Indian Law

The Firm offers the advantages of a full-service firm to assist tribes, tribal entities, and companies doing business in Indian country. Lawyers of our firm are licensed to practice in the following tribal courts: Pueblo of Acoma, Hopi Tribe, Isleta Pueblo, Jicarilla Apache Nation, Pueblo of Laguna, Navajo Nation, Santa Clara Pueblo, Southern Ute Tribe, Ute Mountain Tribe, Ysleta del Sur Tribe, Zuni Pueblo and the Southwest Intertribal Court of Appeals.

Our lawyers work in various capacities in Indian law, including serving as general counsel for tribes, advising on specific transactions involving tribes and advocating our clients’ position in individual lawsuits. Our lawyers have experience in the areas of federal Indian law, tribal sovereignty and jurisdiction, governmental relations, administrative law, Indian gaming, civil litigation, commercial transactions, mortgage and commercial finance, real estate, land disputes, tribal probates, bond issues, taxation, statutory drafting, natural resource law, environmental law and water law.

We advise tribes and litigate issues concerning the scope of tribal sovereignty, federal power and obligations relating to tribes, and the scope of federal and tribal preemption of state law in Indian country. We handle matters involving the relationship between the state of New Mexico and Indian tribes, including specific experience handling both transactional and litigation matters in such areas as Indian gaming, water law, taxation and tribal/state ownership of land.

  • We currently represent several Indian-owned businesses. Our work includes providing advice about the structure of the joint venture, qualification for Indian preference and minority-owned business programs, and the federal acquisition regulations applicable to Bureau of Indian Affairs contracts with Indian-owned businesses.
  • We represent a New Mexico pueblo’s Department of Education in its administrative and employment matters.
  • We represent a nonprofit organization serving numerous southwestern tribes. We assist in employment matters, creating a separate business entity to sell Indian merchandise, and protecting federally registered trademarks against unfair uses. We represented the organization in its appeal to the United States Office of Personnel Management for consideration of federal funding, which included an in-depth analysis of tribal sovereignty and Congressional intent.
  • We represented an Indian casino consultant and management company from Las Vegas, Nevada, in a highly publicized appeal of a tribal gaming license revocation. We successfully argued that the pueblo’s Gaming Commission failed to follow its own procedures in revoking the company’s gaming license.
  • We have represented a number of Section 17 corporations in litigation to enforce their commercial contracts, including security agreements, open accounts and promissory notes. We advise corporations about employment, tax, bankruptcy, general commercial contract preparation, and real estate transactions. Also, we have advised the Board of Directors of a Section 17 corporation about governance, operational and compliance matters.
  • We represented an enterprise of a New Mexico Indian tribe in the negotiation and preparation of hardware and equipment leasing agreements and software licensing and maintenance agreements for video-poker machines, slot machines and the casino operating system.
  • We represented an enterprise of a New Mexico pueblo in the creation of a $65 million credit facility to be used to finance the costs of construction for pueblo projects. We negotiated documents, advised on the structure of the transaction and drafted ordinances for adoption by the Tribal Council.
  • We represented a tribal nonprofit corporation in the construction of a multimillion-dollar facility, including advising our client on the enforcement of a performance bond.
  • We represented a branch of tribal government in an appeal of a tribal district court decision involving the balance of powers among branches of the tribal government. We have represented tribal candidates in tribal election disputes.
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