Lewis Roca Rothgerber LLP proudly announces that Pilar Thomas has returned to the firm’s Gaming, Tribal Affairs and Gaming and Tribal Lands and Natural Resources practice groups after serving as the Deputy Director for the Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs at the U.S. Department of Energy for the last four years. Thomas is Of Counsel and based in Lewis Roca Rothgerber’s Tucson office.
Thomas’ practice is focused on Indian law, tribal renewable energy project development and finance, tribal economic development and Indian gaming.
She assists clients with strategic legal advice on tribal energy policy and planning; renewable energy project development and finance; federal and state energy regulatory, programs and policy efforts; tribal gaming regulations, gaming-related transactions, litigation and other business and economic development efforts.
As the Deputy Director for the Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs at the U.S. Department of Energy, Thomas was responsible for developing and implementing policy and program efforts within the department and federal government to achieve the office’s policy objectives, particularly the promotion of energy development, electrification and infrastructure improvement on tribal lands.
Thomas is the former Deputy Solicitor of Indian Affairs for the U.S. Department of the Interior, where she provided legal advice to the Secretary, Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs and other department officials on decisions related to tribes and matters related to federal Indian law and tribal law.
Thomas also served as the Attorney General and Chief of Staff to Chairwoman Herminia Frias of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, of which she is a member.
In 2002, Thomas was appointed to the position of trial attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice, Environment and Natural Resources Division, Indian Resources Section. Her practice included Indian treaty rights, water rights, and regulatory litigation. She was the recipient of the department’s Service Award for her efforts in the United States v. Michigan treaty rights litigation.
She is a member the Federal Bar Association, the Native American Bar Association of Arizona and the Native American Bar Association of D.C.
Thomas holds a J.D. Indian Law, magna cum laude, from The University of New Mexico School of Law and a B.A. from Stanford University.