Native American Law

Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell’s Native American law practice is dedicated to serving the needs of Indian Country across California and throughout the nation. We have a deep understanding of the unique and complex challenges faced by Indian tribes and tribal businesses. Our experts draw on their extensive experience and strong commitment to tribal self-governance and self-determination to provide clients with legal services of the highest caliber on matters as diverse as fee-to-trust, governance, gaming, finance, environmental, cultural resources, labor, and litigation. 

We are dedicated to advancing tribal sovereignty and understand that doing so requires a keen awareness of tribal clients’ histories, challenges, and values. To that end, the members of our team have dedicated decades of service to Indian Country, including elected tribal leadership.  

Our team also draws on the Firm’s unparalleled experience representing public agencies of all kinds on energy, infrastructure, economic development, and governance matters.   We understand how government works and design tailored solutions to meet the needs of all the governmental bodies we represent. Our collective experience in the public sector sets Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell’s Native American law practice apart from other firms, allowing our tribal clients to benefit from the depth and breadth of our knowledge of public sector law.

Our team handles a broad range of legal issues for tribal clients, spanning from tribal governance to economic development. We have represented tribal clients with tribal law development and reform, trust land acquisition (commonly referred to as “fee-to-trust”), cultural resources protection, financing, and large-scale multi-phased economic development projects. We understand the complex web of tribal, federal (and sometimes state) regulatory structures associated with trust land acquisitions and tribal development projects and assist our tribal clients in all phases of development. As tribal governments grow and diversify their economies, we also assist in the development and implementation of tribal legal infrastructures to meet our tribal clients’ growing needs.

Representative Matters

- We have represented tribal clients with some of the largest tribal gaming development projects in the nation, including six gaming and hotel development projects for California Indian tribes.  
- Our team secured a first-of-its-kind agreement with the U.S. Department of the Interior regarding the gaming eligibility of potential tribal trust lands under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act for development of a large-scale, multi-phased greenfield development project.  
- We have led the tribal law diligence process for major bank and bond financing transactions for tribal clients involving over half a billion dollars in financing for tribal gaming and economic development projects.
- Firm attorneys have represented tribal clients in the acquisition of lands vital for tribal housing, school, and cultural center development, from preparation of a comprehensive fee-to-trust application through the federal approval process, and in administrative and federal court litigation.
- Firm attorneys represented a non-tribal developer on leasing, entitlement, and construction of a luxury resort on Indian lands in Northern California, involving extensive lease negotiations and diligence on matters of tribal law.