John E. Jacobson - Of Counsel

Phone number: 
(651) 644-4710
(612) 349-6254

John began his work in Indian Country in 1973 with the United States Department of the Interior, Office of the Solicitor. In that capacity, he advised and represented the Department with respect to Indian treaty rights and land claims questions throughout the Midwest. After ten years with the Office of the Solicitor, he entered private practice in 1983, founding the firm that became The Jacobson Law Group, P.C.

Since that time, John has devoted his career to representing Indian tribes, tribal entities, and persons having an interest in Indian-law matters. He directed litigation and conducted negotiations that led to the development of Indian gaming in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Louisiana; he represented the only Indian tribal government that, following the passage of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988, obtained Federal approval to operate gaming away from its reservation in a metropolitan area.

John has extensive experience in on- and off-reservation financing. He served as principal adviser on Indian legal matters to publicly-held corporations extensively involved in Indian gaming, and as counsel to banks and institutions engaged in participating in financing development in Indian Country. In 1995, he served as special counsel to the underwriters of the first publicly traded bond issue by an Indian Tribe in the United States — the financing, by the Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut, of the Mohegan Sun Casino.

John also has represented tribes and tribal entities in litigation; among his cases are:

  • Teague v. Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, 655 N.W. 2d 899 (Wis. 2003)
  • Teague v. Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, 612 N.W. 2d 709 (Wis. 2000)
  • Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community v. City of Prior Lake, Minn., 771 F.2d 1153 (C.A.8 (Minn.) 1985)
  • Lower Sioux Indian Community in Minnesota v. State of Minnesota, NO. 4-89-936 (D. Minn. 1991)
  • Klammer v. Lower Sioux Convenience Store, 535 N.W. 2d 379 (Minn. App. 1995)

John is an adjunct professor at William Mitchell College of Law, teaching Indian Law, and is a frequent lecturer throughout the United States to lawyers and business organizations on the subject of Indian law and Indian gaming. He has served as a Judge on the Tribal Court of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux (Dakota) Community in Minnesota from 1988 to the present.

Areas of Practice: 
  • Finance
  • Gaming Law
  • Indian/Tribal Law
  • J.D. University of Chicago Law School, Chicago, Illinois, 1973
  • B.A. Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota, 1968
Bar Admissions: 
  • Minnesota
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin
  • Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Court