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Hobbs Straus lawyers obtained an injunction against U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in a case establishing that treaty rights to hunt also include a right to protection of wildlife habitat. Klamath Tribes v. United States, 1996 WL 924509 (D.Or. 1996).

Attorney Biography

Jerry C. Straus
Tel: 202.822.8282
Fax: 202.296.8834

Jerry Straus is a founding partner of Hobbs Straus and has worked in Washington, D.C., representing Indian tribes for the past 45 years. As a young attorney, after serving two years with the Department of Justice, he was hired by one of the few firms that practiced Indian law. There, he found his greatest satisfaction working on historical claims against the United States and helping tribes protect their rights while holding on to resources vital to tribal survival. He was recently named Lawyer of the Year, Native American Law by Best Lawyers.

Jerry’s accomplishments include leading the successful legislative effort to have Congress return the 48,000-acre sacred Blue Lake lands to the Taos Pueblo of New Mexico in 1970 — the first large-scale restoration of tribal land. Jerry continued this work with the legislative restoration of the 26,000-acre Santa Cruz Spring Tract to the Pueblo de Cochiti of New Mexico in 1984. In 1990, he helped that pueblo secure a law that prevented an energy company’s desecration of a natural religious shrine that was sacred to Cochiti.

Jerry assisted the Seminole Tribe of Florida in negotiating a landmark water rights compact with the state in 1987 and in securing necessary legislative approval. This led to assisting the Seminole in challenging the two largest corporate landowners in the state whose activities threatened to flood tribal lands and degrade water quality. In 1999, he directed the Firm’s legislative efforts to secure congressional approval of a $32 million award to the Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin for damages suffered from the termination of its federal trust status in 1961.

Much of Jerry’s work today focuses on protecting the rights of tribes conducting high-stakes gaming under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) and helping them get financing for the expansion of gaming operations. In 1988, he provided a legal opinion that allowed the Seminole Tribe to operate electronic Class II games under the IGRA and has spent the last 10 years assisting Seminole and other tribes in efforts to protect and validate these games, which have ripened into a multibillion-dollar industry. He represented the Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut in its successful 1995 effort to establish a major casino through the first issuance of commercial bonds to finance construction of an Indian casino. In 2007, he was lead counsel in the negotiation of a gaming compact under the IGRA between the Seminole Tribe and the State of Florida. He also assisted the Seminole Tribe in the negotiation and approval of a successor compact in 2010. He is a key participant in joint tribal efforts to oppose federal legislation and regulations curtailing Indian gaming rights.

When not at work, Jerry enjoys traveling, reading, and games of chess and Scrabble, often played at his beach house in Chincoteague, Virginia.

Of Note:
First successful large-scale restoration of historic lands to an Indian tribe (1970)
First legal opinion on electronically assisted Class II gaming devices (1988)
First successful issuance of commercial bonds to finance construction of an Indian casino (1995)
First recognition of federal water rights for an Eastern Tribe
First gaming compact with the State of Florida (2007)
U.S. Attorney General’s Honors Program
Columbia University Law School, LL.B., 1961
Columbia University, B.A., 1958
Bar Admissions:
District of Columbia
Practice Concentration: