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Indian Law & Gaming

At Williams Kastner, we understand the often complex and individualized nature of Indian Law. Our team of Native and non-Native attorneys provide tribal governments and enterprises with the highest quality legal counsel for business, litigation and governmental matters. The firm represents many tribal clients in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Montana, Idaho, Wisconsin and California as well as Fortune 500 and publicly-traded companies doing business in Indian Country.

Our firm’s extensive knowledge of litigation, general business, finance & tax, labor & employment, real estate, utility & regulatory law, natural resources, cultural properties, environmental law and land use complements our practice group’s unique understanding of federal Indian, treaty rights and tribal law.  Our tribal practice is uniquely well-qualified to meet the sophisticated legal needs of tribes and non-tribal businesses transacting in Indian Country.

Business Development

  • Facilitating various business dealings that further and promote the diversification of Indian economies.
  • Developing and accessing commercial financial programs and services for tribal governments, including tax-exempt offerings, federally-guaranteed housing loans, and community bank loans.
  • Advising, negotiating and documenting commercial loans, lines of credit and similar financings.
  • Serving as counsel in tribal bond financings.
  • Ensuring tribal compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act and other federal financial regulatory requirements.
  • Chartering tribal business enterprises and joint ventures under tribal, state and federal law, to maximize tribal sovereign advantages and minimize federal or state regulation and tax exposure.
  • Helping secure federal SBA 8(a) and other contracting preferences for Indian-owned businesses.
  • Counseling tribes and allottees regarding tribal land reacquisition and consolidation efforts.
  • Assisting tribes with casino development pursuant to federal, state and local law as applicable.
  • Handling various tribal construction contracting issues.
  • Counseling tribes and tribal enterprises regarding intellectual property issues, including filing trademark applications and considering trademark infringement matters.
  • Facilitating various contractual relations between tribes and tribal casinos, and gaming vendors.
  • Building tribal workers’ compensation and self-funded insurance programs.
  • Developing and drafting tribal commercial codes, ordinances and regulations, including U.C.C., business entities and licensing, taxation, and sovereign immunity laws.

Government Relations

  • Handling state and federal regulatory matters in the areas of tribal gaming, environmental and cultural resources, workers’ compensation, taxation, health care and education.
  • Formulating strategy and negotiating tribal-state gaming compacts, fuel and cigarette compacts, inter-local services, land use and law enforcement agreements, homeland security preparedness and response agreements, and other cooperative arrangements.
  • Assisting tribal providers and self-insurers with federal Medicare and state Medicaid compliance issues.
  • Exploring and executing legal and administrative solutions for tribal governments and businesses to minimize federal, state and local tax exposure, in areas of property, sales, excise, business and income taxation.
  • Gaming advocacy before state executive branches, the Washington State Gambling Commission, Washington Indian Gaming Association, and National Indian Gaming Commission.
  • Assisting tribal governments with constitutional reform efforts.
  • Preparing tribal codes and regulations, including tribal court, commercial, gaming, energy development, environmental and cultural resources protection, labor & employment, workers’ compensation, and tort claims laws.
  • Developing and drafting employee handbooks, manuals and personnel policies.
  • Navigating state, federal, and tribal processes to provide representation and focused advocacy in areas of tribal treaty and land rights, sovereignty, gaming, jurisdiction, taxation, health care, and environmental and cultural resource protection.
  • Advocating for tribal interests before, e.g., the Washington Department of Revenue, Department of Ecology and Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation; the Idaho Transportation Department, Idaho Lottery Commission and Idaho Department of Education; and, the United States Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Department of Interior and its Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of Agriculture, Small Business Administration, Department of Health & Human Services and its Indian Health Service and Administration for Native Americans, and Internal Revenue Service.
  • Preparing, appearing, and representing tribal governments at congressional committees including the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee.
  • Preparing, reviewing, and advocating for appropriations requests submitted by tribal governments during the U.S. Congressional appropriations process.
  • Brokering fee-to-trust and related real estate and jurisdictional transactions.
  • Conducting tribal court and judicial system evaluations.

Litigation & Appellate Services

  • Handling complex, multi-party Indian law litigation, including treaty, commercial, tax, labor & employment, land, construction, and natural and cultural resource matters.
  • Litigating tribal trust mismanagement claims against the United States, and evaluating tribal and individual property claims under the Indian Claims Limitation Act.
  • Defending tribes and tribal insureds from tort and employment-related claims brought against them in tribal, state and federal courts, including defense tenders pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act.
  • Assisting tribal insureds in insurance coverage negotiations and litigation.
  • Defending against audits and examinations of tribal entities by the Internal Revenue Service, National Indian Gaming Commission and other federal agencies.
  • Representing individual tribal members in tribal and state civil and criminal proceedings, including BIA prosecutions and Indian probate proceedings.
  • Assisting tribal governments with tribal, state and federal court appeals, including the preparation of amicus curiae briefs.