A member of the Municipal Practice Group, Sarah Gabis has over 15 years of legal experience helping municipalities. Throughout her career, she has committed herself to helping public entities address the wide array of issues they regularly face, including zoning and land use enforcement, mobile home park development and regulation, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) questions, Open Meeting Act (OMA) matters, intergovernmental agreements, annexation and Act 425, development agreements, matters involving downtown development authorities, police departments, sewer authorities, public-private partnerships and sewer and water contractual issues and related litigation. A former state prosecutor, Sarah has vast experience in criminal law and procedure and has assisted several municipalities with municipal prosecution matters in the District Courts as well as appellate matters in the Circuit and Appellate Courts. During her time in Illinois, Sarah also assisted the City of Chicago as a member of the Law Department in zoning enforcement matters.
At Foster Swift, she assists public entities with a wide range of legal disputes including civil and criminal.
Sarah earned her juris doctorate cum laude at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, earning a national championship as a Corboy Mock Trial fellow, and accolades as an American Bar Association Moot Court competitor. Before attending law school, she completed her undergraduate and master’s degrees at Michigan State University in the areas of psychology and administrative social work.
Memberships & Affiliations
- State Bar of Michigan
- State Bar of Illinois (In-Active)
- State Bar of Kentucky
- Oakland County Bar Association
- US District Court for the Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan
- ACADEMIC POSITION (Former): Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Adjunct Professor of NITA Trial Skills
- Ridgedale Players Community Theater, Board of Directors
- Implementing a multi-million dollar special assessment district with EGLE and special federal financing for sewer system improvement and extension.
- Litigated through trial complex sewer treatment plant capacity suit involving issues of annexation.
- As lead counsel for a municipality, litigated and successfully negotiated settlement of complex sewer treatment service breach of contract action between two municipalities and a school district.
- Litigated to the Michigan Court of Appeals the enforcement of a zoning ordinance to prohibit the expansion of a non-conforming use and prevent the establishment of a marina on residentially zoned property.
- Assisted in the development of all contractual agreements to facilitate complex Act 425 Agreement to facilitate a mixed use development benefiting both the Township and the City.
- Litigated in the Court of Claims multi-million dollar lawsuit between a County and the State of Michigan involving the provision of community mental health services.
- Established Social Districts for cities under Section 551 of the Michigan Liquor Control Code.
- Michigan Attorney General Issues New Opinion Regarding Virtual Public Meetings Under the Michigan Open Meetings Act and Americans with Disabilities Act, Foster Swift Municipal Law E-blast, February 9, 2022
- MDHHS Changes Gathering Limits for Public Meetings, Municipal Law e-blast, April 1, 2021
- Update! Zoning Medical Marijuana Caregivers, Foster Swift Municipal Law News E-blast, February 4, 2021
- Social Districts Fact Sheet, Michigan Municipal League, February 2, 2021
- “Social Districts” May Help Unfreeze Struggling Small Businesses This Winter, Foster Swift Municipal Law News, December 8, 2020
- Municipalities May Now Establish “Social Districts” Allowing for On-Site Sale and Off-Site Consumption of Alcoholic Beverages, Foster Swift Municipal Law News E-blast, September 17, 2020
News & Events
- Is a Social District Right for Your Township?, Michigan Townships Association Annual Conference, April 27, 2022
- New Virtual Program Addresses Legal Strategies for Women Business Leaders, Michigan Business Network, March 28, 2022
- Southfield Office Welcomes Municipal Attorney, December 4, 2018
Loyola University Chicago School of Law, J.D. 2004, cum laude
Michigan State University, B.S., 1997, Psychology
Bar and Court Admissions
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan