Jeff R. Keohane


Jeff Keohane counsels corporations, tribal governments, and individuals on environmental and natural resources issues, including water rights, redevelopment and energy matters, as well as all the major federal and California environmental statutes. He has also represented clients on matters of Native American law—from gaming and hospitality to recognition, jurisdictional, and land into trust matters. His 23 years of experience makes him one of the premiere environmental attorneys in Indian country.

Prior to joining Schwabe, Jeff had a thriving environmental and Native American law practice at several private practice law firms, and most recently, he served as Principal at Keohane Law. Early in his career, Jeff worked at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of General Counsel.

Jeff has served as an Adjunct Professor of federal Indian and Native American tribal law at UC Davis School of Law. He also frequently donates his time as pro bono counsel to families facing eviction in the Bay Area.



  • Served as outside general counsel to several Indian tribes during construction and opening of their casino-hotels.
  • Negotiated gaming compacts and amendments.
  • Negotiated tribal water rights settlements.
  • Negotiated a deal and legislation to provide initial potable water service to an Indian reservation.
  • Performed environmental due diligence for land acquisition and M&A transactions.
  • Negotiated cleanup standards for contaminated properties on behalf of tribes, corporations, and private equity clients.
  • Negotiated completion of controversial fee-to-trust land acquisitions.
  • Drafted environmental and gaming regulatory and legislative language.
  • Successfully negotiated air quality permits and a path-breaking tribal air basin for a power plant in an extreme nonattainment area.
  • Developed a tribal water trading scheme and groundwater management plan.
  • Represented tribes in Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and California Energy Commission (CEC) matters.
  • Drafted tribal environmental, gaming, and other legal codes.
  • Assisted tribes to develop EPA-approved environmental programs regulating nonmember activities.
  • Advised tribal gaming enterprises on COVID-19 and other disaster responses.
  • Advised corporations on committing to ESG principles.

Memberships & Awards


  • California Lawyers Association, Environmental Law Section (1997-present)
  • American Bar Association, Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources (1997-present)
  • Federal Bar Association, Indian Law Section (1997-present)
  • California Indian Law Association (1997-present)
  • National Native American Bar Association (1997-present)
  • District of Columbia Bar, Arts, Entertainment, Media & Sports Law (1997-present)
  • District of Columbia Bar, Environment, Energy & Natural Resources (1997-present)
  • District of Columbia Bar, International Law (1997-present)


  • Best Lawyers in America Award, Native American Law (2021-2023)

Resources & Ideas

Seminars & Speaking Engagements


  • Program Co-Chair, Tribal Water in California, Law Seminars International (October 19-20, 2020)

Community Activities

Community Activities

  • University of California Davis School of Law, Adjunct Professor of federal Indian and Native American law




California State Courts

District of Columbia Courts

4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals

6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals

7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals

9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals

10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals

U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit

U.S. District Courts of California

  • Central District of California
  • Eastern District of California
  • Northern District of California
  • Southern District of California

United States Supreme Court

Washington State Courts

Outside The Office