Native American Law INDUSTRIES

Providing sophisticated counsel on complex regulatory issues and high-stakes litigation while leveraging the experience of some of the nation’s best strategic counselors and advocates focused on tribal issues.


Led by a former Secretary of the Interior and a former Solicitor General, WilmerHale’s Native American practice is uniquely positioned to counsel tribal governments on difficult or unsettled legal questions, and to advocate for the rights of tribes (and their partners) in complex litigation and before federal agencies. The marriage of our Washington DC experience—a core element of the firm’s brand—and our presence in the Rocky Mountain region enables us to understand the unique challenges the Native American community faces and reflects our commitment to helping our clients assert their rights, protect their sovereignty, and preserve their resources.

We focus on high-stakes, sophisticated litigation and complex, high-profile regulatory matters on behalf of our clients, representing tribes on a variety of issues, including energy and natural resource development, land acquisition, water rights, gaming matters, and issues of tribal sovereignty.

Contacts

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Salazar, Ken

Ken Salazar

Partner

+1 720 274 3131 (t)

Waxman, Seth P.

Seth P. Waxman

Co-Chair, Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Practice

+1 202 663 6800 (t)

seth.waxman@wilmerhale.com

Overview

We understand the unique challenges the Native American community faces and are committed to helping our clients assert their rights, protect their sovereignty, and preserve their resources. We frequently represent tribes in US district courts, the federal courts of appeals, and the Supreme Court, and in related discussions with the Department of the Interior and the Department of Justice. We work successfully both with and against the federal government on behalf of our tribal clients.

Members of our team are leaders in their field, and our practice is nationally ranked by Chambers USA. Led by practice co-chairs Ken Salazar, a former US Secretary of the Interior and Colorado Attorney General, and Seth Waxman, a former US Solicitor General, we also count among our ranks a former Chief of Staff to the Secretary of the Interior and Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, a former Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel, a former Assistant to the Solicitor General, and several former members of the Department of Justice. Their collective experience gives this group a broad understanding of Native American legal and policy issues and allows them to provide comprehensive, practical and effective advice to our clients. Our team is also supported by a highly regarded legislative strategist, enabling WilmerHale to provide congressional strategy to the group's clients and advocate on their behalf in Congress.

The hallmarks of our practice are the high-stakes matters our clients entrust to us and the results we achieve for them. We have represented tribes or their supporting amici in important cases addressing such issues as whether the National Labor Relations Act applies to a tribal government employer, whether a tribal party injured by the federal government may pursue damages in the Court of Federal Claims and equitable relief in the district court, as well as the first appellate decision addressing the “restored lands” provision of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. We have also advised or represented prominent Native American organizations, including the National Congress of American Indians and the National Indian Gaming Association. We often work in close collaboration with other counsel, whether they represent the tribes or other interested parties, such as development partners, on an ongoing basis or in the particular matter at issue.

Publications & News

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April 3, 2017

Trump Order Ushers in the Future of US Energy and Environmental Regulation

On March 28, President Trump launched a sweeping overhaul of US energy and environmental policy.

May 27, 2016

WilmerHale Lawyers and Practices Recognized in 2016 Edition of Chambers USA

Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business announced its final rankings for the 2016 edition, with WilmerHale ranking among the nation's best in 47 practice area categories. Chambers also ranked 82 WilmerHale lawyers as leaders in their respective fields.

November 9, 2015

WilmerHale Achieves Significant Litigation Victory for Tohono O’odham Nation

WilmerHale achieved a significant litigation victory for the Tohono O'odham Nation involving the tribe's effort to open a gaming facility on land that, with the firm's assistance, was taken into trust last year.

September 27, 2015

Native American Tribes Settle Lawsuit Against US Government Agencies

A federal judge in Oklahoma has approved a $186 million settlement of litigation between the United States and two Native America tribes, the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations.

May 19, 2015

WilmerHale Practices, Lawyers Ranked Among Nation’s Best by Chambers USA

Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business announced its final rankings for the 2015 edition, with WilmerHale ranking among the nation's best in 46 practice area categories. Chambers also ranked 86 WilmerHale attorneys as leaders in their respective fields.

May 24, 2013

Chambers USA 2013 Final Results Announced

Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business today announced its final rankings for the 2013 edition, in which 93 WilmerHale lawyers and 44 firm practice areas have been recognized as leading in their field.