Robert Odawi Porter, who recently completed his term as the 67th President of the Seneca Nation of Indians has joined SNR Denton’s Washington, D.C. office as a senior counsel in the Native American Law and Policy practice and the Public Policy and Regulation practice the firm announced January 29.
The Heron Clan citizen has built a career in law previously holding various positions with the Nation that included its chief legal counsel in the positions of attorney general and senior policy advisor and counsel. Porter has also served more than 10 years as a tenured law professor at the University of Kansas, the University of Iowa and Syracuse University. Additionally, he is the founding director of the Tribal Law and Government Center at the University of Kansas and the Center for Indigenous Law, Governance & Citizenship at Syracuse University.
In his new position Porter will focus on “complex legal and policy matters representing Indian nations, individual Indians, Indian-owned businesses and companies doing business in Indian country.” The firm will look to him for insight on treaty rights, tribal self-governance and legal systems, and tribal economic development opportunities.
While Porter served as president of Seneca Nation, he stood firm for the tribal rights and sovereignty in battles with New York state over cigarette taxes and gaming rights. That background will be put to use at SNR where he will advise on protecting tribal wealth from unauthorized taxation, enforcing Indian gaming rights, tribal tobacco regulation and defense, and more.
“I am pleased to welcome Robert to the firm,” said V. Heather Sibbison, head of SNR Denton’s Native American Law and Policy practice. “He has dedicated his 20-year legal career to protecting and expanding the rights of indigenous nations and peoples, and brings with his unique and nationally-recognized background an unwavering dedication to Indian Nations throughout the country.”
“I am delighted to join SNR Denton’s experienced and dedicated team of professionals working hard for Indian country,” said Porter. “As a former tribal leader and tribal lawyer, I have fought my whole career for tribal sovereignty and treaty rights, and look forward to offering a unique new dimension to the firm’s Indian law practice.”
Porter received his J.D. from Harvard University School of Law and his A.B. from Syracuse University Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.