Ralph Simon, Senior Staff Attorney
Phone: (775) 329-2936, ext. 3210
Phone: (775) 329-2936, ext. 1009
1935 Prosperity Street
Reno, NV 89502
34 Reservation Road
Reno, Nevada 89502
Ralph Simon and Dan MacNeil make up the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony’s legal team.
Simon and MacNeil serve as the senior staff attorney and staff attorney, respectively, for the 1,100-plus member Great Basin Tribe.
Simon, who grew up on the Kickapoo Reservation graduated from Kansas State University and the University of Tulsa College of Law. He is an enrolled member of the Kickapoo Tribe and the maternal side of his family is Prairie Band of Potawatomi.
Over the last quarter century, Simon has served Indian Country in several capacities. He began his law career as a corporate attorney in Oklahoma. After ten years, he operated his own law practice in Oklahoma until moving back home to serve as tribal attorney for several Midwest Tribes including the Kickapoo, Potawatomi and Sac & Fox. Simon also served as a district judge for three of the four tribes in Kansas, Chief Judge for the Taos Pueblo, and Supreme Court Justice for his own tribe.
Most recently, Simon was the executive director / chief executive officer for the Yurok Tribe, the Susanville Rancheria, and the Kickapoo and the Sac & Fox tribes.
Besides U.S. District Courts in the Midwest, Simon has practiced law in the U.S. Circuit of Appeal for Washington D.C., in the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 7th, 8th, and 10th U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal, the United States Supreme Court, as well as Kickapoo and Prairie Band Potawatomi Tribal Court. He was recently admitted to practice before the Reno Sparks Tribal Court.
Simon served as the managing attorney for Transok, Inc., a natural gas transmission, gathering, storage, processing and marketing company. The company’s pipeline systems are located in Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana.
In addition, Simon has experience as a mediator for the City of Tulsa, as an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association and the City Attorney for Chouteau, Okla.
He is past president and a former board member of the American Indian Chambers of Commerce for Oklahoma and Kansas. Simon has also successfully completed numerous continuing legal education courses including judicial training provided by the National Judicial College and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
A grandfather of two, Simon owns expertise in tribal gaming. He was the executive director for the Kickapoo Tribe Gaming Commission and the California Nations Indian Gaming Association. All told, Simon has expertise in federal, state and tribal litigation, federal Indian law, oil and gas law, gaming, employment, contracts, corporate, business transactions, real estate, tribal governance, economic development and alternative dispute resolution.
Filling a recently created position as the RSIC staff attorney,MacNeil, is a member of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) of Michigan.
MacNeil, who considers himself a Native American rights activist, said he enjoys working with tribes, especially in order to increase their sovereignty and expand businesses.
A graduate of the Wayne State University Law School, MacNeil started his legal career as a law clerk for his tribe. MacNeil took over as Tribal Attorney Office Administrator prior to passing the Michigan Bar.
After successfully passing the bar, MacNeil was sworn in as the KBIC Tribal Attorney/ Tribal Prosecutor in May of 2014. MacNeil’s career and focus as Tribal Attorney/Tribal Prosecutor was Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Contracts, Gaming, Family Law, Wills and Trust, Real Property, Water Law, Environmental Law, Constitutional Law, and numerous Litigation cases in Tribal Court.
MacNeil said that the decision to pursue law was forged during his third year of his under graduate studies. He said that Judge Violet Friisvall Ayres, who was teaching Tribal law at the time, made an impression on him that tribes need to protect both tribal sovereignty and ways of life from individual and government encroachment.
MacNeil graduated from Northern Michigan University with a degree in political science and pre-law with a minor in economics with multiple dean’s list honors. He also worked directly in business since 2003, and has been working directly with tribes for the past three years.