Lynn H. Slade

Direct: 505.848.1828
Main: 505.848.1800
Fax: 505.848.9710
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Lynn Slade serves clients' needs addressing Federal Indian law and Native American law, energy, natural resources, environmental law, project development, complex litigation and transactions for over 30 years.  In his Indian law practice, Lynn advises and counsels natural resource and energy developers, financial institutions, utilities, and other businesses in transactions and project development, including extensive involvement with renewable energy projects.  He also leads litigation teams in disputes concerning resource development, environmental regulation and business activities on Indian lands.  In addition, Lynn represents oil and gas exploration and production and mid-stream companies and associated financing and equity investing parties in the purchase, sale, financing and operation of oil and gas producing and transportation assets, and he has represented participants in gas and electric markets before federal and state agencies. 

Lynn Slade's experience in energy markets includes both renewable energy, including solar, hydroelectric, biomass, and wind energy projects, and fossil fuel or conventional energy resources, including oil and gas exploration and production, royalty accounting, and taxation, and negotiation and drafting of leases, joint venture agreements, and pipeline or transmission rights-of-way agreements.  On the litigation side, he has been involved in federal, state, and tribal trial and appellate courts in numerous states, providing counsel in complex mediations and arbitrations.  Lynn's clients include Enterprise Product Partners, Peabody Energy, Sempra Energy, and the State of Oklahoma, including Tax Commission and Water Resources Board.

Lynn received national recognition from Chambers USA, which notes that he is widely considered to be "one of the best Native American law attorneys" in New Mexico and on a nationwide basis. He is described by one commentator as "an outstanding lawyer with superb expertise in Native American law. He has very good negotiation skills and knows the law very well." He couples his leading practice in Native American law with a strong offering in the energy and natural resources space, where he is involved in both litigation and transactions. Sources observe that "he's hard-working and understands energy very well" and is "a very, very good lawyer who's involved in a lot of regulatory work." For more than twenty-five years, he has been listed by Best Lawyers in America®, and named Lawyer of the Year – Albuquerque in multiple areas: Oil and Gas Law, 2014; Native American Law, 2012; Natural Resources Law, 2012; Energy Law, 2011.  In addition, he has received recognition from Southwest Super Lawyers®, selected as one of the Top 25 New Mexico Super Lawyers; from Benchmark Litigation as a local Litigation Star; and New Mexico Business Weekly, Best of the Bar in Native American Law, 2009. Lynn has an AV® rating from Martindale-Hubbell, based on a peer review.

Lynn serves as Co-Chair of the firm's Native American/Federal Indian Law Practice and is a member of the Natural Resources and Environment; Oil, Gas & Midstream; and Renewable Energy Practice Groups.


  • University of New Mexico School of Law, J.D., 1976, Editor, New Mexico Law Review, 1975-1976
  • University of New Mexico, B.A. in Economics, 1973

Bar Admissions

  • New Mexico
  • United States Supreme Court
  • U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

Practice Areas



Representative Litigation

  • Represented the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality in its successful petition before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to review a portion of an EPA regulation (the "Indian country NSR Rule") arguing, among other grounds, that EPA was without statutory authority to displace state implementation plans with respect to non-reservation areas of States because EPA failed to make required jurisdictional determinations that such areas were within a tribe's jurisdiction. The Court of Appeals set aside the rule with respect to the Oklahoma portions challenged. See Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality v. Environmental Protection Agency, 740 F.3d 185 (D.C. Cir. 2014).

  • Led a Modrall Sperling team defending the authority of the Oklahoma Tax Commission to tax incomes of Osage Nation tribal members residing on certain lands the Osage contend are a continuing reservation.  Based on evidence addressing legislative intent and over 100 years of history, the federal district court ruled the reservation was terminated in 1906 and entered judgment in favor of the Commissioners.  The court of appeals affirmed.  See, Osage Nation v. Irby, 597 F.3d 1117 (10th Cir. 2010), cert. denied, 131 S. Ct. 1553 (2011).

  • Represented an engineering firm in tribal court and Louisiana state trial and appellate courts in defense of the firm's successful efforts to enforce contacts that provided for state court, rather than tribal court, jurisdiction.  See, Meyer Engineering v. Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, 992 So.2d 446 (La. Sup. Ct. 2008), cert. denied, 129 S.Ct. 1988 (2009),  2009 U.S. LEXIS 2638. 

  • Represented QEP Field Services in ensuring continued operations of major oil and gas field facilities. QEP Field Services v. Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78844 (D.Utah 2011).

  • Led Modrall Sperling teams, and appeared as counsel of record, in representing amici curiae, including the Association of American Railroads, in a series of cases that have served to better define the scope of tribal jurisdiction over nonmembers in the areas of court jurisdiction, regulation, and taxation.  See, Strate v. A-1 Contractors, Inc., 520 U.S. 438 (1997), Atkinson Trading Co. Inc. v. Shirley, 520 U.S. 438 (1997) (taxation); Plains Commerce Bank v. Long Family Land & Cattle Co., 554 U.S. 316 (2008) (court jurisdiction).

  • Represented the City of Albuquerque in appellate review of rulings in an Endangered Species Act challenge to plans to use interstate diversions to support municipal water supplies.  See, Rio Grande Silvery Minnow v. Keys, 333 F.3d 1109 (10th Cir. 2003).

  • Represented El Paso Natural Gas Company in appellate proceedings that resulted in the rule that federal court has initial jurisdiction to determine whether tort claims arising from nuclear incidents should be heard in state, federal, or tribal court.  See, El Paso Natural Gas Co. v. Neztsosie, 526 U.S. 473 (1999).

  • Counsel for Transwestern Pipeline Company in litigation yielding the rule that the arbitrator, not a court, may decide enforceability of arbitration agreements.  See, Transwestern Pipeline Co. v. Blackburn, 831 S.W. 2d 735 (Tex. App. -- Amarillo 1992).

Representative Transactions

  • Solar Energy Development:  Served as Native American/Federal Indian Law counsel to K Road Energy with respect to leases of tribal lands for large scale photovoltaic developments on lands of the Maopa Reservation, Nevada; Chemehuevi Reservation, California; and others.

  • Advised Sempra Energy regarding utility-scale wind energy project development on the Navajo Nation, Arizona, and power purchase agreement with multiple tribal utilities in Arizona, Nevada, and California.

  • Negotiated and drafted oil and gas exploration and production leases, joint venture agreements, and pipeline rights of way agreements, Navajo Nation, Arizona and New Mexico; Southern Ute Tribe, Colorado; Northern Ute Tribe, Utah; Jicarilla Apache Nation, New Mexico; and Wind River Reservation, Wyoming.

  • Represented Portland General Electric in negotiation and drafting of joint venture agreement for the Pelton/Round Butte Hydro-Electric Project with Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation, Oregon.


Professional Activities

  • The American Law Institute (ALI), Member, 2012-present
  • U.S. Supreme Court Historical Society, New Mexico State Chair, 2008-2011
  • American Bar Association, Section of Environment, Energy and Resources, Membership Officer, 1998-2000, Member of Council, 1995-1998; Chair, Committee on Native American Natural Resources 1992-1994; Member, Sections of Litigation, Dispute Resolution, International Law, and Public Utilities
  • State Bar of New Mexico, Chair, Natural Resources Section, 1982-1984; Board of Directors, Indian Law Section, 1990-1997, 2002-2004
  • Utton Center for Transboundary Resources, Advisory Council, 2003-present, Executive Committee, 2010-present
  • Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, Board of Trustees (at large), 1995-1997, 2005-2008




  • "Contributing Editor, Landman's Legal Handbook, 5th ed., Rocky Mtn. Min. L. Fndn (2013).
  • "Deciphering Title to 'Native American' Land:  Turf Battle on a Checkerboard?" Title News, Official Publication of the American Land Title Association, April 2011 (co-authored with Greg L. Gambill)
  • "Plains Commerce Bank v. Long Family Land & Cattle Company" (August 2008) (co-authored with Walter Stern)
  • "Environmental Regulation on Indian Lands" (November 1999) (co-authored with Walter Stern)
  • "The Federal Trust Responsibility" (May 1999)
  • "Natural Resources In and Around Indian Country" (March 1998)
  • "Alternative Dispute Resolution in Inter-Jurisdictional Disputes:  An Industry Perspective" (November 1997)
  • "Dispute Resolution in Indian Country" 71 North Dakota Law Review 519 (1995)
  • "Exhaustion of Tribal Remedies:  Jurisdiction, Geography, and the Interests of the Litigants" (October 1995)


  • Program Co-Chair, Tribal Energy in the Southwest sponsored by Law Seminars International, December 9-10, 2013, Sandia Resort & Casino (with Tom Peckham, Norhaus Law Firm, LLP)
  • "Indian Tribes: Business Partners & Market Participants: Strategies for Effective Trial/Industry Partnership", Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Fndn. , Special Institute on Natural Resources Development on Indian Lands (2011)
  • "Mineral & Energy Development on Native American Lands: Strategies for Addressing Sovereignty, Regulation, Rights & Culture, 56 Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Inst. 5-A-1 (2010)
  • "The Federal Trust Responsibility:  Evolving Models for Tribal-Private Resource Development" Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Fndn., Special Institute on Natural Resource Development in Indian Country (2005)
  • "Tribal Sovereignty and Lending in Indian Country," Risk Management Association (2003) (co-authored with Duane Brown, William Scott, and Walter E. Stern)
  •  "Puzzling Powers: Overlapping Jurisdictions of Indian Tribes, the Federal, State, and Local Governments in Development of Natural Resources in Indian Country," 42 Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Inst. 11-1 (1996)
  • "Oil & Gas Development on Indian Lands:  Shifting Sovereignties in the Oil Patch," Forty-Fifth Annual Institute on Oil & Gas Law and Taxation, Southwestern Legal Fndn. (1994)


  • American College of Environmental Lawyers (ACOEL), Fellow, 2014
  • Chambers USA Directories of America's Leading Lawyers for Business, recognized Nationwide in Native American Law, 2010-present; in New Mexico, Star Individual in Native American Law; and in Environment,  Natural Resources & Regulated Industries, 2007-present
  • Benchmark Litigation The Definitive Guide to America's Leading Law Firms and Attorneys, Litigation Star, 2013-present
  • Best Lawyers "Lawyer of the Year 2014, Oil and Gas Law - Albuquerque"
  • Best Lawyers "Lawyer of the Year 2012, Native American Law – Albuquerque"
  • Best Lawyers "Lawyer of the Year 2012, Natural Resources Law – Albuquerque"
  • Best Lawyers "Lawyer of the Year 2011, Energy Law – Albuquerque"
  • Best Lawyers in America® in Energy Law, Environmental Law, Native American Law, Natural Resources Law, Oil & Gas Law, 1989-present
  • International Who's Who of Environment Lawyers, 2007-present
  • International Who's Who of Mining Lawyers 2007- present
  • Martindale Hubbell AV® Preeminent, based on a peer review
  • New Mexico Business Weekly, "Best of the Bar – Native American Law" 2009
  • Southwest Super Lawyers® (derived from a lawyer survey), 2007- present; "Top 25 New Mexico Super Lawyers" 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2014, 2015, 2016 


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