Professional Profile

Steve D. Osborne


Steve Osborne joined Hobbs Straus in 2002 as a law clerk, and became an associate in 2003. He works primarily on issues arising from the negotiation, performance, and enforcement of tribal contracts and compacts under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA). He also practices in fields as diverse as finance, trust reform, and litigation. Steve has provided technical support to national tribal-federal work groups addressing contract support costs, data management, and transportation issues.

Steve’s accomplishments include work on a $300 million tribal bond issue that resulted in the financing of a Seneca Nation hotel-casino expansion in Niagara Falls. He assisted in the Firm’s successful litigation which resulted in the recovery of unpaid contract support costs from the federal government for the Seldovia Village Tribe. Steve also helped secure several court rulings interpreting the ISDEAA favorably to tribes. Additionally, he worked on the drafting and approval process for corporate charters, SBA 8(a) status, and 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.

Steve’s published writings explore a wide range of subjects, from Chief Justice Marshall’s Indian law trilogy to Anishinaabe writer Gerald Vizenor’s postmodern fiction. Recent legal publications include “Indian Country and the Nature and Scope of Tribal Self-Government in Alaska,” 22 Alaska Law Review 1 (2005) (with Geoffrey D. Strommer); “Protecting Tribal Stories: The Perils of Propertization,” 28 American Indian Law Review 203 (2003-2004), which won first place in the American Indian Law Review Writing Competition; “Laws Governing Recreational Access to Waters of the Columbia Basin: A Survey and Analysis,” 33 Environmental Law 339 (2003) (with Jennifer Randle and Michael Gambrell); and “Chevron Deference, the Indian Canons, and the Role of Interpretation in Federal Indian Law,” which won first prize in the 2003 New Mexico Bar Indian Law Writing Contest.

Prior to law school, Steve taught literature and writing courses at UCLA, Boise State University, The College of Idaho, and the University of Washington. He also served as the technical editor for the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality. While earning his law degree, he served as a research assistant for the Northwest Water Law & Policy Project, clerked for Hobbs Straus and for a Portland energy law firm, and served as form and style editor for Environmental Law.

Steve and his family enjoy sports, music, theater, and dance. Steve is a guitarist and runner who coaches his daughters’ soccer and basketball teams.

Professional Organizations

Member, Indian Law Section, Oregon State Bar
Member, Environmental & Natural Resources Section, Oregon State Bar
Oregon State Bar Indian Law Section; Environmental Law Section


Lewis & Clark Law School, J.D. (cum laude), 2003
Lewis & Clark Law School, Certificate, Environmental and Natural Resources Law, 2003
University of Washington, Ph.D., 1989; M.A., 1986; B.A. (magna cum laude), 1982

Professional Organizations

Oregon State Bar
Alaska Bar Association
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th and 10th Circuits
U.S. Court of Federal Claims
U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon

Practice Concentration:

Tribal Affairs
Programs & Services
Economic Development