Professional Profile

Starla K. Roels


Starla Roels has been working on Indian law issues for over 20 years. She joined Hobbs Straus in 1999 and advises tribal clients on a wide range of health-care issues, including patient privacy and security of medical records, patient eligibility, health care fraud and abuse, third-party billing practices, and entering innovative partnerships for increased access to health services in Indian communities. She has extensive experience negotiating contracts, compacts, and funding agreement with the Indian Health Service and other federal agencies under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA).

She also helps tribal clients with employment policies and procedures, personnel matters, personal services contracts, governmental approaches to labor, and natural and treaty-reserved resources. She currently serves on Hobbs Straus’ health care practice group and environmental and natural resources law practice group.

Starla has made numerous presentations on matters relating to health-care, such as on the Indian Health Care Improvement Act and innovative ways to finance tribal health facilities. She has also presented on environmental issues such as tribal rights relative to the Endangered Species Act and water marketing options. She co-wrote “Tribal Sovereign Authority and Self-Regulation of Health Care Services: The Legal Framework and the Swinomish Tribe’s Dental Health Program,” 21 J. Health Care L. & Policy 115 (2019), as well as wrote a number of other articles such as “HIPAA and Patient Privacy: Tribal Policies As Added Means For Addressing Indian Health Disparities,” 31 American Indian Law Rev. 1 (2006-2007); and “Borrowing Instead of Taking: How the Seemingly Opposite Threads of Indian Treaty Rights and Property Rights Activism Could Intertwine to Restore Salmon to the Rivers,” 28 Environmental Law 375(1998).

Prior to joining Hobbs Straus, Starla was a policy analyst with the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, where she focused on treaty-reserved fishing rights and the impacts on those rights caused by hydroelectric dams. She worked with the Commission’s treaty tribes on hydroelectric relicensing and other matters before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and on negotiations for the Mid-Columbia Habitat Conservation Plan.

Starla’s interests include bird watching, sea kayaking, nature photography, reading historical fiction and Shakespeare, as well as traveling and learning about new languages and cultures.

Professional Organizations

Oregon State Bar Indian Law and Health Law Sections
American Bar Association Health Law Section and Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities
Chair, Executive Committee, Oregon State Bar Indian Law Section (2002)


Northwestern School of Law of Lewis & Clark College, J.D., 1996
Lewis & Clark Cornelius Honor Society
Arizona State University, B.A. (cum laude), 1992

Bar Admissions

United States District Court, District of Oregon
9th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States Supreme Court

Practice Concentration:

Tribal Affairs
Self-Determination & Self-Governance
Programs & Services
Natural Resources