ICT interview with Gabe Galanda about starting new law firm
"Seattle lawyer Gabriel S. Galanda, Round Valley, has launched his own law firm after 10 years with Williams Kastner, one of the largest law firms in the Pacific Northwest.

ICT: You were the youngest board member ever at Williams Kastner, where you became widely recognized as an expert on tribal sovereignty and economic development. What are the advantages to starting your own law firm?
GG: I have to begin by acknowledging that Galanda Broadman would not exist if it weren’t for Williams Kastner. In 1998, Williams Kastner took a chance on me, coming out of law school, when few other law firms would. I enjoyed 10 amazing years of legal practice there. I founded the Tribal Practice Group there, which continues on under my mentor Debora Juarez’s leadership. I learned how to practice law and in turn Indian law, in all of its variety, there. I met my law partner, Anthony Broadman, there, having recruited him to the firm from my alma mater, the University of Arizona College of Law. I am truly grateful to Williams Kastner and my friends and family there in the Tribal Practice Group.

But, to answer your question, starting my own law firm allows me to be much more agile in responding to Indian country’s legal needs. I am able to focus more of my time on the actual representation of tribal governments, businesses and entrepreneurs, and to do so more cost-effectively.

ICT: How does the work you do at Galanda Broadman differ from your work at Williams Kastner?
GG: The quality of lawyering at Galanda Broadman is not too different from the product we provided at our old firm. We handle ‘bet the tribe’ litigation, meaning those disputes that concern a tribe or tribal enterprise’s sovereignty – their very existence. We assist tribes with crisis management; with legal crises that are multi-dimensional. We counsel tribes with regards to all sorts of economic diversification initiatives, especially in the areas of tribal business and asset protection and tax strategy.

One new area of focus is tribal alternative dispute resolution. I am now available to mediate and arbitrate disputes between tribes and other governments, and tribal businesses and casinos and individuals, rather than having those disputes resolved in court. Tribes simply do not fare well in state or federal court, and it is only a matter of time before a non-tribal judge will sound the next death knell for a vital sovereignty right, like sovereign immunity. I am also mediating and arbitrating tribal internal disputes. I recently helped resolve an election protest for a southeastern tribe, which was a lot of fun."

Get the Story:
10 questions with attorney Gabe Galanda (Indian Country Today 6/23)

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