Charlene is a seasoned litigator with an extensive appellate practice representing public and private clients in federal, state, and administrative proceedings. She has experience with a wide variety of environmental, land use, and Indian country statutes, and has a special interest in the intersection of Native American law, environmental law, and public health.
Prior to joining Van Ness Feldman, Charlene served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Appellate Section of the Western District of Washington, where she represented the United States before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in a wide range of criminal and civil matters. Before her government experience, she practiced for several years in the Seattle office of a large international law firm, where she represented clients in complex civil litigation and criminal investigations and was recognized for her pro bono service, which involved matters related to human rights, asylum, and tribal affairs. In addition, Charlene served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Richard C. Tallman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
During law school, Charlene completed a health-law concentration track and served as a fellow in the policy division of the Washington State Health Care Authority. She also served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Washington Law Review, which, during her tenure, dedicated an issue to the intersection of climate change and human rights and partnered to host an international conference on that subject. Charlene’s law review article challenging the Supreme Court’s reliance on demographics to determine questions of Indian reservation diminishment also won the award for outstanding student article published that year.
Before becoming an attorney, Charlene spent nearly a decade as a print journalist specializing in social issues and health care, and also worked for several years as a junior high band director. In her free time, she enjoys backpacking, bird watching, and writing fiction.