Philip Baker-Shenk - Holland & Knight, LLP

Philip Baker-Shenk

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2013
Phone: 202-457-7031

Philip Baker-Shenk is a partner in our firm's Indian Law Practice Group and our Entertainment Law Practice Group. He provides legal and policy representation to dozens of Native American Indian Tribal governments as well as Tribal organizations and companies doing business with Indian Tribes. Mr. Baker-Shenk began working on behalf of Indian Tribes in our Nation's capital in 1976. For half a decade, he served as staff in the U.S. Senate, including two years as Majority General Counsel to Indian Affairs Committee Chairman and U.S. Senator John McCain. He has drafted legislation and regulations, written committee reports, advocated before federal agencies, negotiated agreements with government officials, and actively litigated cases on behalf of clients. Mr. Baker-Shenk has extensive experience in forging practical solutions to client problems and securing goals of benefit to clients, and a personal reputation for effective advocacy.



Mr. Baker-Shenk advises Tribal and other clients on federal relations advocacy, economic development strategies, and self-governance matters. Many of these issues involve complex commercial and political transactions, including the transfer of land into trust or restricted status, and the exercise of governmental jurisdiction over people, land and other resources. He also maintains an entertainment law practice, representing music artist/industry clients.



During Mr. Baker-Shenk's years on Capitol Hill, he assisted in the drafting and enactment of legislation dealing with Indian gaming, housing, economic development, taxation, Tribal status, child welfare, education, self-governance, and many other issues.



Mr. Baker-Shenk works closely with members and staff in the House and Senate, and with officials in the Administration. In early 2001, he was appointed to serve on the President's Transition Advisory Committee for the Department of the Interior. Between 2000 and 2010, Mr. Baker-Shenk served as an active member of, and past Chairman of, the Washington County (MD) Republican Central Committee. He also is an ordained elder in the Shepherdstown (WV) Presbyterian Church and is pursuing his general aviation private pilot's license.



Mr. Baker-Shenk has been involved in a variety of aspects of the development of Federal-Indian law, including litigating in the Federal, State and Tribal courts, crafting Federal and State legislation, providing advice and counsel to Tribal governments and their enterprises, negotiating with federal and state administrative agencies, and resolving problems as general counsel for Tribal clients.





Immediately after graduating from law school, Mr. Baker-Shenk clerked for a Senate-confirmed trial court judge and as a lawyer in a private general practice based in Washington, D.C. Prior to entering law school in 1982, Mr. Baker-Shenk worked as a journalist, an FM radio disc jockey, a refrigeration mechanic, a maintenance repairman, a potato-picker and grader on his Pennsylvania family's farm, and, for one day, as a golf caddy.

Eastern Mennonite UniversityBS Catholic University of America, Columbus School of LawJ.D.
Native American Bar Association of D.C.Bar Association of the District of Columbia

Case History

Other Court Admissions
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. Supreme Court


Office Location

800 Seventeenth Street, NW, Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20006
United States


Practice Areas

Native American Law