WilmerHale partners with Native American tribes to navigate complex regulatory issues related to tribal sovereignty and self-governance, land use, and resource and recreation development.


The combination of our Washington DC experience and our long-term service on behalf of tribal Nations enables us to understand and respond to the unique challenges Native American communities face, and help our clients assert their rights, protect their sovereignty and manage their resources. Our lawyers represent tribes in a variety of interactions with federal agencies, including the Department of the Interior, US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service (USFS), National Park Service (NPS), and US Army Corps of Engineers. We have advised tribes in connection with historic negotiations to increase tribal sovereignty and self-determination, and in securing approvals for the development of resorts and renewable energy and oil and gas facilities on federal lands. We have direct experience working with high-level federal agencies and have successfully managed many relationships between tribes and federal agencies, brokering mutually advantageous outcomes. Our regulatory lawyers work closely with the firm's Native American litigation team, which advises tribal governments on difficult or unsettled legal questions and advocates for the rights of tribes in complex litigation. 

Contacts

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Salazar, Ken

Ken Salazar

Partner

+1 720 274 3131 (t)

Connor, Michael

Michael Connor

Partner

+1 202 663 6063 (t)

michael.connor@wilmerhale.com

Rachel Jacobson

Rachel Jacobson

Special Counsel

+1 202 663 6385 (t)

rachel.jacobson@wilmerhale.com

Treiser, Raya

Raya B. Treiser

Counsel

+1 202 663 6002 (t)

raya.treiser@wilmerhale.com

Connor, Michael

Michael Connor

Partner

+1 202 663 6063 (t)

michael.connor@wilmerhale.com

Gorelick, Jamie

Jamie Gorelick

Partner

+1 202 663 6500 (t)

jamie.gorelick@wilmerhale.com

Kirsch, Robert C.

Robert C. Kirsch

Partner

+1 617 526 6779 (t)

rob.kirsch@wilmerhale.com

Louis, Frédéric

Frédéric Louis

Partner

+32 2 285 49 53 (t)

frederic.louis@wilmerhale.com

Ratliff, John

John Ratliff

Partner

+32 2 285 49 08 (t)

john.ratliff@wilmerhale.com

Ross, Lester

Lester Ross

Partner

+86 10 5901 6588 (t)

lester.ross@wilmerhale.com

Salazar, Ken

Ken Salazar

Partner

+1 720 274 3131 (t)

Seyfarth, Martin

Martin Seyfarth

Partner

+49 30 20 22 64 30 (t)

martin.seyfarth@wilmerhale.com

Spielman, Andy

Andrew L. Spielman

Partner

+1 720 274 3161 (t)

andy.spielman@wilmerhale.com

Experience

  • Representing tribes in historic settlements of breach of trust claims against the United States.
  • Representing multiple tribes in finalizing the settlement of a decades-long water rights dispute with one another and the US government.
  • Representing tribes in the negotiation of historic cooperation agreements with the NPS and FWS regarding units managed by those agencies.
  • Advising Native American tribes in the exploration and development of renewable and other resources on and off tribal lands, including identifying and leveraging available federal assistance and private partnerships.
  • Securing federal approvals on behalf of tribes for large-scale recreational development on lands managed by the USFS and US Army Corps of Engineers.
  • Advising energy and infrastructure developers seeking to build constructive partnerships with tribes regarding tribal land use.
  • Providing tribes with public policy advice and representation before members of US Congress and multiple federal agency officials, including those from the Department of the Interior, Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense, NPS, US Army Corps of Engineers, FWS and USFS.