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Attorney Profiles

STRICKLAND & STRICKLAND
A PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION
4400 E. Broadway, Suite 700
Tucson, Arizona 85711
Phone: (520) 795-8727
Fax: (520) 795-5649
E-Mail: [email protected]

Introduction to the Firm

The Tucson law firm of Strickland & Strickland, P.C. focuses its practice in the areas of
Indian law and Indian tribal representation, as well as medical malpractice and personal injury
litigation. For almost 40 years, the Strickland law firm has been legal counsel to several Indian
tribes, representing them in all aspects of their governmental affairs, including matters pertaining
to water, legislation, business, power and energy, gaming, employment, housing, construction,
law enforcement, law and order, planning and development, environmental regulations and
compliance, information systems, and economic affairs. Strickland & Strickland has also
represented non-tribal business entities in negotiating agreements with Indian tribes.Presently, Strickland & Strickland serves as General Counsel for the Ak-Chin Indian
Community, the Tohono O’odham Utility Authority, and the Sells District of the Tohono
O’odham Nation. The Strickland firm also serves as Special Water Counsel for the Schuk Toak
District of the Tohono O’odham Nation.

Strickland & Strickland has been named a Tier 1 firm in Tucson for Native American
Law in the 2013 edition of U.S. News — Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” and is a perennial
selection for inclusion in Martindale-Hubbell’s Bar Register of Pre-Eminent Attorneys(1),
receiving the highest rating possible (“AV-Preeminent”) under the Martindale-Hubbell Peer
Review Rating System(2).

(1)The Martindale-Hubbell Bar Register of Pre-Eminent Lawyers is considered America’s most exclusive directory of law firms. This publication lists only those select law practices and law firms which have earned the “AV-Preeminent Rating” in the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory and have therefore been designated by their colleagues as preeminent in their field. For more information, please go to www.martindale.com/ratings.

(2)The Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings take into consideration the standard of professional ability in the area where the lawyer practices, the lawyer’s expertise, and other professional qualifications. The “AV” Peer Review Rating means that a lawyer has reached the height of professional excellence, has usually practiced law for many years, and is recognized for the highest levels of skill and integrity. For more information, please go to www.martindale.com/ratings.

                           Qualifications and Experience
(Relating to Representation of Tribal Governments, Entities and Enterprises)

General:

  • Practice concentrating in the areas of Indian law, water law, Indian gaming law and mining law
  • Has been representing Indian tribal interests for more than 32 years
  • Vast experience in all aspects of representing Indian tribal governments and their entities and enterprises
  • Highly experienced in all aspects of negotiations with federal governmental agencies, including Department of Interior, Department of Justice, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Mines, Western Area Power Administration and National Indian Gaming Commission
  • Highly experienced in the field of negotiating with federal, state and local governments concerning water issues, including drafting and engineering legislation through Congress
  • Numerous appearances before U.S. Senate and House Committees to testify on behalf of Indian tribal governments regarding major issues, including proposed legislation and appropriations
  • Highly experienced in post-legislation final settlement contracts and implementation thereof with U.S. Government on behalf of Indian tribal governments
  • Numerous appearances in federal, state and tribal courts on behalf of Indian tribes, tribal entities, and tribal enterprises
  • Highly experienced in assisting and representing Indian tribal departments, enterprises, boards and committees in developing policies and procedures, preparing organizational documents and addressing various legal matters relating to:

Construction and Capital Projects
Cultural Resources
Elections
Employment and Human Resources
Enrollment
Environmental Protection
Farming
Finance
Fire and Emergency Services
Gaming
Grants and Contracts
Housing
Industrial Parks
Information Systems
Parks and Recreation
Planning and Development
Police and Law Enforcement
Power and Utilities
Sanitation
Tribal courts

  • Participated as speakers at numerous seminars regarding Indian issues

Specific – Water:

  • Ak-Chin Water Settlement Act (P.L. 95-328, amended by P.L. 98-530) ~ First
    Indian Water Rights Legislative Settlement in U.S.

As General Counsel for the Ak-Chin Indian Community (“Community”), we negotiated with federal, state and local entities, participated in drafting legislation and committee and conference reports, negotiated and drafted contracts with the U.S.Government and participated in acquiring the necessary federal funding. This settlement guaranteed the Community a permanent, annual supply of 75,000 acre feet of water, at no cost to the Community, with all delivery costs paid by the U.S. Government, together with a settlement excluding value of water, delivery and distribution of said water – a package worth approximately $50 million in cash, land development and equipment. The Act, through negotiations, was amended by P.L. 102-328 which authorized the right to lease settlement water to third parties in Maricopa, Pinal, and Pima Counties. We then participated with Community officials in negotiating, drafting and engineering through the Department of Interior the first agreement for the leasing of a specified amount of Indian legislative settlement water to a private entity. This water lease required amendments to Ak-Chin’s water settlement legislation, which we helped move through Congress.

  • Papago Water Settlement Act (Title III of P.L. 97-293) ~ Second Indian
    Water Rights Legislative Settlement in U.S.

As General Counsel for the Papago Tribe of Arizona (“Tribe”), we were instrumental in the filing of litigation against approximately 1700 defendants, including the State of Arizona, the City of Tucson, major mining companies, agribusinesses and other major industries to determine the Tribe’s water rights in the Santa Cruz Water Basin. After five years of negotiations, a legislative settlement was acquired. As General Counsel, we represented the Tribe in the negotiations with the federal, state and local entities, participated in drafting legislation and committee and conference reports, negotiated, drafted and implemented contracts with the U.S. Government, and participated in acquiring the necessary federal funding.

  • Gila Bend Indian Reservation Land Replacement Act (P.L. 99-503)

As General Counsel for the Tohono O’odham Nation (“Nation”), we represented the Nation in the negotiations with state and federal government entities to acquire federal legislation for $30 million to be utilized for replacing lands destroyed by flooding due to construction of a dam off the Nation’s reservation, including negotiating and drafting implementation agreements with the U.S. Government.

  • Tohono O’odham Tat Momolikot Dam Settlement Act (P.L. 99-469)

As General Counsel for the Nation, we successfully negotiated and acquired federal legislation for the payment of $6 million, plus other benefits, for damages created by the construction of a dam on the Nation’s reservation, including negotiating and drafting implementation agreements with the U.S. Government.

Specific – Indian Gaming:

On behalf of the Ak-Chin Indian Community (“Community”), and in participation with
Community officials, we were the first to negotiate and inaugurate a gaming facility under the
Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. In doing so, we participated with Community officials in
negotiating a gaming compact with the State of Arizona. We represented the Community and
worked with its officials in all negotiations with The Promus Companies, Inc., the former parent
corporation of Harrah’s Arizona Corporation, which manages the Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino and
Resort under a management agreement with the Community. In the process of these
negotiations, we worked with in-house counsel and officials for The Promus Companies, Inc.
and its subsidiaries to develop all contracts, agreements and other documents necessary for the
establishment of Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino and Resort, including, but not limited to, the
following major documents:

  • Management Agreement and amendments thereto
  • Development and Construction Agreements and amendments thereto
  • Loan Agreement, Promissory Note and amendments thereto
  • Security and Reimbursement Agreement
  • Banking Instructions
  • Guarantee of Loan
  • Business Plan
  • Statement of Investment Policies for Gaming Enterprise
  • Ak-Chin Indian Community Gaming Code and amendments thereto

Our work also included drafting and securing the tribal resolutions necessary for
approving and implementing these agreements; negotiating and securing approvals, when
necessary, from the Arizona Department of Gaming; and negotiating and securing approvals,
when necessary, from the National Indian Gaming Commission. We also prepared and rendered
several legal opinions on various issues relating to these agreements and the necessary
government approvals.

Presently, we oversee all legal matters pertaining to the Community’s gaming enterprise,
including the Community’s Tribal Gaming Agency (the tribal authority charged with regulating
the Community’s gaming operation). Working with Community officials, we also represent the
Community regarding gaming-related issues presented to and addressed by the Arizona Indian
Gaming Association.

Specific – Mining:

  • Successfully negotiated for mining companies (Narragansett Wire Co., El Paso Gas Co., Hecla Mining Co.) all agreements necessary for mining operations on Indian trust lands.
  • Successfully negotiated for Tohono O’odham Nation (formerly Papago Tribe of Arizona, “Nation”) all agreements necessary for mining operations on the Nation’s reservation with El Paso Gas Co., Hecla Mining Co., Newmont Mining Co., Noranda Mining Co. and Cyprus Mining Co.
  • Negotiated documents with federal agencies such as the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Mines, Environmental Protection Agency (state and federal), Bureau of Reclamation, Western Area Power Authority, Arizona Public Service, U.S. Solicitor’s Office and U.S. Department of Justice. Negotiated documents including mining lease agreements, business leases, water agreements, environmental impact statements, Secretarial waivers of certain Codes of Federal Regulation, rights-of-way, options, employment and power.


Specific – Power and Utilities:

  • General Counsel to the Tohono O’odham Utility Authority
  • General Counsel to the Ak-Chin Energy Services (“ACES”), formerly named theAk-Chin  Electric Utility Authority (“AKEUA”)
  • Provided all legal advice relating to the establishment of AKEUA and ACES
  • Assisted in drafted and preparing all documents relating to the establishment of the AKEUA and ACES, including Plans of Operation and required resolutions
  • Experienced in drafting and preparing:

Wheeling Agreements
Power Pool Agreements
Sales Agreements
Agreements for Transfer of Ownership of Electric Transmission and
Distribution Facilities
Agreements and Documents governing Use Rights and Capital Participation in Electric                    Transmission Facilities

  • Agreements governing Transfer of Ownership of Certain Electric Distribution Facilities
  • Power Supply Agreements
  • Maintenance and Construction Agreements
  • Loan Agreements and Related Documents

Specific – Tribal Constitutions and Laws:

  • Assisted in drafting and preparing the current Constitution of the Tohono O’odham Nation
  • Drafted and prepared tribal constitutional amendments
  • Assisted tribes in following federal and tribal procedures required for adopting and    amending tribal constitutions
  • Drafted and prepared numerous tribal laws and ordinances
  • Assisted in drafting and preparing the Revised Law and Order Code of 2000 for the Ak-Chin  Indian Community
  • Participated in numerous meetings of the Ak-Chin Law and Order Code Committee
  • Mr. Strickland, Jr. has served as Chairman of the Ak-Chin Law and Order Code.
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Our Office
  • Tucson Office
    4400 E. Broadway
    Suite 700
    Tucson, Arizona 85711
    Phone: 520-795-8727
    Fax: 520-795-5649