Practice Areas

The Circle Law Group concentrates on all aspects of Indian law, tribal governmental and economic development issues. Our firm is experienced in counseling on matters relating to tribal governmental operations, fee-to-trust as well as related real estate issues on-and-off reservation lands, tribal consultation, cultural resource protection, financing of tribal development projects, gaming operations and regulation, establishing and counseling tribal gaming commissions, preparation of tribal codes and constitutions, Indian law litigation including environmental issues, contract disputes, Indian child welfare, gaming, and other Indian law matters. 

Indian Child Welfare

The future of Indian Tribes, and Nations, depends upon the success of our future ​generations. An important role of Indian Tribes is to ensure that the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) is properly implemented by State Courts. Michelle LaPena has represented many California Indian tribes to establish ICWA policies and forms, to establish tribal standards for placement of tribal children and to enforce tribal placement preferences in State Courts. As a representative on the Governor's Children's Justice Act Task Force, Michelle advocates for tribal court funding, and development of protocols between tribal and local governments, to implement the ICWA more effectively.

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