Lawson is an experienced and creative litigator who knows how to help his clients overcome obstacles. One of Lawson’s best attributes is his ability to take complicated technical or legal concepts and distill them into plain language. He is recognized as a Rising Star by Oregon Super Lawyers magazine, a designation reserved for only 2.5 percent of Oregon attorneys under the age of 40.
Prior to joining MHGM, Lawson served as a trial attorney for the Wildlife and Marine Resources Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, Environmental and Natural Resources Division in Washington, D.C. While at the Department of Justice, Lawson represented the United States in federal civil litigation relating to wildlife and fisheries laws.
At the Department of Justice, Lawson represented the Coast Guard in an Endangered Species Act (ESA) case regarding the Deepwater Horizon oil spill response, preventing entry of a restraining order and ensuring that necessary clean-up activities could go forward while also ensuring protection of Gulf wildlife. In 2010, he took charge of one of the first ESA listing cases involving species affected by climate change, obtaining a favorable summary-judgment decision. In 2009, Lawson received a Special Achievement Award from Attorney General Eric Holder for the successful defense of an ESA challenge to a timber salvage project in Kentucky, including the denial of a preliminary injunction motion.
In addition to being successful in court, Lawson is an experienced and confident negotiator. He has brokered more than 20 settlements between the U.S. government and various environmental groups and has taken an active role in negotiations and mediations on behalf of his clients at MHGM. His broad experience allows him to consider cases from the opposing side’s perspective which is important both in successful negotiations and litigation.
Early in his career Lawson clerked for Justice Walter Carpeneti of the Alaska Supreme Court, clerked at the Nature Conservancy in Arlington, Virginia, and served as a research assistant for Professor John Leshy at Harvard Law School. Prior to law school, Lawson worked in project management at the American Express Company where he gained insight into business management and driving results across large organizations.
Lawson is fluent in Spanish and speaks basic German. An accomplished choral singer, Lawson has performed in many prestigious venues, including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Mormon Tabernacle, Constitution Hall, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, San Francisco's Mission Dolores, and Sydney Town Hall.