Philip "Phil" Baker-Shenk is a Native American Law attorney in Holland & Knight's Washington, D.C., office who provides legal and policy representation to dozens of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments and organizations as well as companies doing business with Native communities. Mr. Baker-Shenk has decades of experience forging practical, common-sense solutions to the diverse challenges confronting his clients. Nothing satisfies him more than when he has secured a goal that benefits his clients and energizes his reputation for effective advocacy.

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

Mr. Baker-Shenk began his work in Washington on behalf of Indian tribes in 1976. He served for two years as majority general counsel to Sen. John McCain, chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. During several tours of duty totaling a half decade on the Indian Affairs Committee 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.

Tribal and other clients call on Mr. Baker-Shenk for advice 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, 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 federal, state and tribal courts, crafting federal and state legislation, providing legal advice and counsel to tribal governments and their enterprises, negotiating with federal and state administrative agencies, and resolving problems as general counsel for tribal clients.

In his off-hours, Mr. Baker-Shenk co-manages 11 acres of flora and fauna fronting on the Potomac River, and is an ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA), a co-housing developer and an avid general aviation pilot.

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, 2011-2023


Speaking Engagements