Walter brings over thirty years of experience providing representation, advice and counsel to businesses and individuals in their dealings with Indian tribes and public land management agencies, like the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service and New Mexico State Land Office. Walter's practice is focused on natural resources, energy and environmental law.
Clients throughout the west and across the country seek Walter's advice in matters involving transactions, disputes and consultations with Indian tribes and other Native American groups. In addition, clients look to Walter when pursuing federal lands leasing, development, and related permitting and environmental compliance efforts under the National Environmental Policy Act ("NEPA"), Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, the Endangered Species Act, and related federal statutes.
Walter also is actively involved in community and professional non-profit organizations. He has served as President of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, a world-class continuing education provider for professionals working in the areas of natural resources development and environmental law. In addition, Walter is a past Chair and a current member of the Board of Trustees of the Albuquerque Academy, an independent day school.
Nationally recognized in Native American Law by Chambers USA, Walter has also received top recognition in the areas of Environment, Natural Resources & Regulated Industries in Chambers' New Mexico review. As reported in Chambers, he "regularly represents companies across the USA in their dealing with Native American tribes. Market observers note that Stern is held ‘in very high esteem in terms of abilities and character.' Clients say we ‘feel he is part of our business.'" He has been listed by Best Lawyers in America® since 1995 and named Lawyer of the Year in Albuquerque three times: Energy Law, 2014; Oil and Gas Law, 2012; and Native American Law, 2011. In addition, Walter has achieved the AV® rating from Martindale-Hubbell, was selected as one of the Top 25 Super Lawyers in New Mexico by Southwest Super Lawyers®, and chosen as Best of the Bar in Native American Law by the New Mexico Business Weekly. Walter serves as President of Modrall Sperling and Chair of the Executive Committee.
Walter enjoys hiking, skiing, and mountain bike riding that does not involve crashing on boulders.
Boston College Law School, J.D., 1982, cum laude
- University of California at Berkeley, B.S. in Forestry, 1978, with honors
- New Mexico
- U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
- United States Supreme Court
- U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
- U.S. Court of Federal Claims
Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation (President, 2009-2010; Vice President, 2008-2009; Secretary, 2003-2004; Member, Board of Directors, f/k/a Executive Committee, 1999-2001, 2003-2004, 2008–2012; Program Chair, 2001 Annual Institute; Chair, Special Institutes Committee, 2002-2007; Trustee, 1997-2001, 2003-2004, 2008-present)
American Bar Association, Section of Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law (Chair, Public Lands Committee 1995-1997; Chair, Alternative Dispute Resolution Coordinating Group 1994-1995)
State Bar of New Mexico Section of Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law (Chair, 1989-1990)
- Albuquerque Academy, Board of Trustees (Chair, 2009-2014; Vice-Chair, 2008-2009; Trustee, 2003-2005, 2007-present)
- Albuquerque Community Foundation, Trustee, 2014-present