Former NIGC Chair Jonodev Chaudhuri Joins Quarles & Brady in Washington, D.C.05/07/19
The national law firm of Quarles & Brady LLP today announced that Jonodev Osceola Chaudhuri, outgoing Chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC), will chair the firm’s Indian Law and Policy Group from its Washington, D.C. office, effective May 20.
President Barack Obama first designated Chaudhuri to serve as acting Chairman in 2013, following his initial appointment to the agency by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. He was then nominated by President Obama and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2015. During his tenure at the NIGC, Chaudhuri oversaw the $32.4 billion Indian gaming industry spanning approximately 250 tribal nations and 500 facilities across 29 states. Working with over 6,000 tribal regulators in the field, Chaudhuri led the NIGC during key milestones in connection with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), which promotes tribal economic development, self-sufficiency, and strong tribal governments.
“While I will dearly miss my incredible team at the NIGC and the important work we performed on behalf of Indian country, I’m thrilled to be joining another incredible team at Quarles & Brady, a firm whose philosophy, resources, and talented attorneys make it perfectly poised to profoundly impact the landscape of Indian country in the years ahead,” said Chaudhuri. “I look forward to utilizing some of the same strategic planning and problem-solving skills that were central to our work at the NIGC to work with my new teammates to develop targeted solutions to complex problems which, in turn, will help achieve new opportunities for Indian country.”
Chaudhuri continued, “The Indian Law and Policy Group, which includes highly-respected practitioners such as Thomas Springer, Luis Ochoa, and Samantha Skenandore, among others, already has an outstanding reputation of bringing best-in-class services to Native American communities and tribal nations across the country. We have the shared belief that tribal innovation and self-governance have been driving forces behind reaffirmed and expanded tribal sovereignty seen in the last several decades – from gaming to the restoration of significant decision-making authority over tribal lands – and we are committed to supporting tribal nations in their pursuit of true self-determination. There’s no better group to help guide Indian country into a bright and prosperous future.”
“Chairman Chaudhuri’s leadership at the NIGC was marked by a steadfast commitment to supporting tribal self-determination, tribal economic development, and self-sufficiency,” said Springer. “No doubt the resounding success of the industry in recent years is due, in large part, to his sound application of law to policy and governance. Now, with the addition of his leadership, we expect Quarles & Brady to be at the forefront of policy, litigation, and advocacy supporting the sovereignty of tribal nations and the welfare of their citizens.”
While at the NIGC, Chaudhuri instituted a variety of initiatives designed to support tribal self-determination, including protecting against gamesmanship, staying ahead of the gaming technology curve, and improving outreach to rural communities. Further, by all accounts, he helped create an espirit de corps that led to the greatest improvement in employee satisfaction among all federal departments and agencies with over 100 employees.
“We’re excited for Jonodev to lead our team, as working with a practitioner with his immense talent and proven track record will further enhance our clients' interests as they advance their tribal sovereignty,” added Skenandore.
Chaudhuri’s law and policy track record is extensive, even beyond his tenure at the NIGC. Earlier in his career, he served as senior counselor to the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, where he provided guidance on a wide range of national policy issues. His 20-year legal career includes serving as a judge on five different tribal courts, including serving as Chief Justice of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Supreme Court, the highest court of the fourth largest tribe in the nation.
In tandem with his move to Quarles & Brady, Chaudhuri will begin an ambassadorship with his tribal nation, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, headquartered in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. Although separate from his work at the firm, this diplomatic service in support of his tribal nation’s sovereignty is consistent with the law and policy principles he brings to Quarles & Brady. Originally from Tempe, Arizona, Chaudhuri has also served as a community organizer, adjunct professor, public defender, legal services director, and author. He received his J.D. from Cornell Law School, and his B.A. from Dartmouth College.