Attorney Panel
Community Associations Institute – Central Oregon Regional Chapter
February 2021

Real Estate Case Law Update
Oregon State Bar Real Estate and Land Use Section Webinar
August 2020

Community Activities

  • Legal Aid Services of Oregon, Senior Law Project, Volunteer (2016-2020)

Outside Interests

Finding outdoor adventures with my friends and family.

Sara Sayles Outside the Office

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