Attorney Profile

William R. Norman, Jr.

Partner

A partner since January 2000, William Norman joined Hobbs Straus in 1994, following a two-year clerkship with the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia, PA. In 1996, he opened the Firm’s Oklahoma office. William, of Muscogee (Creek) descent, has had a lifelong desire to be involved in the pursuit of justice. His personal background, studies in Indian Law, participation on the American Indian Law Review, and significant involvement in the Native American Law Students Association at the University of Oklahoma, focused his legal interests on protecting and promoting the interests of tribal governments.

William’s varied practice exclusively includes advocating for tribal interests in tribal, state, and federal governmental and judicial forums.  William’s representation of tribes and tribal organizations over the past 25 years, includes a vast array of experience assisting tribes with governmental and business matters such as:  constitutional revision, interpretation, and defense; development of legal infrastructure for governmental and economic development matter;; counsel for various tribal agencies and business interests, including, among others, tax commissions, gaming commissions, gaming operations boards, and liquor control boards; tribal business infrastructure development and representation, such as creating and advising federally-chartered, state-chartered, and tribally-chartered entities.  Much of William’s work involves working closely with elected and appointed tribal officials to counsel and advise them on substantive legal matters and important policy issues related to their fulfillment of the responsibilities of public office.  As part of his efforts, William served as a lead negotiator on the Model Tribal Gaming Compact in Oklahoma and several successful efforts to defend tribal rights preserved thereunder for tribes, their operations, and regulators.  William negotiated a groundbreaking tobacco tax compact for several of the Firm’s clients and assisted a number of them in obtaining federal authorization to approve leases on their trust lands.  He has also led numerous successful litigation efforts for tribal clients in disputes involving tax, gaming, self-determination, complex jurisdictional issues, sacred-site protection, leasing and property, and served as attorney general to a number of tribes. A central focus of William’s efforts is always the protection of tribal sovereignty.

William is a regular presenter on a range of Indian law topics and served on the Board of the Oklahoma Indian Legal Services from 2004 to 2008.  He was a primary author, along with Charles Hobbs, of Chapter Two of Empowerment of Tribal Governments: Final Workgroup Report, developed by the Tribal Workgroup on Tribal Needs Assessments in May 1999. The chapter details the legal, historic, and moral obligations of the United States to tribes and the manner in which these responsibilities are fulfilled through today’s tribal priority allocation programs. He also received the Salem Civil Rights Award for the note entitled “Native American Inmates and Prison Grooming Regulations: Today’s Justified Scalps,” 18 American Indian Law Review 191 (1993).  Since then, William has regularly published articles and spoken on timely and important tribal legal issues.

William spends as much of his free time as possible with his wife and two daughters and is involved in the activities of his church.

Professional Organizations

Board Member, United American Indians of Delaware Valley (1993-1994)
Board Member, Oklahoma Indian Legal Services (2004-2008)
Board Member, SHINE Foundation (2007-2015)
Oklahoma Indian Bar Association
American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Oklahoma

Education

University of Oklahoma, J.D., 1992
University of Central Oklahoma, B.B.A., 1989

Bar Admissions

United States Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
U.S. District Court - Northern, Eastern, and Western Districts of Oklahoma
U.S. District Court - Eastern District of Pennsylvania
Oklahoma
District of Columbia
Pennsylvania (inactive)
Multiple Tribal Courts and Bar Associations

Practice Concentration:

Self-Determination and Self-Governance Agreements
Tribal Affairs
Programs & Services
Gaming
Economic Development
Oklahoma Issues
Tribal Counseling & Advocacy