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Real Estate Transactions in Indian Country 101

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May 17 @ 12:00 pm 1:00 pm

1 Hour MCLE. Virtual and in-person. Free for in-person section members!

This program will provide an overview of basic legal considerations for real property transactions with Indian tribes.

California Lawyers Association
400 Capitol Mall, Suite 650
Sacramento, CA 95814

Michelle C. Lee is a member of the Pit River Tribe and a mother of three. She is an Indian law attorney and has owned and operated an Indian law practice since 2006. She has been practicing Indian Law for 25 years and has represented tribal governments in legal matters including cultural resource protection, Indian child welfare, tribal taxation, tribal gaming regulation, cannabis regulation, tribal governance, the fee-to-trust process, real estate transactions, and general civil litigation involving tribal governments. In addition, she has published a number of law review articles, essays and non-fiction articles on topics relative to her work with California Indian tribes.

Prior to entering private practice, Michelle edited and contributed significantly to reports that were submitted to Congress in August 1997 by the Advisory Council on California Indian Policy. In 1999, she negotiated a tribal-state gaming compact with the State of California and has successfully negotiated many amendments to other gaming compacts since that time. In 2003, she was appointed to the Governor’s Children’s Justice Act Task Force which allocates Title IV-E Child Abuse Prevention Program funding to agencies in the state of California.

She has served as a trainer in seminars with the Governor‚Äôs Office of Planning and Research regarding the implementation of SB 18, a statewide general planning law that she drafted in collaboration with Governor Gray Davis‚Äôs Legal Affairs Department in 2004. In 2006, she was featured on the cover of Los Angeles Lawyer Magazine with an article she co-wrote, entitled, ‚ÄúReal Estate Transactions in California‚Äôs ‚ÄúIndian Country‚ÄĚ: How to Conduct Business with California Indian Tribal Governments and Businesses‚ÄĚ.

Michelle is extensively involved in developing statewide policy in California regarding cultural resources protection including drafting, negotiating, and ensuring the passage of improved cultural preservation laws such as burial site protection and consultation requirements for new projects. She was recently appointed to the Executive Committee of the Real Property Section of the California Lawyers Association. In July 2023, she was also appointed to the Board of Directors for the Center for Natural Lands Management which protects and manages nature preserves in the states of California and Washington. All the preserves provide refuge for threatened or endangered species as well as protect rare and sensitive habitats such as wetlands.

Michelle received her B.A. in 1993 and her J.D. in 1998, both from the University of California, Davis. She is admitted to practice in California, all federal district courts in California, the Ninth Circuit, the United States Supreme Court, the Hoopa Valley Tribal Court and the San Manuel Tribal Court. She was a recipient of the 2015 Truman Capote Creative Writing Fellowship and earned her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts in 2017.

We are committed to accessibility! Virtual events are equipped with closed captioning. To request an in-person accommodation, send us a note at or contact us at 916-516-1760 for assistance.


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