Sarah Swale

Shareholder | Seattle | 206.223.7946 |

Areas of Practice

Sarah Swale focuses her practice on employment litigation and counseling. She defends clients against EEOC claims, discrimination, harassment, hostile work environment and wrongful termination in violation of public policy claims. Sarah also advises employers regarding compliance with federal and state employment laws, provides management training on compliance with anti-harassment and leave laws, reviews employee handbooks and personnel policies, and prepares separation and release agreements. As the Chair of Lane Powell’s Wage and Hour Group, she also advises employers on compliance with federal and state wage and hour laws and assists employers responding to DOL and LNI audits. Sarah is also an active member of the Firm’s Long Term Care and Seniors Housing Client Service Team.

For more than ten years, Sarah has served as Regional Counsel for Aetna in all of its ERISA and non-ERISA benefit claims. She also has represented Unum, MetLife and Life Insurance Company of America in ERISA life, health and disability litigation. Some of her representative cases include:

  • Abou-Zaki v. Archer Life Ins. Co., (W. D. WA 2014) (Summary judgment of all disability claims, applying de novo review)
  • Cotey v. Cigna Group and Lina, (W.D. WA 2011) (Order granting protective order precluding broad discovery in ERISA)
  • Davis v. Boeing Company and Aetna Life Ins. Co., 2012 WL 12282283 (W.D.Wash. 2012) (ERISA review standard established)

Admitted to Practice

  • Washington
  • U.S. District Court, Western Washington
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern Washington


  • Willamette University (J.D., magna cum laude, 1999)
    • Willamette Law Review, Associate Editor (1997-1999)
  • University of Puget Sound (B.A., summa cum laude, 1996)
    • Phi Beta Kappa

Lane Powell Practice Group and Specialty Team Memberships

  • Chair, Wage and Hour
  • Health Care
  • Life, Health, Disability and ERISA
  • Labor and Employment
  • Senior Living and Long Term Care Client Team
  • Privacy and Data Security


  • “What Employers Need to Know NOW About Washington State’s Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave Laws,” Lane Powell Legal Update, Co-author (November 23, 2016)
  • “Employers Prepare for the Big Impact of White-Collar Exemption Reform,” Puget Sound Business Journal Best Practices for Best Employers™: How to Become a Best Workplace Starting Today Special Insert, Co-author (August 21, 2015)
  • “Avoiding Personal Liability: Don’t Forget to Budget for Employee Wages,” Puget Sound Business Journal Startups and Emerging Companies: Kick-start Your New Year Special Insert, Co-author (October 31, 2014)
  • “Staying Competitive in the LTC Industry While Avoiding Misclassification Under the FLSA,” American Health Lawyers Association’s LTC-SIR Advisor, Volume 16, Issue 2, Co-author (November 2013)
  • “How to Avoid Getting Caught in the Undertow of the Recent Class Action Tidal Wave,” Issues and Answers magazine, Washington Bankers Association, Co-author (January/February 2013)
  • “Do I Need to Pay My Employees for Training Time?” Puget Sound Business Journal ADR and Litigation Q&A Column Titled “Ask the Legal Professionals” (February 24, 2012)
  • “Ouch! Social Media Crashes into Medical Privacy Rules,” Puget Sound Business Journal, Quoted (September 2, 2011)
  • “In Wage Disputes, Compliance is the Best Defense,” Puget Sound Business Journal (October 3, 2010)

Speaking Engagements

  • “‘The $47,476 Pyramid’: How to Win the FLSA Overtime Exemption Game,” Lane Powell’s 34th Annual Labor and Employment Seminar, Seattle (October 11, 2016)
  • “So You Hired an Axe Murderer: Avoiding Pre-Employment Pitfalls,” Washington Health Care Association’s Annual Convention and Expo, Co-presenter (May 19, 2016)
  • “Social Media, Care Providers Texting: How Do You Protect PHI?” HCCA Healthcare Compliance Institute, Las Vegas, Presenter (April 18, 2016)
  • “Come As You Are — Making ‘Millennial’ Work For You,” Washington Women Lawyers Plugging the Leaky Pipeline Program, Seattle, Co-presenter (January 19, 2016)
  • “Digging Your Wage and Hour Practices Out of the ‘Jurassic’ Period,” Lane Powell’s 33rd Annual Labor and Employment Seminar, Seattle, Co-presenter (September 15, 2015)
  • “Top 10 Questions I Wish I Had Asked My Employment Lawyer,” Lane Powell’s First Annual Startups and Emerging Companies Seminar, Co-presenter, Seattle (December 4, 2014)
  • “May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor — More Tips to Avoid the Litigation Arena,” Lane Powell’s 32nd Annual Labor and Employment Seminar (September 9, 2014)
  • “Overtime Calculation Workshop,” Lane Powell’s “Auditing Compliance With Changing Overtime Laws — A Practical Workshop for Liberal Arts Majors Who Avoided Math Classes in College” Seminar, Seattle (May 29, 2014)
  • “Reaching 88 MPH in a DeLorean: Burning Questions I Wish I Had Asked My Employment Attorneys,” Lane Powell’s 31st Annual Labor and Employment Law Seminar, Co-presenter, Seattle (September 19, 2013)
  • “Wage and Hour Compliance: Exemptions Workshop,” Lane Powell’s Wage and Hour Seminar, Seattle, Co-presenter (May 16, 2013)
  • “Liability Issues Surrounding Staffing,” American Health Lawyers Association’s Long Term Care and the Law Conference, Austin, Texas (February 25, 2013)
  • “Hindsight is 20-20: What I Wish I Had Asked My Employment Attorney,” Lane Powell’s 30th Annual Labor and Employment Law Seminar, Seattle, Co-presenter (September 20, 2012)
  • “Conducting a Self-Audit of Your Wage and Hour Practices,” Lane Powell’s Wage and Hour Seminar, Seattle, Presenter (March 1, 2012)
  • “Risk Management Regarding Employees: Wage and Hour Compliance,” Washington Health Care Association Webinar (June 16, 2011)
  • “How the Grinch Stole Payday,” Washington Health Care Association Annual Convention (May 24, 2011)
  • “Employees in the Electronic Age: Best Practices for Best Employers™,” Lane Powell’s 28th Annual Labor and Employment Law Seminar, Seattle (October 2010)
  • “Tweeting, Friending, Posting, Linking … Oh My … The Legal Implications of Employee Social Networking,” and “Social Media and Employment Issues,” American Health Lawyer’s Association Annual Meeting (June 2010)
  • “The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the ADA Amendments Act – Management Strategies for Minimizing Risk” Lane Powell’s 27th Annual Labor and Employment Law Seminar, Portland (March 2010)
  • “Ask the Experts” Panel Member on Employment Law Issues, WHCA Fall Conference (September 2007)
  • “Risk Management Issues Relating to Potential Claims of Employees,” NBI Risk Management Seminar (August 2007)
  • “New Washington Legislation Affecting Employers,” Lane Powell Employment Law School for Managers Seminar (July 2007)
  • “Best Practices in Hiring, Handbooks, Performance Evaluations, Discipline and Termination” and “Practical Tips for Untangling Overlapping Employee Leave Laws,” WHCA Annual Convention (May 2007)
  • “Hiring, Personnel Documents and Record Retention,” AWB Seminar (November 2006)
  • “Hiring Basics and Employee Handbooks” and “ADA, FLMA, FCA and Alphabet Soup: What You Need to Know about State and Federal Disability and Leave Laws,” WHCA Human Resources Employment Law Conference (August 2006)
  • “Recent Developments on the Regulatory and Release Front,” Advanced FMLA Lorman Seminar (July 2006)

Awards and Honors

  • Selected “Local Litigation Star” by Benchmark Litigation (2016-2017)

Sarah Swale

Shareholder | Seattle | 206.223.7946 |