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American Indian law is an important area of law. There are 12 federally recognized Indian tribes in the state of Michigan.1 Indian tribes throughout the United States do business in Michigan. Indian tribal governments and corporations employ hundreds of thousands of non-Indians and received billions in federal pandemic relief. Indian gaming generated nearly $40 billion in revenues nationally last year. Still, many lawyers ignore the field or claim ignorance about the basic precepts of federal Indian law.

This article will canvass several themes of professionalism in tribal practice, drawing from this author’s tribal law experience over the last few decades. Many lawyers undervalue — and even disrespect — tribal governance. This lack of professionalism has significant costs to tribal governments, tribal business, and their business partners.


Reproduced with permission. Originally published as Fletcher, Matthew. "Professionalism in Tribal Jurisdictions." Michigan Bar Journal 101, no. 10 (2022): 24-28.