Native Nations



Wilson Elser is committed to the empowerment of tribal governments and their constituents, based on their enduring spirit and contributions past and present. While we advocate aggressively for tribal sovereignty and jurisdiction, our efforts also focus on relationship-building with governments, industry sectors and other populations essential to furthering critical Native Nations agendas.

Wilson Elser maintains a vibrant Native Nations practice comprising attorneys throughout the firm familiar with related statutes and regulations and understanding of the sanctity of historical rights. We count among our clients tribal governments and corporations as well as organizations representing Native peoples.  Licensed in a growing number of key tribal courts, we advocate aggressively for American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and other indigenous populations.

Practice attorneys carefully craft opportunities designed to structure and enhance government operations, stimulate economic growth and help ensure the sustained well-being and identity of future generations. While advocating for the jurisdictional sovereignty of Native Nations, we also defend tribal insurance carriers and their insureds in managing and mitigating various kinds of related risk. We offer these clients sound legal analysis and sophisticated resolution approaches to achieve the best possible results in tribal courts across the nation.

Our Native Nations practice specifically assists clients with matters involving:

  • Gaming and non-gaming economic development
  • Business enterprise, corporations, charters and trusts
  • Claims and litigation management
  • Risk management and insurance
  • Employment and labor
  • Voting rights and elections
  • Membership disputes
  • Creation and drafting of tribal laws
  • Negotiation of compacts with states, counties and municipalities
  • Federal Indian law
  • Alaska Native (or ANCSA) Corporations
  • The U.S. Department of the Interior
  • The U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • Environmental protection
  • Historical preservation
  • Land use and national and international economic development
  • Intellectual property
  • Banking and finance
  • Securities and investment management
  • Litigation and arbitration
  • Appeals

Our practice attorneys have done extensive pro bono work for various tribal funds and associations and are highly sought as speakers and panelists at Native Nations forums.

Recognizing that our clients seek an integrated and efficient approach to their legal matters, we draw on services offered throughout the firm – including those involving federal contracting, the Small Business Administration, mergers and acquisitions, manufacturing, free trade zones and exports, insurance and lobbying − and tap into the technological infrastructure that unites our 41 offices. Strategic use of these advantages allows us to align the appropriate resources with the discrete needs of our Native Nations clients for whom “one size fits all” seldom applies. Wilson Elser is rapidly expanding its Native Nations client base, which increasingly seeks out our experience and perspectives regarding this unique and dynamic area of law.

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