Michael G. Rossetti advises tribal clients regarding economic development and Indian gaming, and tribal governance issues. Mr. Rossetti also lobbies on a broad range of tribal concerns, and works on litigation matters and the settlement of Indian water rights. In addition, Mr. Rossetti advises clients regarding land use and other issues before the Department of the Interior, including the Bureau of Land Management, the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service. Also, Mr. Rossetti advises clients regarding state attorneys general issues.

Practice & Background

Immediately prior to joining Akin Gump, Mr. Rossetti served for three years as personal counselor to the secretary of the Department of the Interior in Washington, where he assisted the secretary in formulating and implementing policies regarding Indian economic development, Indian gaming, land acquisition, law enforcement and homeland security. Among the decisions made during his tenure are the approval of the gaming compacts submitted by Indian tribes in the states of New York, Arizona, New Mexico and Wisconsin and a positive two-part determination by the secretary regarding a gaming facility proposed by the Jena Band of the Choctaw Indians in Louisiana. He also served on the federal committee charged with negotiating the implementation of regulations for certain Indian schools under the No Child Left Behind Act, a presidential educational initiative. In addition, he spearheaded the secretary’s review and implementation of department-wide law enforcement recommendations made by the inspector general, resulting in the adoption of significant departmental reform. In the aftermath of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, on behalf of the secretary, he coordinated the national law enforcement and security response to national July 4th celebrations on Interior lands, including on the National Mall and Mount Rushmore National Memorial and at the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.

In addition, Mr. Rossetti served as an assistant county attorney in Buffalo, New York, and as the executive deputy and general counsel to New York state’s Office of the Advocate for Persons with Disabilities.

Mr. Rossetti has previously served as a chief deputy to the New York attorney general. He was appointed to act as the attorney general’s principal liaison to the National Association of Attorneys General in Washington, where he vetted New York’s involvement in multistate enforcement actions and the attorney general’s involvement in commenting upon federal legislation. Mr. Rossetti also represented New York State in the negotiation of the national tobacco settlement of 1998. He was the principal editor of the first comprehensive manual to govern policies and practices of the approximately 500 assistant attorneys general in the office.

Prior to joining the New York attorney general’s office, Mr. Rossetti served as an assistant U.S. attorney, where he prosecuted federal criminal cases. He served as a representative of the U.S. attorney (WDNY) to the Canadian American Law Enforcement Organization, working to coordinate law enforcement activities along the northern border.

Mr. Rossetti began his legal career in private practice in Buffalo, New York, and was a named partner in another firm, where he represented businesses, not-for-profit entities and private individuals in transactional, civil and criminal matters.

Public Service

  • Executive Deputy and General Counsel, New York State, Office of the Advocate for Persons with Disabilities
  • Chief Deputy, Office of the Attorney General of New York
  • Assistant County Attorney, Erie County Department of Law (NY)
  • Counselor to the Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior
  • Assistant United States Attorney (WDNY)
  • Served on the No Child Left Behind Act negotiated rulemaking committee.

Awards & Accolades

  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business in the area of Native American law (2014-2017)
  • Best Lawyers in America (2007-2015 and 2018) for Native American law.

Speaking Engagements

  • Presenter, “Trust and Collaboration: The Importance of Tribal Consultation,” Federal Bar Association 2017 Indian Law Conference, Scottsdale, AZ (April 7, 2017)
  • Presenter, “Legislative Update,” Coalition of Large Tribes, Washington, D.C. (September 28, 2016)
  • Moderator, “Legislative Update,” 8th Annual Native American Economic Development Conference, Anaheim, CA (June 16, 2014)
  • Presenter, “Eye of the Target, A Corporate View of Attorney General Enforcement,” Sponsored by Akin Gump, New York, NY (October 20, 2009)
  • Presenter, “Eye of the Target, A Corporate View of Attorney General Enforcement,” Sponsored by WMACCA Litigation Forum, Washington, D.C. (September 16, 2009)
  • Moderator, “Roundtable with Decision Makers: Indian Gaming, Indian lands – How Do the Feds Make decisions?” Federal Bar Association’s 9th Annual Indian Law Conference, Washington, D.C. (October 19, 2007)
  • Presenter, “Off-Reservation Gaming Policy Issues”, G2E Conference, Las Vegas, NV (October 5, 2004).