Attorney---Native American issues

Updated June 26, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

Dan Rey-Bear

Tell us about your work---what do you do? I am an attorney at a small to mid-sized law firm (about 16 attorneys) which specializes in representing Indian tribes and Native American organizations. In this position, I represent various clients in a wide range of legal matters. This includes a fair amount of litigation regarding private business matters as well as governmental and jurisdiction disputes with states, local governments, and the federal government. It also includes a significant amount of regulatory and transactional work. The former includes drafting tribal laws and regulations as well as supporting or opposing various federal laws and regulations and working cooperatively with other governments on issues of common concern; the latter includes working on various tribal business transactions concerning economic development and acquisitions, etc. What skills are needed? Legal training (i.e., law school ), analytic thinking , ability to work with others. What was your major? Philosophy and Mechanical Engineering How did you get started in your career? I worked in various legal positions while in law school, including several nonprofit legal organizations and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency . After law school, I worked for a federal court of appeals, then applied to various law firms, Indian tribes, and federal agencies that work on legal issues concerning Indian tribes. What experience do you need in this job? Law school and prior relevant legal experience Describe your "typical" workday. My day begins at 8:30 a.m., working on numerous different projects, often only briefly before having to address additional matters brought up by clients. Lunch is brief and I try to finish my day by 7:00 p.m. What is the hardest aspect of your job? The hours, and knowing that so many people are opposed to tribal interests What is the most rewarding aspect of your job? Providing valuable services for clients who really need such assistance What are your suggestions for someone considering this field? Study hard and get very good grades but be a very well-rounded person by being active in extracurricular activities and exploring the broader world.
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