Michael L. Murphy - Attorney

Phone number: 
(651) 644-4710
(651) 644-5904

Michael joined the firm in 2014 after serving as a public defender for the Regional Native Public Defense Corporation in northern Minnesota. Prior to his public defense work, Michael served as a 2012-2013 Fulbright Scholar in Law to Papua New Guinea (PNG) and consulted for the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC).

In PNG, Michael conducted research for the PNG Supreme and National Court Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Centre on customary dispute resolution procedures practiced in remote regions of the country. As a consultant for IFC, he analyzed case studies on disputes between landowners and foreign industry stakeholders to evaluate how participants perceived the forum’s impact on their interests.  Throughout his tenure in PNG, Michael co-mediated and served as an English-Tok Pisin translator for a variety of matters arising under both customary norms and PNG law.

At the firm, Michael works closely with tribal governments, agencies, and business entities to give sound effect to their governance and economic initiatives.   He has worked with tribes to secure and consolidate fractionated interests in restricted fee and allotted lands, place lands into trust, and to draft, revise, and implement tribal laws, including the revision and development of tribal constitutions and bylaws.  Over the past few years, Michael has balanced his governmental representation for tribes with his focus on complex litigation in tribal, state, and federal courts.  In addition, he has taught both Introduction to Tribal Law and Criminal Procedure as an Assistant Adjunct Professor for the Mitchell Hamline School of Law. 

Michael continues to work on ADR in Indian Country with the firm  assisting tribal stakeholders in establishing and implementing ADR forums and serving as a neutral and mediator. 

Selected Cases:

  • Wolfchild v. Redwood County, et al., 91 F.Supp.3d 1093 (D. Minn. 2015) (dismissing suit claiming title to the Lower Sioux Indian Community's reservation lands for lack of jurisdiction because the Community - as a sovereign - is immune from suit.)
  • Wolfchild v. Redwood County, et al., 824 F.3d 761 (8th Cir. 2016) (affirming District Court on separate grounds), cert denied, 580 U.S. 2 (2016). 
Areas of Practice: 
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Civil Litigation
  • Indian/Tribal Law
  • J.D. William Mitchell College of Law, St. Paul, Minnesota, 2012 / Cum Laude
  • B.A. University of Dallas, Irving, Texas, 2008 / Magna Cum Laude, Academic
Bar Admissions: 
  • Minnesota
Admitted to Practice: 
  • U.S District Court of Minnesota
  • U.S Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • Lower Sioux Indian Community Tribal Court
  • Prairie Island Indian Community Tribal Court
  • Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Court
  • Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Judicial Branch