Main Menu
Date: August 10, 2016
GSB Press Release

Sara Sandford has extensive experience working with clients from around the world in all stages of establishing, acquiring and operating businesses across borders, particularly from Japan, Canada and other Pacific Rim countries

SEATTLE (August 10, 2016) Garvey Schubert Barer today announced that Sara P. Sandford has been elected as the Chair of the American Bar Association Section of International Law for a one-year term. As Chair, Ms. Sandford is the leader of the Section.  She will preside at meetings of the Section membership, Executive Committee, Administration Committee and Council.  In cooperation with the Council and Administration Committee, the Chair also appoints all leaders of Section committees and plans and supervises the activities of the Section during her term and is the Section’s chief communications officer.

“I look forward to continuing my work with this impressive organization,” said Sandford. “Contributing to the work of the ABA’s Section of International Law continues to be an honor.  It is an incredibly rewarding experience, and provides opportunities to collaborate with dedicated colleagues around the globe, who are working to promote the development and practice of international law and the rule of law.  It has also afforded me greater understanding of many global issues, which helps in advising my cross-border clients in the challenges they face every day.”

Concurrent with her term as Chair of the Section, she will serve as a Board Member of the ABA’s Rule of Law Initiative.  “In times such as these, promoting and supporting rule of law efforts seems essential and I am honored to play my small part in the ABA’s efforts through both ABA ROLI and the ABA Section of International Law,” reports Sandford. 

In her law practice at Garvey Schubert Barer, Sandford has had extensive experience working with clients in all stages of establishing, acquiring and operating businesses across borders. Her practice focuses on representing Japanese, Canadian and Chinese companies and individuals in their business activities in the U.S, and on advising U.S. clients concerning business activities in Japan, Canada, China and other Pacific Rim countries. Within the U.S. - Japan context, for example, Sandford has worked with clients in the formation, implementation and dissolution stages of joint ventures in industries ranging from livestock-exporting, to sports equipment to internet entertainment and high-technology.

Prior to being named as Chair of the ABA Section of International Law, Sandford held other Section posts, including Chair-Elect, Finance and Diversity Officer, which have given her a strong understanding for the internal, practical functioning of the organization.

Founded in 1933, the American Bar Association Section of International Law is a leader in the development of policy in the international arena, the promotion of the rule of law and the education of international law practitioners. It is the only ABA entity that focuses on the full range of international legal issues and is involved in a wide variety of substantive legal activities. To address its mission, “to advance the rule of law in the world,” the Section has assigned over 60+ regional and special interest committees, task forces and working groups within twelve divisions to closely monitor and disseminate information on domestic and international policy developments that impact the practice of law on a global scale. The Section's current membership of roughly 20,000 spans over 90 countries.

The mission of ABA ROLI is to promote justice, economic opportunity and human dignity through the rule of law. ABA ROLI’s overseas work is supported by legal research and assessments. ABA ROLI has conducted over 80 assessments in more than 30 countries.  Their research and assessment tools are publicly available and are frequently relied upon by local reformers, technical assistance providers, international donors and scholars around the globe.

In addition to her experience with the ABA Section of International Law, Sandford has served in a variety of capacities at Garvey Schubert Barer, including her current role as Chair of their International Group, as well as past service as the firm's Seattle office managing director and Business Group Chair. Sandford was the Chair of the Japan-America Society of the State of Washington in 2002-2003 and has served either on the organization's board or in an executive capacity for over twenty years. Sandford worked with the Japanese law firm Matsuo & Kosugi in 1982 and again from 1986 to 1988. Sandford speaks, reads and writes Japanese, which gives her the unique ability to analyze and explain complex American and Japanese legal issues in both Japanese and English. She received her law degree from Columbia University and her undergraduate degree in Japan Regional Studies from the University of Washington. She is a frequent guest lecturer and has published extensively in peer-review legal publications and top-tier business magazines.

About Garvey Schubert Barer

Garvey Schubert Barer provides results-oriented legal counsel to help our clients solve problems, create new opportunities and mitigate risk. The firm is known for taking a holistic approach to managing clients’ needs, whether they are established market leaders, newly launched enterprises, or governmental bodies. Our attorneys have deep industry experience and a broad understanding of current and emerging issues. GSB has offices in Anchorage, Beijing, New York, Portland, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. More information is available at

Media Contact:
John Williams for Garvey Schubert Barer, (206) 625-0075 x1

Back to Page