Claire Newman focuses her practice on representing tribes in litigation and advocacy at the state and federal level. Among other issues, Ms. Newman has assisted client tribes in matters involving sovereign immunity, water rights, self-determination, treaty rights, Indian child welfare, climate change, and race discrimination.
Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Newman served as a law clerk to the Honorable Louis J. Menendez at the Juneau Superior Court and as a judicial extern to the Honorable John Coughenour at the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. In March 2016, Ms. Newman served as a special deputy prosecutor in the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office where she co-tried a felony jury trial.
While in law school, Ms. Newman was the Managing Editor of the Washington Journal of Environmental Law & Policy. She was also the University of Washington fellow for Senator Maria Cantwell and a law clerk at the Native American Rights Fund in Boulder, Colorado.
Prior to attending law school, Ms. Newman assisted families and tribes in South Dakota to assert their rights under the Indian Child Welfare Act and to build capacity within tribal child welfare systems. Additionally after her undergraduate studies, Ms. Newman taught middle school on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
Ms. Newman was recognized as a Washington “Rising Star” for Native American Law in 2017, 2018, and 2019 by Super Lawyers magazine.
Represent Indian tribe in Washington State in ongoing treaty fishing rights litigation (U.S. v. Washington).
Obtained a denial of certiorari from the United States Supreme Court ensuring that an Arizona Court of Appeals decision, requiring a father to provide “active efforts” to mother under the Indian Child Welfare Act, 25 U.S.C. § 1912, would stand. S.S. v. Stephanie H., 241 Ariz. 419, 388 P.3d 569 (Ct. App.), review denied (Apr. 18, 2017), cert. denied sub nom. S.S. v. Colorado River Indian Tribes, 138 S. Ct. 380 (2017).
Obtained a denial of certiorari from the United States Supreme Court ensuring that a Utah Supreme Court decision holding that federal law applied to the definition of “parent” under the Indian Child Welfare Act, 25 U.S.C. § 1903 and that an unwed Indian father who had not been notified of his child’s birth or adoption had the right to intervene in adoption proceedings. Matter of Adoption of B.B., 2017 UT 59, cert. denied sub nom. R.K.B. v. E.T., No. 17-942, 2018 WL 1460788 (U.S. Mar. 26, 2018).
Represented the Snoqualmie Tribe in breach of contract litigation related to excavation work for the Tribe’s new administration building. On September 10, 2015, victory was secured for the Snoqualmie Tribe.
Reversed an order placing an Indian child with non-Indian family off the reservation resulting in the return of the child to his Grandparents who had raised him since birth.
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University of Washington School of Law, J.D. (2012)
Carleton College, B.A., Political Science (2005) cum laude
Juneau Superior Court - Honorable Louis J. Menendez (Aug 2012-Oct 2013)
Washington State Bar Indian Law Section, Chair
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