Philip "Phil" Baker-Shenk is a Native American Law attorney in Holland & Knight's Washington, D.C., office who represents dozens of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments and organizations, as well as businesses in Native communities. Mr. Baker-Shenk has worked for Indian Country interests for more than four decades, forging practical, common-sense solutions to diverse challenges confronting his clients, and has earned a reputation for cost-effective advocacy.

Mr. Baker-Shenk regularly appears before courts, federal agencies and tribal governing bodies. He has extensive experience drafting regulations, legislation, court briefs, constitutions and ordinances as well as negotiating agreements, developing strategic positions and litigating cases on behalf of clients.

Tribal and other clients call on Mr. Baker-Shenk for advice on how to get the solutions they seek on policy issues, federal relations, economic development strategies and self-governance matters. Many of these efforts involve complex commercial and political transactions, including the transfer of land into trust or restricted status in the face of opposition, and the exercise of governmental jurisdiction over people, land and other natural resources.

Mr. Baker-Shenk has been involved in a variety of aspects of the development of federal Indian law, including litigating in courts, crafting federal, tribal and state legislation, providing legal advice and counsel to tribal governments and their enterprises, negotiating with federal and state administrative agencies, and resolving diverse problems as general counsel for tribal clients.

Mr. Baker-Shenk began his work in Washington, D.C., on behalf of Indian tribes in 1976. During several tours of duty totaling a half decade on the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs staff, Mr. Baker-Shenk drafted legislation and committee reports dealing with Indian gaming, housing, economic development, tribal status, land and resource management, environmental protection, taxation, child welfare, education, housing, self-governance and many other issues. During his final tour as a Senate staffer, he served for two years as majority general counsel to Sen. John McCain, then chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.

Representative Experience


  • The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law, J.D.
  • Eastern Mennonite University, B.S., Liberal Arts
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • District of Columbia
  • Maryland
  • Pennsylvania
Court Admissions
  • All Courts in the District of Columbia
  • All State Courts in Pennsylvania
  • All State Courts in Maryland
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • Bar Association of the District of Columbia
  • Native American Bar Association of D.C.
Honors & Awards
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, Washington, D.C., Native American Law Lawyer of the Year, 2023
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, Native American Law, 2013-2024
  • Tribal Ally Award, Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, 2023
  • Chambers USA – America's Leading Business Lawyers guide, Native American Law, 2011-2024


Speaking Engagements