Tribal Nations Law

Practice Overview

Drummond Woodsum’s nationally recognized Tribal Nations Practice Group provides the highest quality services to tribal nations and their enterprises and to companies that do business with tribes across the country.  Our lawyers have served some of the country’s most successful tribal nations and enterprises for over 35 years.  We have the highest peer-rated credentials, including listings in Chambers USA and Best Lawyers in America for our excellence in Native American Law.

Our Full-Service Approach to Tribal Representation

We are not myopic in our representation of our tribal clients. We are part of a full-service law firm. This allows us to team lawyers with deep knowledge of federal Indian law and tribal law with other specialists to meet our clients’ needs.

For example, we pair our specialists in federal Indian law with:

  • business and commercial lawyers for gaming and other economic development work;
  • trial and appellate practitioners for litigation in federal, tribal, or state courts;
  • labor specialists for personnel and employment matters;
  • school lawyers for education-related matters; and
  • tax and affordable housing specialists to address tribal housing needs.

We are nimble and able to tailor legal services to meet the particular needs of our clients.

Representative Clients

  • Amerind Risk
  • Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians (MI)
  • Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse (NY)
  • Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe (WA)
  • The Klamath Tribes (OR)
  • Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and Little River Casino Resort (MI)
  • Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians (MI)
  • Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, Foxwoods Resort Casino (CT)
  • Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut (CT)
  • Passamaquoddy Tribe, Passamaquoddy Wild Blueberry Company (ME)
  • Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians, Rolling Hills Casino, Rolling Hills Clinic and Tepa, LLC (CA)
  • Penobscot Nation and Penobscot Indian Nation Enterprises (ME)
  • Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians and Four Winds Casino Resort (MI)
  • Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe (WA)
  • Pueblo of Laguna Department of Education (NM)
  • Pueblo of Zia (NM)
  • Rappahannock Tribe (VA)
  • Seminole Tribe of Florida (FL)
  • Squaxin Island Tribe (WA)
  • St. Regis Mohawk Tribe (NY)
  • Suquamish Tribe (WA)
  • Tribal First
  • Turtle Mountain Chippewa Housing Authorities (ND)

Tribal Practice Areas

Business, Finance and Economic Development

  • Complex gaming and other tribal business transactions
  • Loan and other financing transactions; we have closed over $2.5 billion in tribal financings
  • Loan restructurings and workout transactions
  • National Indian Gaming Commission and tribal gaming regulatory work
  • Leasing transactions on tribal lands
  • Tribal enterprise and economic development, including New Markets Tax Credits, 8(a) and federal contracting, joint ventures, and strategies and consultation
  • Construction agreements and disputes

Litigation in Federal, State and Tribal Courts

  • Transactional and business disputes
  • Sovereignty and jurisdiction disputes; we work regularly with the NCAI/NARF Supreme Court Project
  • Employment and labor relations, including proceedings before the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, the Department of Labor, and the National Labor Relations Board
  • Alternative dispute resolution, including arbitration and mediation
  • Civil rights
  • Land, water, fishing, and water hunting rights
  • Reservation boundary disputes

Labor and Employment Relations

  • Protection of tribal authority over labor and employment relations
  • Drafting and implement tribal labor and employment laws
  • Union solicitations, elections, and collective bargaining
  • Human resources training and advice
  • Development of fair employment practice laws
  • Personnel policies and procedures
  • I-9 Audits and other Immigration law matters
  • Nation-Building and Governmental Functions
  • Gaming and non-gaming land in trust applications
  • Tribal, state and federal tax issues
  • Environmental assessments and regulatory work
  • Development of tribal codes, constitutions, and court systems

Tribal Education

  • General representation of tribal school departments
  • Employment, accounting, student discipline and other policies and procedures
  • Tribal Housing
  • Low Income Housing Tax Credits
  • USDA Rural Housing programs
  • Leveraging NAHASDA funds

Please see our separate Tribal Nations Labor & Employment Group and our Tribal Business Enterprise Group.

Practice Group Leaders

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