Lenor A. Scheffler is the Chair of Best & Flanagan’s Native American Law Section. She practices in the areas of federal Indian law, tribal law, tax, governance, gaming law, gaming regulatory, tribal financing and business law. Born and raised on the Lower Sioux Reservation near Morton, Minnesota, Lenor is an enrolled member of the Lower Sioux Dakota Community in Minnesota and the first member of the Mdewakanton Dakota Community to become an attorney. In October 2001, she was sworn in as chief judge of the Upper Sioux Community Tribal Court, and served until 2006. In 2012, she was reappointed to the bench.
Scheffler brings a wide range of experience in gaming and regulatory matters, complex business transactions, finance, tax, governance and other areas critical to tribal clients. These areas require special understanding of tribal immunity and law principles as applied to a sovereign nation. Along with the other members of the firm’s Native American Law Section, she serves as general and special counsel to tribes and tribal entities, and provides advice and support to in-house counsel.
Lenor and her partners have been on the cutting edge of obtaining favorable tax solutions for beneficiaries of tribal minors’ trusts and for tribal members participating in tribal housing and other social benefit programs. In one significant case, Lenor and her partners successfully argued on behalf of a tribal minor’s trust fund, receiving a very substantial monetary award. She has also assisted in developing programs for investing tribal funds, educational assistance for tribal members and sophisticated financing for tribal projects.
In 2003, Lenor was appointed to the Minnesota Commission on Judicial Selection as an at-large member and served for eight years. She is a frequent conference speaker on the topics of Indian taxation, economic development, governance, tribal court and jurisdiction issues across the country, including classes for tribal tax commissions, tribal councils, tribal enterprise boards, tribal management teams and other tribal government departments. In addition, the Internal Revenue Service appointed Lenor to its Advisory Committee for Tax Exempt and Government Entities for a term from 2004 to 2007. Lenor has also been named among the Best Lawyers in America.
Lenor contributes her time and expertise to the community in multiple ways and was a recipient of the Turtle Award from the Minnesota American Indian Chamber of Commerce for volunteering time, energy and services to support and promote the American Indian business community. She also serves as an Associate Judge II with the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Tribal Court and a Justice of the Prairie Island Indian Community Appellate Court.