Law Seminars International Presents: A Two-Day Comprehensive Conference on

Tribal Economic Development in the Southwest
Practical tips for Tribes and their private sector business partners

April 16 & 17, 2015
Sandia Resort & Casino in Albuquerque, NM

Who Should Order This Homestudy

Attorneys, Tribal representatives, industry executives and governmental officials

Why You Should Order

One of the greatest challenges in Indian Country is the development of sustainable economies that preserve traditional cultures and offer job opportunities. There are limited resources for internal Tribal development, which are also challenged by the dual, and sometimes conflicting, roles of a governing body and of a for-profit company. Outside lending is often discouraged by the lack of legal infrastructure, an unfamiliar judicial system and lack of security for repayment.

Our comprehensive conference is aimed at parties on all sides of transactions, including Tribal leaders, Tribal attorneys, outside lenders, investors and contractors that do, or would like to do, business in Indian Country. The conference will outline the basic factors involved with Tribal economic development and provide recent updates in jurisdiction and sovereignty issues. It will examine recent federal legislation, regulations and case law that impact economic development transactions, including leasing regulations, employment laws, natural resources regulations and taxation regulations and case law.

Don't miss the opportunity to get an update on legal and policy issues affecting economic development in Indian Country. Also, get to know and explore the perspectives of Tribal leaders, agency officials, lenders and investors doing business in Indian Country.

~ Program Co-Chairs: Karl E. Johnson, Esq., Johnson Barnhouse & Keegan LLP and Christina S. West, Esq., Sutin, Thayer & Browne APC

What You Will Learn


Thursday, April 16, 2015

8:00 am

Registration Opens

8:30 am

Introduction and Overview

Karl E. Johnson, Esq., Program Co-Chair
Johnson Barnhouse & Keegan LLP / Albuquerque, NM

Christina S. West, Esq., Program Co-Chair
Sutin, Thayer & Browne APC / Albuquerque, NM

8:45 am

Indian Country Economic Development from an International Perspective

Coping with globalization; trade vs. protectionism; privatization; worker's rights vs. labor laws; exploitation of non-renewable resources vs. industrialization; the rising role of serve industries; the rise of inequality between nations and individuals

James E. Fitting, Esq.
Fitting Law / Albuquerque, NM

9:30 am

Legislative Update: Perspectives of Recent Developments with Opportunities for Tribal Economic Development

Impact of the 2014 midterm elections; recent appropriations and how they compare to previous years; status report on renewal of tax incentives; trends in pending bills relating to specific Tribes and Indian Country in general

Kelly K. Zunie, Cabinet Secretary-Designate
New Mexico Indian Affairs Department / Santa Fe, NM

Jennifer H. Weddle, Esq.
Greenberg Traurig, LLP / Denver, CO

10:30 am


10:45 am

Judicial Update on Tribal Sovereign Immunity and Scope of Tribal Jurisdiction

The Supreme Court's Bay Mills decision and the future of sovereign immunity; The Ninth Circuit's decision in Big Lagoon Rancheria v. California on jurisdiction over trust lands; payday and car title loan cases

Jennifer H. Weddle, Esq.
Greenberg Traurig, LLP / Denver, CO

Cases on specific economic issues: Tort claims by and against non-members; state and local BIA leasehold taxation issues; enforcement of state usury laws; compliance with state alcoholic beverage laws and gaming regulation; deductibility of Tribal taxes

Nancy J. Appleby, Esq.
Appleby Law PLLC / Alexandria, VA

12:00 pm

Lunch (on your own)

1:15 pm

The Interplay Between Tribal Sovereignty and Environmental Protection Regulations

Proposed BIA oil and gas regulations; general requirements for environmental impact review for projects on Tribal lands or Tribal projects off Tribal lands; Tribal authority to establish regulations related to compliance

Deana M. Bennett, Esq.
Modrall Sperling / Albuquerque, NM

Environmental Assessment (EA) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) preparation tips: Consultation requirements and how to identify the appropriate agencies; Endangered Species Act considerations

Mitch Marken, Ph.D., Vice President and Cultural Resources Leader
Environmental Science Associates / Los Angeles, CA

Jennifer Wade Robertson, Managing Associate
Environmental Science Associates / Sacramento, CA

2:45 pm


3:00 pm

Tips for Developing Effective Tribal Structures for Overseeing Tribal Enterprises and Regulating Businesses Operating on Tribal Lands

Areas where Tribes have flexibility; regulatory trends and best practices

Albert Damon, Jr., Division Director, Economic Development
Navajo Nation / Window Rock, AZ

3:45 pm

Getting Deals Done: Case Study of Common Issues in a Construction Contract

Drafting tips for AIA contracts, bonds, terms for addressing lack of Tribal licensing requirements or ordinances, lack of mechanics liens, sovereign immunity waivers, and design defect standards

Judith M. Dworkin, Esq.
Sacks Tierney P.A. / Scottsdale, AZ

4:15 pm

Taxes as a Revenue Source and Business Expense for Tribes

Structuring Tribal enterprises to minimize state and local taxes

Joe Lennihan, Esq.
Joe Lennihan, Attorney at Law / Santa Fe, NM

5:00 pm

Continue the Exchange of Ideas: Reception for Faculty and Attendees

Sponsored by Johnson Barnhouse & Keegan LLP and Sutin, Thayer & Browne APC


Friday, April 17, 2015

8:30 am

Tribal Land Use Planning, Regulation, and Management

Impact of the HEARTH Act on leasing Tribal lands for commercial activity: Types of leases covered; processes for Tribes to develop and implement land use regulations; BOI vs. Tribal approval of leases

Stephanie P. Kiger, Esq., Attorney-Advisor, Office of the Solicitor, Southwest Region
U.S. Department of the Interior / Albuquerque, NM

Special HEARTH Act provisions for wind and solar development on Tribal lands

Ian A. Shavitz, Esq.
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP / Washington, DC

Practical tips for taking advantage of the Act: Critical elements of a successful regulatory structure for rights-of-way and lands zoned for commercial use; establishing effective policies and procedures for Tribal leasing programs

Karis N. Begaye, Esq., Attorney
Navajo Nation Department of Justice / Window Rock, AZ

10:15 am


10:30 am

Developing Tribal Employment Policies for Tribal Enterprise Operations

Update on National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issues including applicability of federal wage and hour requirements

Shenan Rae Atcitty, Esq.
Holland & Knight LLP / Washington, DC

Recent cases on the applicability of general employment laws and other recent developments: Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Occupational Health and Safety Act (OSHA), Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

Christopher A. Holland, Esq.
Sutin, Thayer & Browne APC / Albuquerque, NM

Tribal hiring preferences vs. discrimination: Overview of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) jurisdiction, EEOC v. Peabody Western Coal Co., policy, and agency practice; tips for achieving Tribal job creation

Paul E. Frye, Esq.
Frye Law Firm, P.C. / Albuquerque, NM

12:00 pm

Lunch (on your own)

1:15 pm

Financing Commercial Enterprises in Indian Country

Financing trends: Commercial lending; bonding; trends in rates and terms; tax-exempt financing options for Tribes

Melissa Robertson, Esq., Vice President and General Counsel
Sovereign Finance LLC / Portland, OR

2:00 pm

Wrap Up Case Study: Oil and Gas Development on Tribal Lands

Working through the financial, environmental, and business relationship issues

Christopher Clark Deschene, Esq.
Law Offices of Schaff & Clark-Deschene, LLC / Boulder, CO

Douglas C. MacCourt, Esq.
Ater Wynne LLP / Portland, OR

3:00 pm

Evaluations and Adjourn



Regular tuition for this program is $895 with a group rate of $670 each for two or more registrants from the same firm. For Tribal members and other government employees, we offer a special rate of $595. For students, people in their job for less than a year, and public interest NGO's, our rate is $447.50. All rates include admission to all seminar sessions, food and beverages at breaks, and all course materials. Make checks payable to Law Seminars International.

Financial aid is available to those who qualify. Contact our office for more information.

Continuing Education Credits

Live credits: This program qualifies for 11.5 NM CLE credits. Upon request, we will apply for, or help you apply for, CLE credits in other states and other types of credits.


There is a $25 cancellation fee for Course Materials orders and $50 for Homestudy orders

Faculty Bios

Karl E. Johnson, Program Co-Chair, managing partner at Johnson Barnhouse & Keegan LLP, focuses on Tribal economic development and governance, environmental protection, and Indian land and water rights.

Christina S. West, Program Co-Chair, Sutin, Thayer & Browne APC, focuses on commercial litigation for businesses, Tribal entities and governments, and represents clients in both Tribal and state courts in civil litigation matters, including some appeals.

Nancy J. Appleby, partner, Appleby Law PLLC, is experienced in real estate, project development and financing on Indian lands. Her practice, includes real estate and commercial development, real property and mortgage law; leasing; construction and permanent lending.

Shenan R. Atcitty, partner in the federal Indian Law Practice Group at Holland & Knight LLP, is a leader in the Native American legal and lobbying practice and is involved in congressional and federal representation, for Indian Tribes and Tribal organizations.

Karis N. Begaye is an Attorney for the Navajo Nation Department of Justice, who provides legal services to the three governmental branches of the Navajo Nation Government.

Deana M. Bennett, Modrall Sperling, practices in the Natural Resources and Environment Practice Group and focuses on natural resource development on public and Tribal lands.

Albert Damon Jr., is Division Director, Economic Development for Navajo Nation, whose priorities are to create new job growth, utilize growth centers to generate new business opportunities, and focus efforts for the near future on the industrial and tourism development sectors.

Christopher Clark Deschene, partner, Law Offices of Schaff & Clark-Deschene, LLC, represents Tribal business clients at all stages of growth, including business start-ups, business structuring and contracts. Previously, he was a representive in the Arizona House of Representatives.

Judith M. Dworkin, head of Sacks Tierney P.A.'s Indian Law and Tribal Relations Practice Group, focuses on the representation of economic development efforts by Indian Tribes and is experienced in Indian law issues.

James E. Fitting, Fitting Law, focuses on business and commercial law in Indian Country. Previously, he was Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Economic and Community Development unit at Navajo Nation Department of Justice. He is also chairman of the Board of Directors of the Isleta Business Corporation.

Paul E. Frye, founder, Frye Law Firm, P.C., concentrates on Native American law, including litigation, business development and representation, and government affairs. He has litigated cases in state, federal and Tribal court and has negotiated significant tax-sharing agreements and land exchange and consolidation agreements.

Christopher A. Holland, Sutin, Thayer & Browne APC, focuses on employment law, civil litigation, regulatory and administrative law, education law and appeals and represents public entities and corporate clients in state and federal administrative and court proceedings.

Stephanie P. Kiger, Attorney-Advisor, U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of the Solicitor, Southwest Region, focuses on Tribal realty matters, mineral development, and code review.

Joe Lennihan, Attorney at Law, is the former Chief Counsel to the New Mexico Taxation & Revenue Department and is on the Editorial Board of the Multistate Journal on Taxation & Incentives.

Douglas C. MacCourt, partner, Ater Wynne LLP is Chair of the Indian Law Practice Group where he represents Tribes, Tribal enterprises, local governments and private clients on energy development, land use, natural resources, and environmental issues.

Mitch Marken, Ph.D., Vice President and Cultural Resources Leader, Environmental Science Associates, works with clients and agencies to ensure cultural resource management and regulatory compliance and is experienced in managing large-scale cultural resources and environmental projects for a variety of clients.

Jennifer Wade Robertson, Managing Associate with Environmental Science Associates, assists Tribal clients with NEPA, CEQA and Tribal-state compact compliance for Fee-to-Trust acquisitions, economic development, Tribal housing, roadway and infrastructure development, and biological and cultural resource management.

Melissa Robertson, Vice President and General Counsel, Sovereign Finance LLC, focuses on Indian law with emphasis on project finance and commercial transactions in Indian country. She works with Tribal governments and business enterprises on financings.

Ian A. Shavitz, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, assists Tribes in securing required federal, state and local approvals for development projects located on and off Tribal lands; advises on securing easements on and leasing of Tribal lands, including advising on and preparing HEARTH Act regulations for Tribes.

Jennifer H. Weddle, shareholder, Greenberg Traurig, LLP, and Co-Chair of the American Indian Law Practice Group, focuses on Tribal jurisdiction and natural resources development on Tribal lands.

Kelly K. Zunie, Cabinet Secretary-Designate, New Mexico Indian Affairs Department, is the first female to head the New Mexico state agency and is experienced in critical issues facing New Mexico's Native American population. Previously, she was a Business Analyst for Rocky Mountain Power in Utah.

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