Alison Grigonis
PEOPLE

Alison Grigonis

Senior Attorney
grigonis.alison@dorsey.com

Overview

ALISON IS A TRANSACTIONAL ATTORNEY WITH BROAD EXPERIENCE WITH FEDERAL REGULATORY ISSUES, PARTICULARLY THOSE AFFECTING TRIBES. SHE USES HER UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE TO ADVISE CLIENTS ON ENTITY FORMATION, PROJECT FINANCE, GAMING, FEE TO TRUST TRANSACTIONS, PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS, AND GOVERNMENT RELATIONS.

Alison’s practice at Dorsey includes assisting clients with commercial financing, entity formation, licensing agreements, commercial contract negotiations, corporate governance, gaming regulatory compliance, and real estate transactions. Alison is also an active member of Dorsey’s Blockchain and Digital Assets Practice Group.

Prior to joining Dorsey, Alison served in the Obama Administration, most recently, as a Senior Policy Advisor at the U.S. Department of the Interior, where she advised on gaming, land transactions, and legislative matters. She also served as a Senior Director of Cabinet Affairs at The White House coordinating communications, policy and logistics and managing issues that involve multiple federal agencies. These roles gave Alison a unique perspective into federal agency operations, organization, and decision making. 

Alison previously served as Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) in the areas of Indian affairs, education, and telecommunications. She frequently encountered matters involving congressional oversight of federal programs. 

Alison was also a Staff Attorney at the National Indian Gaming Commission, where she prepared legal analysis on gaming ordinances, facility license notifications, enforcement actions, administrative law issues, and tribal financing agreements for compliance with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. As a result, Alison is well-versed in the tribal-state-federal regulatory framework that governs tribal gaming operations. 

Prior to her government service, Alison was an associate attorney at a boutique law firm that specialized in representing tribal governments. She successfully represented clients on issues involving litigation, gaming, the fee-to-trust process, commercial due diligence and contract review, and political participation. 

Alison is an enrolled member of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians located in Michigan and Indiana.

Education & Admissions

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), School of Law (Juris Doctor, 2010)

University of California, Santa Barbara (B.A., Political Science, 2006)

Admissions

  • California
  • District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California

Languages

  • English

Experience

  • Counseled tribe in connection with $50 million secured credit facility for tribal gaming operations in California.
  • Drafted Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs decision to take the first parcel into federal trust status in the State of Alaska in 40 years for the U.S. Department of Interior.
  • Negotiated the restoration of 25,000 acres to the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation through negotiation of a multi-party agreement between the Nation, U.S. Department of Interior, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
  • Negotiated the Memorandum of Understanding between a tribe, the NIGC, and the Department of Interior to allow the tribe to move its current gaming operation to a new parcel under 292 Regulations.
  • Primary author of the Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children Act (Pub. L. 114-244).
  • Secured final passage of the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act of 2014 (Pub. L. 113-168).
  • Participated in the development and drafting of the United States amicus curiae brief in support of the tribal respondent in Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community, 134 S. Ct. 2025 (2014).
  • Primary author of the NIGC Commission decision in the matter of J. Randy Gallo and Bettor Racing, Inc., which was upheld on appeal first in federal district court, and again in the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. Bettor Racing v. Nat’l Indian Gaming Com’n, 47 F. Supp. 3d 912 (D.S.D. 2014); Bettor Racing v. Nat’l Indian Gaming Com'n, 812 F.3d 648 (8th Cir. 2016). 
  • Represented a tribal economic development agency in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of California to defend against a local school board challenge to the tribe’s acquisition of a 9-acre parcel for economic development. The case was dismissed pursuant to a settlement reached between the parties. 

News & Resources

Select Presentations

  • NAFOA
  • Panelist, Federal Bar Association 2018 Indian Law Conference, “Responding to the Trump Agenda: Preserving and Protecting our Rights in an Uncertain Time”
  • Panelist, Seventh Annual Native American Healthcare Conference, “ACA Round Table: What does the future of Healthcare look like for Indian Country?”
  • Panelist, NAFOA 2017 Fall Finance & Tribal Economies Conference, “Debating a Tax Fix for Indian Country”

Industries & Practices

  • Banking & Financial Institutions
  • Blockchain & Digital Assets
  • Development & Infrastructure
  • Environmental
  • Healthcare
  • Indian & Alaska Native
  • Project Development & Finance
  • Public-Private Partnerships

Professional & Civic

Professional Achievements

  • Member, Native American Bar Association of D.C. 
  • Member, Orange County Bar Association
  • Member, California Indian Law Association
  • Member, Federal Bar Association
Alison Grigonis