Keith Harper focuses his practice on litigation and Native American affairs. Throughout his career, Mr. Harper has represented tribes and individual Indians. Among other matters, Mr. Harper has, since inception of the case, represented the plaintiff class of 500,000 individual Indians and continues to serve as class counsel in the landmark Indian trust funds lawsuit, Cobell v. Kempthorne. Recently, the parties in the Cobell suit settled the case for $3.4 billion in aggregate.

Mr. Harper served as a Principal Advisor and Chair of the Native American Domestic Policy Committee for the Obama campaign and then as a member of the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team in the Energy & Environment Cluster.

Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Harper was a litigator at the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) in the Washington, D.C. office. During his tenure at NARF, he also taught "Federal Indian Law" as Adjunct Professor at Catholic University Columbus School of Law and at American University Washington College of Law. In 2001, Mr. Harper was appointed Appellate Justice on the highest court of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, where he served until October 2007. More recently, he served on the Supreme Court of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.

Mr. Harper is a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. While attending New York University School of Law, he served as Articles & Note Editor for the Journal of International Law & Politics. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including The Rockefeller Foundation NGL Fellowship, Skadden Fellowship, The University of Arizona Indigenous Peoples Law Program Senior Fellowship, The American Bar Association Business Law Division Ambassadorship, The Fowler Fellowship for Public Policy, The Root-Tilden-Snow Scholarship and The Center for International Studies Fellowship.

The National Law Journal selected Mr. Harper as one of 50 “Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America” in May 2008. He is listed in the 2013 and the four years immediately preceding editions of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business. Mr. Harper was recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® for Native American Law in 2013 and the five years immediately preceding. He is listed as a 2010, 2012 and 2013 Washington D.C. "Super Lawyer" in Native American Law by Super Lawyers magazine. Diversity & The Bar magazine selected Mr. Harper as one of 14 minority "Rainmakers." In 2001, he was selected as a Leadership Conference on Civil Rights delegate to the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa.

Professional & Community Activities

Americans for Democratic Action, Board Member

American Law Institute, Executive Committee, Member

American Progressive Caucus Policy Foundation, Board Member 

American Red Cross, National Diversity Council, Chair

Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, Member

Federal Bar Association, Member

Indian Country Renewable Energy Consortium, General Counsel

President's Commission on White House Fellowships, Member

World Organization for Human Rights, Board Member

Native American Bar Association of Washington, D.C., Past President

Education

  • New York University School of Law, J.D. (1994)
  • University of California, Berkeley, B.A., Sociology and Psychology (1990)

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia (1997)
  • New York (1995)

Admissions

  • New York Supreme Court (1995)
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims (1996)
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (1997)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (2000)
  • U.S. Supreme Court (2000)

Clerkships

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit — Honorable Lawrence W. Pierce

Who We Are

Suite 900, 607 14th Street, NW
Washington, DC, 20005-2018
USA
t +1 202.508.5844
f +1 202.585.0007

Keith M. Harper

Experience Highlights

Sovereign authority defense in National Labor Relations Board case for gaming tribe
Represents one of the most successful gaming Tribes in the country in a case before the National Labor Relations Board, defending the Tribe's more
Lands and assets class action suit for Native Americans
Served as co-counsel for plaintiff class of 500,000 Native Americans against the Department of Interior and Treasury Department arising out of the more
Nisqually Indian Tribe v. Christine Gregoire, et al.
Successfully represented Frank’s Landing Indian Community (Frank’s Landing) in contract litigation dispute. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals more