As chair of the firm’s National Resources Department and American Indian Law and Policy Group, Ryan Smith focuses on western natural resources issues and represents water districts, tribes and private entities throughout the country before Congress, the administration and the courts. Before joining Brownstein, Ryan served as a senior legislative advisor to former Senator Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and deputy counsel for the Arizona Department of Water Resources. In government and in private practice, Ryan has been instrumental in the development of federal legislation relating to western natural resources, successfully ushering through Congress several significant pieces of legislation concerning Indian water settlements that provide vital water-related infrastructure projects, the Colorado River, water management and federal funding for Indian country.
As a former senior legislative staffer, he has extensive experience dealing with Congress, the Department of the Interior, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Reclamation and the Department of Agriculture on legislative and other federal issues.
His career experience also includes commercial litigation and serving as a legal intern for Senator John McCain (R-AZ).
Ryan is a frequent author and speaker on Indian water law and legislation.