Holland & Knight Selected “Native American Group of the Year” by Law360
MIAMI (January 31, 2018) – Holland & Knight has been named “Native American Group of the Year” by Law360. The firm received this honor as part of the legal news service’s annual Practice Group of the Year awards, which recognize those practice groups that worked on the biggest deals or won the most important cases. Winners were selected in 35 practice areas.
“Whether drafting tribal constitutions, fighting for millions in funding for Seneca Nation members’ medical needs or securing gaming rights for tribes, Holland & Knight LLP was at the forefront of tribal legal battles last year,” Law360 noted in a profile of the firm.
In the Seneca Nation case, Holland & Knight represented the tribe in a decade-long struggle over how the Indian Health Service calculated the amount of healthcare funding it was owed. According to Law360, the firm was able to settle all cases in October 2017 “in an utter rout for the tribe,” securing more than $33 million in increased funding over the past nine years and an expected additional $3.7 million or more in funding in future years.
“The reality is that the Seneca Nation citizens have health indicators far less favorable than the average North American . . . . Every dollar really counts,” said Philip Baker-Shenk, the partner who led the Holland & Knight team.
Law360 also cited the firm’s victory on behalf of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska in a long-running dispute regarding a proposed site for a new casino. In November, the case made headlines when the National Indian Gaming Commission confirmed gaming eligibility of the tribe’s land in the greater Omaha area. The ruling had been held up for a decade by challenges that were heard at the district court level and by the 8th Circuit.
“Indian gaming is a significant economic driver for a number of tribes,” said James Meggesto, the co-chair of Holland & Knight’s Native American Law Group. He explained that the Ponca were not interested in gaming when the Indian Gambling Regulatory Act was passed 30 years ago, “which people seized on when the tribe decided they did want to pursue it. Those public statements generated local opposition from nearby gaming interests seeking to protect market share.”
Read the entire profile here.