Claire Newman

Claire Newman joined the Seattle Office of Kanji & Katzen in 2021 as a Senior Associate. She can be contacted by clicking here:**

Education: Claire earned her B.A. cum laude in Political Science from Carleton College in 2005, where she studied indigenous peoples’ struggle for land and sovereignty in United States, Canada, and Russia and the laws and judicial institutions governing them. In 2012, Claire received her J.D. from the University of Washington School of Law where she was the Managing Editor of the Washington Journal of Environmental Law & Policy.

Prior Experience: Before joining Kanji & Katzen, Claire was a litigation associate in the Native American practice group of a national law firm where she represented tribal clients in federal, state, and tribal court on an array of issues crucial to tribal sovereignty.

Claire spent her law school summers as a law clerk for the Native American Rights Fund and a legal fellow for the Office of U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell. Following law school, Claire served as a law clerk for the Honorable Louis J. Menendez of the Juneau Superior Court and as an extern for the Honorable Judge John C. Coughenour of the Western District of Washington.

Prior to law school, Claire advocated on behalf of tribes and families to hold the state of South Dakota accountable for violations of the Indian Child Welfare Act and to build capacity for tribal foster care programs as the Assistant Director of the Lakota Peoples’ Law Project. Claire also taught middle school for two years on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

Areas of Concentration:  

Claire advises and represents tribal governments on fundamental issues of sovereignty, including:

  • Exercise of treaty hunting and fishing rights;
  • Federal reserved water rights;
  • Alleged waivers of sovereign immunity;
  • Tribal governments’ exercise of regulatory and adjudicatory jurisdiction;
  • The applicability and constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act;

Community Service and Personal Interests:

Claire maintains a robust pro bono practice which includes representation and counsel to tribal members and indigenous organizations, as well as immigrant advocacy groups. Claire served as the Chair of the Washington State Indian Law Section from 2018-2019 and as a Trustee of the Board from 2014-2017. She served on the Board of the Puget Sound Zen Center from 2014-2017 and currently volunteers to improve affordable housing in her community on Vashon Island.

Outside of work, Claire can be found adventuring in the mountains and waterways of the Pacific Northwest with her family, running, traveling, and growing, making and preserving food from her garden.

Bar Memberships:

  • Washington State
  • United States District Court for the District of Columbia
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • Muckleshoot Tribal Court
  • Snoqualmie Tribal Court


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