Jessica focuses her career on tribal and Indian law—particularly governance and litigation. She represents Indian tribes and their business partners in matters involving sovereign immunity, tribal jurisdiction, treaty rights, and the applicability of federal law. She also assists tribes regarding governance issues, such as the drafting of tribal laws and the day-to-day administration of tribal constitutions and codes.
After only one year on the Rising Star list, in 2013 Jessica was selected to the Super Lawyer list for Minnesota Native American Law. She has remained on the peer-reviewed list ever since. She also earned an AV-Preeminent rating—the ranking service’s top honor—from Martindale-Hubbell. Jessica graduated first in her class from Hamline University School of Law, where she served as Notes and Comments Editor for the Hamline Law Review.
When she is not in the office, Jessica is involved in a number of community activities. She is a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association and Federal Bar Association (Indian Law section), and an associate member of the Tribal In-House Counsel Association. Jessica worked with the Minneapolis Public Schools’ Indian Education Department to develop the district’s first-ever Indian-law moot-court curriculum, and she is a past president of the Board of Directors of the nonprofit Family Tree Clinic. She lives in Northeast Minneapolis with her husband, tireless gradeschooler, and two dachshunds, Hermano and Miss Ellie. She discusses Indian law and tribal-sovereignty matters at JIntermill.
Jessica’s Indian-law experience includes:
- Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians v. Snyder (W.D. Mich. 2015 – present). Representing the tribe in suit for recognition of treaty-defined reservation boundaries, including drafting and arguing a successful motion to limit Sherrill defenses. 194 F. Supp. 3d 648 (W.D. Mich. 2016).
- Code Drafting (2009 – present). Drafting, revising, and securing appropriate approvals for tribal laws and policies concerning a broad spectrum of governance matters.
- Governance Matters (2009 – present). Advising tribes and tribal businesses and departments concerning legal best practices and compliance with tribal and federal law.
- Bruguier v. Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians. Secured dismissal of Title VII suit against tribe on immunity, applicability, and administrative-exhaustion grounds. 2017 WL 684230 (W.D. Wis. Feb. 21, 2017).
- Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort v. NLRB. Represented the tribe in defending against improper assertion of agency authority over on-reservation gaming activities. 791 F.3d 648 (6th Cir. 2015).
- Harris v. Lake of the Torches Resort & Casino. Represented the tribal corporation in successfully arguing for vacatur of judgment against tribal casino because the casino was immune from suit, and in protecting the sovereign-immunity win on appeal. Vacatur affirmed at 2015 WL 1014778 (Wis. Ct. App. March 10, 2015).
- City of Duluth v. Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. Represented the tribe in successfully arguing for district court’s strict construction of waiver of sovereign immunity and dismissal of case. District Court’s decision affirmed at 843 N.W.2d 577 (Minn. 2014).
- Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl (U.S. 2013). Represented certain Minnesota tribes in amicus briefing to the United States Supreme Court addressing the role of ICWA in fostering intergovernmental cooperation concerning Indian-child-welfare cases.
- City of Duluth v. Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. Represented the tribe in successfully arguing for relief from a consent judgment that improperly afforded the city a proprietary interest in the tribe’s casino. 830 F. Supp. 2d. 712 (D. Minn. 2011), affirmed in relevant part at 702 F.3d 1147 (8th Cir. 2013).
- Wells Fargo v. Lake of the Torches Economic Development Corporation. Represented the tribal corporation in successfully arguing that the corporation’s bond indenture was void under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, and that the court lacked jurisdiction to enforce the $50 million bond. 677 F. Supp. 2d 1056 (W.D. Wis. 2010), affirmed in relevant part at 658 F.3d 684 (7th Cir. 2011).
- Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan v. Granholm. Represented the tribe in five-government negotiations of a 12-agreement settlement of a dispute to recognize the treaty boundaries of the Tribe’s reservation. 2010 WL 5185114 (E.D. Mich. Dec. 17, 2010), motion for relief from judgment denied, 2011 WL 1884196 (E.D. Mich. May 18, 2011).
- Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan v. Granholm. Represented the tribe in successfully arguing that the Rosebud Sioux statutory-diminishment and Sherrill latches defenses did not apply to treaty-based reservation-boundary case as a matter of law. 2008 WL 4808823 (E.D. Mich. Oct. 22, 2008) and 2009 WL 1285846 (E.D. Mich. Apr. 29, 2009).
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- J.D. Hamline University School of Law, summa cum laude, Order of the Coif
- B.A. University of Nebraska at Lincoln, Phi Beta Kappa
- Supreme Court of the United States
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
- U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan
- U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota
- U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin
- Lac Du Flambeau Tribal Court
- Lower Sioux Indian Community Tribal Court
- Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Community Court
Selected Publications, Presentations, and Professional Honors:
- Super Lawyer, Minnesota Super Lawyers Magazine (2013-present).
- AV Preeminent rated, Martindale Hubbell (2015-present).
- Attorney Adviser for the Minneapolis Public Schools’ first-ever Indian Law Moot Court, All Nations High School, (2016-present).
- Indian Law Notes & Trends, Bench & Bar of Minnesota (2015-present).
- Life After Lake of the Torches: Management Contracts and the Sole Proprietary Interest Standard, National Indian Gaming Association Indian Gaming Tradeshow and Convention, Las Vegas, NV (2018).
- Future of Federal Indian Law, National Native American Law Students Association General Meeting, Scottsdale, AZ (2018).
- The Claims Game: Strategies for Keeping Your Profits and Controlling Guest Claims, National Indian Gaming Association Indian Gaming Tradeshow and Convention, San Diego, CA (2017).
- A Brave New World: Putting Federal Law to Work for Tribes, Tribal In-House Counsel Association and Indigenous Law Conference, Michigan State University (2017).
- Exploring In-House Professional Ethics in Indian Country, Tribal In-House Counsel Association and Indigenous Law Conference, Michigan State University (2017).
- In-House and Outside Counsel Ethics Strategies, Tribal In-House Counsel Association and Indigenous Law Conference, Michigan State University (2016).
- Litigation Update, Tribal In-House Counsel Association and Indigenous Law Conference, Michigan State University (2016).
- Quoted by Minnesota Public Radio concerning cooperative jurisdictional agreements (2016).
- State of the Unions, Labor Law in Indian Country Panel Discussion, MinnCLE 2016 Indian Law Conference, Prior Lake, MN (2016).
- The Nations Within: An Indian Law FAQ Webcast (co-presented by Jessica Intermill and Jessie Stomski Seim), MinnCLE (2016).
- Law360 Native American Editorial Advisory Board (2015-2016).
- Drafting Tribal Law: Best Practices & Strategic Approaches, Tribal In-House Counsel Association and Indigenous Law Conference, Michigan State University (2015).
- The Nations Within: An Indian Law FAQ (co-authored by Jessica Intermill and Jessie Stomski Seim), Bench & Bar of Minnesota (October 2015).
- Competing Sovereigns: Circuit Courts’ Varied Approaches to Federal Statutes in Indian Country, The Federal Lawyer (September 2015).
- Analysis of Statutes of General Applicability in Indian Country, Federal Bar Association 40th Annual Indian law Conference, Scottsdale, AZ (2015).
- Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community and the Future of Tribal Sovereign Immunity, MinnCLE 2014 Indian Law Conference, Prior Lake, MN (2014).
- Women in Indian Law Panel Discussion, William Mitchell College of Law, St. Paul, MN (2013).
- Rising Star, Minnesota Super Lawyers Magazine (2012).
- Overview of Current Federal, Tribal, and State Taxation Authority on Indian Reservations, Tax Management for Tribes Conference, Law Seminars International, St. Paul, MN (2009).