Debora G. Juarez
Two Union Square
601 Union Street, Suite 4100
Seattle, WA 98101
Debora Juarez is a member in Williams Kastner's Seattle office. With a unique and vast experience building relationships with Washington state's Indian tribes, Ms. Juarez concentrates her practice on providing legal and financial counsel to tribes in the areas of debt financing, corporate structure, economic development, natural resources, gaming, tribal-state inter-local agreements, among others.
Ms. Juarez began her career as a King County public defender where she provided legal representation to indigent criminal defendants. This practice required extensive trial and appellate expertise in the areas of misdemeanor and felony crimes, including juvenile representation. Later, she joined Evergreen Legal Services, Native American Project, where she represented a majority of Washington's 29 tribes in such areas as treaty rights, natural resources, Indian Child Welfare, and economic development.
After serving as an appellate and trial judge pro-tem, she was appointed a judgeship to the King County Superior Court. Ms. Juarez performed all duties as judge, including presiding over both felony criminal and civil trials. Thereafter, she accepted the position of executive director of the Governor's Office of Indian Affairs, where she acted as lead policy and legal advisor under two gubernatorial administrations.
Ms. Juarez worked extensively with both state and tribal governments regarding economic diversity and initiated the Tribal Economic Vitality Initiative (TEVI). The TEVI project culminated in a historic (regionally and nationwide) tribal-state economic development study entitled The Tiller Report. The report has undergone two printings and continues to serve as an important and powerful economic analysis regarding the tribes of Washington state and ongoing economic contributions to the state economy.
As such, she was offered the opportunity to create a Tribal Finance Group with a global investment firm. The Tribal Finance Group was a new undertaking for this major Wall Street firm and proved successful by providing tribes with first-rate financial advice and planning tailored to the needs of tribal governments and enterprises.
Ms. Juarez also provides legal skills to the corporate and investments communities that do business with tribes by providing an experienced, knowledgeable and stable platform to support successful tribal economic development.
In 2009 and 2010, Ms. Juarez was named to Super Lawyers by Washington Law & Politics magazine. She was also named one of the "Top Lawyers" of 2007 by Seattle Magazine, and in June 2007 she was honored with the "Enduring Spirit Award" by the Native Action Network for her lifetime achievements in bettering Native American communities. In 2012, Ms. Juarez was selected by her peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® in the area of Native American Law. Ms. Juarez was also awarded the Alumni Service Award by the Seattle University School of Law Alumni Association in 2013. She is an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Nation and lives in Seattle with her two daughters Raven and Memphis.
- Former King County Superior Court Judge; Judicial experience, presiding over civil and felony criminal cases at trial level, general jurisdiction court. Served on Rules Committee, Appellate Committee, and Community Relations/Access to Justice Committee.
- Executive Director, Governor’s Office of Indian Affairs, Legal and Policy Advisor for two state administrations (Governors Lowry and Locke, executive agencies and 27 federally recognized Indian tribes), handling complex litigation, compacts, and lobbying efforts.
- Development of financial programs and services for Indian Country, including tax- exempt financing (bond financing), tribal investment portfolios and investment banking.
- Legal and policy counsel involving Indian tribes, including economic development, natural resources, energy, state and federal regulatory matters (tax issues,administrative reviews), and Indian health.
- Complex federal litigation regarding treaty rights, natural resources and constitutional claims.
- Legal representation of eligible tribal governments in areas including general treaty rights, jurisdiction, taxation, natural and cultural resource protection and child welfare.
- Representation of indigent criminal defendants in Misdemeanor, Juvenile and Adult felony criminal proceedings.
- "Opening the Doors Wide for Native Athletes," Indian Country Today, July 1, 2009.
- "State sues tribe over reburial," The Seattle Times, October 5, 2005.
- Co-Author, "Kinship Commerce: New Developments in Inter-Tribal Trade," Indian Country Today, December 5, 2008.
- Indian Law Newsletter version, WSBA Section of Indian Law, November 2008.
- Co-Author, "Don't turn a blind eye to theft in Indian Country," Indian Country Today, October 4, 2006.
- Co-Author, "Leveraging Tribal Sovereign Economic Advantages to Attract Private Investment in Indian Country," Indian Country Today, May 11, 2005.
- Co-Presenter, “Social Media and Tribes,” 2013 Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians Mid-Year Meeting, Spokane, WA, May 13, 2013.
- Speaker, "Reconnecting Economies: Indigenous Networks and Commerce," Annual Native American Law Conference, University of Idaho College of Law, Moscow, ID, March 25, 2011.
- Speaker, “Gender Justice and Indian Sovereignty: Native American Women and the Law,” 10th Anniversary Women and the Law Conference (WLC 2011), San Diego, CA, February 18, 2011.
- Speaker, “Defining our Future - Tribal Sovereignty,” 7th Annual Native Women’s Leadership Forum & Enduring Spirit Awards, Tulalip, WA, September 27, 2010.
- Speaker, "Tax-Exempt Economic Development Bonds & Related Tribal Financing Opportunities," Picture This!, Williams Kastner, Seattle, WA, September 15, 2009.
- Panelist, "Re-Establishing Inter-Tribal Trade Ties," Nez Perce Economic Summit, Lewiston, ID, September 10, 2009.
- Co-Chair, 8(a) Contracting & Economic Stimulus Program, Williams Kastner, Seattle, WA, June 8, 2009.
- Co-Chair, Indian Country Goes Pro!, Williams Kastner, Seattle, WA, May 15, 2009.
- Panelist, “How Native American Group (NAG) N2N Process Works,” Reservation Economic Summit 2009, Las Vegas, NV, March 10, 2009.
- Panel Speaker, “Economic Development: Diversifying the Tribes Assets,” Northwest Indian Gaming Conference & Expo, Tacoma, Washington, July 26, 2005.
- Co-Presenter, “Contracting with Gaming Tribes & Dealing with Tribal Gaming Agencies,” Northwest Gaming Law Conference, Seattle, Washington, December 7, 2004.
- Co-Presenter, “Development on Tribal Lands,” Real Estate Development Incentives, Seattle, Washington, November 10, 2004.
- Speaker, “Tribal Financing In the New Millennium: Traditional Borrowing, Bond Issuance & Conduit Financing” WSBA Indian Law Section, 16th Annual Indian Law CLE: The Changing Dynamic of Indian Law in the Pacific Northwest, May 7, 2004.
- Speaker at the Committee Forum: “Hot Topics in Indian Gaming,” American Bar Association Business Law Section, 2004 Spring Meeting, Seattle, Washington, April 2, 2004.
- Washington State Bar Association (Trustee, Indian Law Section)
- Northwest Indian Bar Association (Founding member)
- Washington State Hispanic Bar Association (Founding Board member)
- United Indian All Tribes Foundation (Board Member)
- Seattle Indian Services Commission (Commissioner)