Robert Gibbs, Attorney

Robert H. Gibbs, Founding Partner

Robert H. Gibbs is a founding partner of Gibbs Houston Pauw. He has practiced immigration law since 1977, handling a wide variety of employment, family, citizenship, asylum and deportation cases. His practice includes federal court litigation to remedy agency decisions or inactions, as well as class actions to obtain relief for thousands of individuals. He has represented entities in a broad range of industries including software, health care, restaurants, manufacturing, agriculture, food processing, forest products, international trade, professional services, construction, sports and the arts.

Mr. Gibbs has a top rating (AV) from the leading national lawyers’ directory, Martindale-Hubbell. Chambers USA and Who’s Who Legal 2012 give him the ranking as a leading lawyer in business immigration. He is annually ranked a Washington State “Super Lawyer” in immigration practice by Law & Politics Magazine. Mr. Gibbs is a frequent lecturer at seminars for attorneys and employers on immigration law and workplace compliance, federal court litigation, and naturalization.


  • Washington State Bar
  • United States Supreme Court
  • Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Washington


  • University of Washington School of Law, J.D., 1974
  • Grinnell College, B.A., 1968


  • Founder of Northwest Immigrant Rights Project
  • Founder of Joint Legal Taskforce on Central American Refugees
  • Salvadoran-Guatemalan Project of the Washington Association of Churches, Board of Directors
  • Washington Immigration Project, Board of Directors
  • American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA”), Active Member
  • Washington Chapter Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) Committee Chair
  • Washington Chapter Chair
  • Washington Chapter Citizenship and Immigration Service (“CIS”) Committee Chair
  • AILA National, Workplace Compliance Committee
  • AILA National, Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) Committee


  • Carol King Award, National Lawyers Guild, 2009
  • Amicus Award, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, 2006
  • Pro Bono Award, Washington State Chapter, American Immigration Lawyers Association, 2006
  • Jack Wasserman Award for Excellence in Litigation, American Immigration Lawyers Association, 2001
  • Civil Libertarian of the Year Award, American Civil Liberties Union – Washington, 1986
  • Ecumenical Award, Washington Association of Churches, 1985


  • A.B.T.  et. al. v. USCIS, Case No. 11-2108-RAJ (W.D. Wash. 2013) (asylum clock litigation; class action lawsuit on behalf of asylum applicants who were unable to obtain work authorization)
  • Lee v. Gonzales, Case No. C04-449 RSL (W.D. Wash 2006) (statewide class action requiring USCIS to reopen naturalization applications that were denied for lack of good moral character)
  • Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (“NWIRP”) v. USCIS (formerly known as Immigrant Assistance Project v. INS), 306 F.3d 842 (9th Cir. 2002), 976 F.2d 1198 (9thCir. 1992), 717 F.Supp. 1444, 709 F.Supp. 998 (W.D.Wash. 1989) (class action lawsuit challenging the INS’s interpretation of “known to the Government” and “continuous unlawful residence” for purposes of the legalization program)
  • Gorbach v. Reno, 219 F.3d 1087 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc) (national class action setting aside INS regulation allowing administrative denaturalization)
  • Proyecto San Pablo v. INS, 189 F.3d 1130 (9th Cir. 1999), 4 F.Supp. 2d 881 (D.Ariz.1997), 70 F.3d 1279 (9thCir. 1995), 784 F.Supp. 738 (D.Az. 1991) (class action lawsuit on behalf of legalization applicants who were deported after January 1, 1982)
  • Washington Beef, 328 NLRB 612 (1999) (employer has mandatory duty to bargain over time period to allow employees to respond to INS no match letter)
  • Walters v. Reno, 145 F.3d 032 (9th Cir. 1998) (national class action invalidating INS practices of issuing document fraud penalties)
  • Gete v. INS, 121 F.3d 1285 (9th Cir. 1997) (class action lawsuit challenging procedures used by INS in seizure and forfeiture cases as unconstitutional)
  • Lopez v. INS, No. 78-1912-WMB (C.D. Calif., Aug. 20, 1992) (class action requiring INS to stop questioning aliens upon request to speak to counsel)
  • UFW v. INS, Civ.No. S-87-1064-LKK (E.D.Cal. 1989), see Interpreter Releases, Vol. 66, No. 16 (April 24, 1989), pp. 452, 460-471 (class action lawsuit on behalf of SAW legalization applicants challenging the procedures used in adjudicating SAW applications and the burden of proof imposed by INS)
  • Patel v. Sumani Corp., 846 F.2d 700 (11th Cir. 1988), cert denied, 109 S. Ct. 1120 (1989)(finding FLSA coverage for undocumented employees)


  • Gibbs and Pauw, “Known to the Government”, Interpreter Releases vol. 66, no. 11 (March 20, 1989)
  • Gibbs, “It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over: Amnesty Issues Persist a Decade After IRCA”, Interpreter Releases vol. 73, no. 41 (Oct. 28, 1996).



Downtown Seattle

1000 2nd Ave #1600
Seattle, WA 98104
(map & directions)

TEL: (206) 682-1080


Monday – Friday, 9 am – 5 pm.
We are closed on Federal holidays

Hablamos Español
On parle Francais
Мы говорим по-русски
우리는 한국어로 말한다
Noi parliamo Italiano

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