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John D. Wheeler

A graduate of Creighton University (1990) and the University of New Mexico (1993), John was a member of the National Moot Court Team and the Board of Editors of the New Mexico Law Review.  During and immediately following law school, John clerked for the New Mexico State Land Office. He was admitted to the New Mexico Bar in 1993 and is a member of the bar of the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico, and the United States Court of Federal Claims.

John is a member of the American Bar Association, the Federal Bar Association, the American Health Lawyers Association, and the New Mexico Bar Association.  His practice is focused on Federal Indian Law, Healthcare Law and general commercial law.

One of the primary focuses of John's practice is in the arena of federal Indian law. John's practice spans all facets of Indian law. For example, John started practicing law at the very beginning of Indian gaming and has been involved in every step of its development since. He has negotiated compacts, litigated compact disputes, and was chief negotiator of the historic compact settlement between the Mescalero Apache Tribe and the State of New Mexico. He has advised and consulted tribes on regulatory matters associated with gaming and has helped structure complex gaming-related financing packages.

Non-gaming economic development in Indian country is another essential part of John's practice.  John has represented tribal interests in a number of significant non-gaming finance packages and has helped tribes determine their own destinies through economic development.  In this regard, John has represented many different tribal enterprises.  He has been involved with these tribal enterprises at all stages of development, from initial organization and funding, through day-to-day operations. 

John's native governmental practice rounds out his Indian law experience. John has helped tribes negotiate 638 contracts, has guided tribes through the land-into-trust process, and represented tribal governmental and educational entities in a wide variety of matters.

John also has significant experience in health law. As general counsel to a regional acute care hospital, John has represented health care entities in a wide variety of matters, including regulatory, transactional and litigation matters.  John has helped structure joint ventures and represents all types of health care entities. Most recently, John successfully represented a health care facility as borrower’s counsel in a $40,000,000.00 complex debt offering composed of both taxable and non-taxable municipal bonds.

In addition to federal Indian law and health care law, John also represents a wide variety of commercial businesses in transactional and litigation matters.


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