Biography

Reid Peyton Chambers joined the firm in 1976 as a founding partner. Mr. Chambers specializes in litigation, tribal reserved water rights and issues arising out of the federal trust responsibility.  He has represented tribes and Alaska Native interests with respect to land claims, water rights, hunting and fishing rights, reservation boundary issues, Alaska tribal rights and immunities, gaming law, tribal court jurisdiction, state and tribal taxation and coal development.  Mr. Chambers has also codified tribal laws and engaged in advocacy on behalf of a variety of tribal interests before state and federal agencies and Congress.

Mr. Chambers practiced privately in Washington, D.C. from 1967 to 1970.  From 1973 until joining the firm, Mr. Chambers served as Associate Solicitor for Indian Affairs of the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Department’s chief legal officer with responsibility over Indian and Alaska Native matters.

Mr. Chambers has published two oft-cited articles in the Stanford Law Review on federal Indian law issues, as well as a number of articles on Indian reserved water rights.  He has testified on Indian issues at the invitation of committees of Congress and frequently been invited to speak at the Federal Bar Association’s Indian Law meetings and conferences sponsored by other entities such as the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation.

Mr. Chambers has argued numerous cases before federal district and courts of appeals, and before state tribal courts and appellate courts. In 2003, Mr. Chambers represented the Bishop Paiute Tribe before the U.S. Supreme Court in Inyo County v. Paiute-Shoshone Indians of the Bishop Community, 538 U.S. 701 (2003).

For over thirty years, Mr. Chambers has taught a seminar on federal Indian law at Georgetown University Law School. He has also taught this seminar several times at Yale Law School, and in 1988, served as the Chapman Distinguished Visiting Professor at Tulsa University Law School. Mr. Chambers taught law for three years (1970-1973) as a professor at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), working extensively during those years with the Native American Rights Fund and California Indian Legal Services.

Honors

  • Member of the Board of Editors of the Harvard Law Review (1967)

Reported Decisions

  • CETAC v. Kempthorne, 492 F.3d 460 (D.C. Cir. 2007)
  • Taxpayers of Michigan Against Casinos v. State of Michigan, 732 N.W.2d 487 (Mich. 2007)
  • Inyo Cnty., Cal. v. Paiute-Shoshone Indians of the Bishop Cmty., 538 U.S. 701 (2003)
  • Burlington N. Santa Fe R. Co. v. Assiniboine & Sioux Tribes of Fort Peck Reservation, 323 F.3d 767 (9th Cir. 2003) 
  • Wetsit v. Stafne, 44 F.3d 823 (9th Cir. 1995) 
  • U.S. ex rel. Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Cmty. v. Pan Am. Mgmt. Co., 616 F. Supp. 1200 (D. Minn. 1985)

Publications

Reid Peyton Chambers and William F. Stephens, Principles of International Law That Support Claims of Indian Tribes to Water Resources, 63 UCLA L. Rev. 1530 (2016)

Reid Peyton Chambers, Reflections on the Changes in Indian law, Federal Indian Policies and Conditions on Indian Reservations since the Late 1960s, 46 Ariz. St. L.J. 730 (2014)

Co-author of Felix S. Cohen’s A Handbook of Federal Indian Law (1982 ed.)

Indian Law in the United States Supreme Court—Experiences in the 1980s and Predictions for the 1990s, 22 American Indian Law Review 601 (1998)

Indian Water Rights after the Wyoming decision, Harvard Indian Law Symposium 153 (1989)

Oklahoma Indian Law—Cases of the Last Decade and Opportunities for the Next Decade, 24 Tulsa L.J. 701 (1989)

American Indian Water Law Symposium, 15 Tulsa L.J. 699 (1980)

Judicial Enforcement of the Federal Trust Responsibility to Indians, 27 Stanford L. Rev. 1213 (1975)

Regulatory Sovereignty: Secretarial Discretion and the Leasing of Indian Lands (with Monroe E. Price), 26 Stanford L. Rev. 1061(1974)

A Study of Administrative Conflicts of Interest in the Protection of Indian Natural Resources.  Prepared for the Subcommittee on Administrative Practice and Procedure of the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States Senate (1971)

Education

Amherst College,1962

Harvard Law School,1967

Balliol College, Oxford, Graduate degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics

Bar & Court Admissions

  • District of Columbia, 1968
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1977
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, 1970
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, 1982
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, 1990
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, 1991
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, 1977
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, 1973
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, 1970
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims, 1978
  • Fort Peck Tribal Court, 1986