Tribes and businesses seeking counsel in Indian Country are represented by Schwabe.
Led by one of the country’s most experienced practitioners of environmental Native American law, our team is known for its deep understanding of the regulations and frameworks that impact reservation and Indian trust land.
We counsel tribes across the country on the complex interplay between tribal environmental ordinances and related federal and state laws. We have deep experience in the areas of solid and hazardous waste permitting, cleanup, and disposal, as well as international trans-boundary pollution. In addition, we help tribal governments manage public notice and comment on controversial projects, and develop and implement effective environmental policies and programs.
Strong advocates in dispute resolution
Our trial and appellate lawyers have argued precedent-setting cases in federal and state courts—including the Washington Supreme Court, the Minnesota State Court of Appeals, and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals—on cutting-edge jurisdictional issues and complex civil and environmental litigation. We also practice in tribal courts and before arbitration tribunals and federal agencies.
A go-to tribal resource
We serve as outside general counsel to a number of tribes and advise many others on tribal enterprises involving real estate, economic development, business formation, transactions, and tax planning. We are recognized for our deep knowledge of the regulations and regulatory frameworks that impact reservation and Indian trust land. We draft tribal codes, provide advice on implementation and enforcement, and counsel tribes concerning governance and sovereignty. We also advise tribes on government programs and federal funding opportunities, such as the American Rescue Plan and tribal broadband grant program.
Collaborating with experienced lawyers throughout the firm, we assist tribal clients with corporate transactions, business planning, contract negotiations, and governmental affairs issues. The firm’s diverse legal resources allow us to work on numerous fronts to advance our clients’ legal and business interests, shape future legislation and policy, and resolve disputes between tribes and federal and state governments.
Cooperative solutions for non-Indian clients
Municipalities, state agencies, and businesses with commercial and public interests in Indian Country frequently seek us out for our knowledge of tribal interests and governance. We regularly negotiate contracts and agreements between tribes and outside groups, and we help resolve disputes in a manner that aligns the objectives of all parties and preserves future business relationships.
- Advise on all manner of transactions on Indian trust land, including fee-to-trust, leasing, and rights-of-way.
- Supported the assessment and improvement of a tribe’s tribal court, evaluated and amended the trial court and appellate codes, and developed a tribal court clerk’s handbook.
- Served as counsel of record for a Tribe in the U.S. v. Washington treaty rights litigation.
- Served as litigation counsel for a Tribe’s corporate entity in its casino loan workout litigation.
- Represent three California tribes in their efforts to be restored to federal recognition.
- Drafted a tribal Superfund code and cleanup standards for a Tribe; assisting the Tribe in ongoing implementation and enforcement of the code.
- Assist Navajo tribal corporation with obtaining permits and approvals from EPA and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA).
- Litigated tribal sovereign immunity issues in a variety of federal, state, and tribal courts.
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