Indian Law & Gaming

We deliver creative strategies and decisive practical guidance and counseling to work through sophisticated transactions and resolve complex disputes concerning economic development, sovereignty and gaming initiatives.

Our approach

The laws and policies that govern American Indian tribes, tribal gaming and tribal businesses are complex and continually evolving. We use a collaborative cross-practice approach, staying abreast of legislation, lobbying efforts, energy developments and significant cases impacting Indian Nations so that we can sense ahead while working closely with clients on tactical decisions to keep the focus on the desired outcome. We are recognized by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business for having a nationally-ranked Indian law practice, and because we bring a profound understanding of Indian law to a variety of clients and engagements. We represent tribes, individual tribal officers, non-tribal entities that do business with tribes and municipalities that interact with tribes on regulatory and governance issues. No matter who the client is, we can draw on two decades of experience handling some of the most sophisticated Indian law matters in the country. 

Who we work with

  • Tribes and tribal officers
  • Municipalities
  • Non-tribal entities such as industry trade groups and citizen groups
  • Non-tribal entities doing business with Indian tribes

Representative experience

Bond/Underwriter’s Counsel
  • Bond counsel to the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians in connection with a tax-exempt bond financing to acquire additional land to be used for tribal purposes.
  • Bond counsel to the Lower Brule Sioux tribe in connection with a tax-exempt bond financing to build roads and other capital improvements on tribal lands.
  • Underwriter’s counsel on tax-exempt bond financings on behalf of the Seminole, Apache and Navajo Nations.
  • We represent numerous energy firms (i.e., wind and hydropower companies) exploring opportunities in Indian Country. Our work includes assisting an independent power producer in connection with FERC licensing of a hydroelectric facility, and assisting a financing company investing in a wind power project.
Government Investigations
  • We represent the CFO and chairman of a tribe in connection with a federal government investigation.
Regulatory and Jurisdictional
  • Madison and Oneida Counties, New York

    Oneida Land Claim—We represented the counties and obtained summary judgment dismissing the claims (which was affirmed by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals).

    Oneida Settlement Agreement—We represented the counties in a historic multi-party settlement that resolved all outstanding jurisdictional, taxing,and regulatory disputes, including land-into-trust litigation.

  • Stockbridge Munsee Tribal Land Claim

    We represent counties and several towns (and one village) in defending against claims by the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians that they have been unlawfully excluded from their reservation in central New York. The claims were dismissed on summary judgment and the Tribe has appealed that ruling to the Second Circuit.

  • Counties of Napa and Sonoma, California

    Mishewal Wappo Restoration Claim—We represent the counties in an action seeking restoration of federal tribal recognition and the taking of lands into trust.

  • Chambers USA/Global, Nationally ranked: Indian Law & Gaming practice
  • U.S. News/Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” 2020 ranked as National Tier One in: Appellate Practice, Commercial Litigation, Corporate Law, Employment Law—Management, Energy Law, Franchise Law, Health Care Law, Labor Law—Management, Litigation—Construction, Litigation—Labor & Employment, Litigation—Real Estate, Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions—Defendants, Patent Law, Public Finance Law, Real Estate Law, Securities Regulation, Tax Law
  • In addition, many Nixon Peabody practices received U.S. News/Best Lawyers Tier 1 rankings at the regional level in the following geographies: Albany, NY; Boston; Buffalo; Chicago; Long Island; Los Angeles; Manchester, NH; New York City; Providence, RI; Rochester, NY; San Francisco; and Washington, DC.
  • BTI Litigation Outlook 2019:
  • “Most Feared Law Firms”—Honor Roll
  • Legal 500
  • Benchmark: Litigation/Appellate
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