Mr. Szotkowski has extensive experience in Indian law issues. Since 2004, Bill has represented tribes and tribal members in governance matters, complex federal-court litigation, contract negotiation and construction litigation.
Mr. Szotkowski was the lead attorney in a successful 2010 federal-court case brought by the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe of Michigan to gain permanent recognition of its Reservation Boundary, as defined by Executive Order and treaties in 1855 and 1864. The United States joined the Saginaw Tribe’s efforts in the litigation against the State of Michigan and county and city governments. After five years of protracted litigation, the parties were able to reach a successful mediated settlement of the litigation. That settlement provided for permanent recognition of the Isabella Reservation, including all lands within the reservation as Indian Country. The settlement also provided for multifaceted agreements in areas relating to law enforcement, taxation, Indian Child welfare protection, and natural resource issues, as well as jurisdictional agreements relating to land use, local revenues, and local ordinances. It remains in place today and is a model for boundary disputes nationwide. Mr. Szotkowski also has extensive experience in litigation involving the application of the National Labor Relations Act to tribes, both before the National Labor Relations Board and in the federal courts.
Before he entered private practice, Bill spent several decades in service to the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office. During that time, he gained significant litigation experience before state and federal courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States. Mr. Szotkowski had principal responsibility for the State’s major cases involving Indian-law issues, and handled litigation concerning jurisdictional disputes, class-action land claims, treaty rights, natural-resource issues, and Indian burial grounds. In addition to litigating cases, he coordinated settlement efforts in several cases, and was able to put in place solutions that included legislation at both the state and federal level.
Mr. Szotkowski has lectured on Indian law, tribal sovereignty, and natural-resource issues. He is an avid outdoorsman, and when he is not in the office can often be found cooking, gardening, or fishing at his family’s hunting shack in Wisconsin.