Modrall Sperling

Native American Law Department

New Mexico
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Since 1978, Modrall Sperling’s Native American Law practice has represented clients in Indian country involving more than 40 tribal nations in over 20 states, including Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Montana, North Dakota, and across the Southwest.  Our work includes: 

  • Advising clients in the energy and transportation sectors about structuring transactions and business practices to reduce the unique risks of doing business with tribal nations and on tribal lands on issues including sovereign immunity, treaty rights, and jurisdiction.
  • Representing clients in all sectors when disputes arise, often involving enforceability, jurisdiction, taxation, employment, cultural resources, and personal injury. 
  • Negotiating directly with tribal nations and structuring transactions to ensure documents support stable transactions, such as leases, development agreements, and sale of assets.
  • Drafting public comments on rule changes, including recent rights-of-way rules.
  • Drafting amicus briefs for key cases, including the Dollar General case in the Supreme Court.
  • Representing clients in tribal courts and agencies in litigation defining scope of tribal jurisdiction, personal injury and employment.  
  • Advising on business practices, for instance, compliance with tribal employment and tax laws.
  • Advising non-tribal governments in disputes with tribal nations, particularly regarding land status and taxation.


Nichols, Brian K. (Head of Department)

Slade, Lynn H. (Head of Department)

Bennett, Deana M.

Butzier, Stuart R.

Cooney, John R

DeBrine, Earl E.

Drake, Joan E.

Harris, Stan N.

Killion, Christopher H.

Meister, Margaret L.

Nieman, Nathan T.

O'Brien, Maria

Roberts IV, Bayard

Russell, Nicole T.

Sheehan, Christina C.

Stern III, Walter E.

Stevenson, Sarah M.

Winston, Moses B.




BakkenLink Pipeline, LLC

Continental Resources

Encana Oil & Gas (USA), Inc.

Enel Green Power North America

Enterprise Products Partners

Nacogdoches Oil & Gas

New Mexico Oil and Gas Association

Oklahoma Attorney General

Transwestern Pipeline Co., Inc.

Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association

Union Pacific Railroad


Business in Indian Country


Mining and Metals

Natural Resources


Tribal Law and Courts