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Tribal Governments

Tribal Governments

We partner with tribal governments and Indian country entities and their attorneys to protect sovereignty and enhance self-government and tribal member well-being. Our guidance focuses on business, economic and housing development, environmental protection, and renewable energy development.

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Tribal Governments

Empowering Tribal Self-Government

Our mission is to support tribal governments and their attorneys in protecting tribal sovereignty, enhancing tribal self-government, and promoting the welfare of tribal members.

Our tribal government practice provides a full range of legal services to Indian nations, tribal housing authorities, tribal corporations, and other Indian country entities, with a focus on business and economic development, environmental protection, renewable energy development, and housing development.

Enhancing Tribal Welfare Through

  • Business and Economic Development, including advice to tribes and tribal enterprises relating to legal infrastructure (corporate and LLC codes, commercial codes, corporate articles, and bylaws, etc.), evaluation of business opportunities (business plans, due diligence investigations, negotiation of acquisitions, etc.), formation of tribal development corporations, establishment of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and other programs for housing and small business loans to members and state and federal government contracting under 8(a) status.
  • Energy Development, with a special focus on financing renewable energy with state and federal grants and partnerships with investors to take advantage of renewable energy tax credits, as well as the development of legal infrastructure to support renewable energy development.
  • Environmental Protection, including assistance in connection with development of tribal water quality standards and ordinances to protect tribal natural resources, applications for treatment as state status under the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act, Clean Air Act Class I status, and preparation of environmental assessments and environmental impact statements.
  • Finance, including assistance in connection with conventional bank financing and taxable and tax-exempt bonds issued under the Indian Tribal Governmental Tax Status Act of 1982 for government facilities; health clinics; land acquisition; water, sewer, and other infrastructure and other government, public and economic improvements.
  • Health, including advice to tribal clinics on operations, professional contracting, risk management and issues arising under the Self-Determination and Indian Health Care Improvement Acts.
  • Housing, especially development of new housing for rental or ownership by tribal members, leveraging of NAHASDA block grants with low income housing tax credit and other private and public finance sources, establishment of programs to encourage home ownership and development of tribal realty codes, including HEARTH-compliant leasing ordinances, land records codes and other laws to support home ownership on tribal trust lands.
  • Government Affairs, including representation before federal and state administrative agencies, defense of federal and state regulatory enforcement actions, advice in connection with state and federal legislative process, and advice on federal and state campaign finance, ethics, election, and lobbying laws. We also advise our tribal clients on the development of tribal laws that advance self-determination; improve stability and enhance sovereignty, performance of confidential internal audits, and representation of tribal election boards and ethics boards.
  • Labor & Employment, including assistance in connection with employee handbooks, employment policies, advice on the applicability of state and federal employment laws, preparation of employment ordinances, and training in strategies to prevent labor union interference with tribal enterprises and employee benefits.
  • Litigation in tribal, federal, and state courts, including treaty rights matters, declaratory actions to prevent improper assertions of regulatory authority by state and local governments, and other initiatives to protect tribal sovereignty and advance tribes’ business interests.
  • Real Estate Development, including the establishment of policies for acquisitions, acquisition due diligence procedures, acquisition-related finance, and environmental reviews, Fee to Trust, HEARTH Act ordinances, commercial leasing, affordable housing, and conservation trusts.
  • Tax, including advice with respect to applicability of, and compliance with, federal and state tax laws; tax audit defense, advice on structuring ventures as tribal enterprises as well as structuring ventures with non-tribal entities to take advantage of favorable tax treatment for Indian country enterprises; and advice relating to the structuring of tribal benefit programs under the 'general welfare doctrine.'

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