Photo of R. Lance  Boldrey

R. Lance Boldrey Member

Areas of Practice

Bar Admissions

  • Michigan, 1995

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, 1995
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan, 1995
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit, 1996
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 2004


Duke University, J.D.

James Madison College and the Honors College at Michigan State University, B.A.

  • with honors

R. Lance Boldrey's practice focuses on tribal and commercial gaming, and on Indian law (with an emphasis on economic development and state-tribal relations). He represents tribes, developers, banks and other non-tribal businesses, as well as state and local governments, and is a frequent speaker on Indian law topics. Mr. Boldrey is also a leader of the Firm's emerging Cannabis Law practice.

Prior to joining Dykema, Mr. Boldrey served as Deputy Legal Counsel to former Michigan Governor John Engler and was responsible for all aspects of the State of Michigan's relations with tribal governments.


  • Indian gaming experience includes transactional work concluding business agreements between consultants, developers, management companies and tribes; negotiating tribal-state gaming compacts; and negotiating intergovernmental agreements involving tribes. In the litigation arena, Mr. Boldrey has been involved in federal and state court tribal gaming matters at the trial and appellate levels, as well as arbitrations.
  • Mr. Boldrey has also assisted state and local governments in navigating complex tribal gaming matters.  For example, Mr. Boldrey was retained by Governor Scott Walker to advise the state of Wisconsin regarding economic impacts and tribal compact implications of a proposed tribal casino in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
  • Administrative law experience includes work on tribal fee-to-trust applications, the application of all of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act's exceptions that permit gaming on "after-acquired lands," and approvals of tribal-state gaming compacts.
  • Indian gaming financing work includes representing tribes, banks and  investors  and interacting with the National Indian Gaming Commission to obtain de facto approval of financing agreements. Mr. Boldrey has led or assisted on deals totaling over $850 million in financing for pre-development costs, construction and renovation loans and refinancings, including a precedent-setting first financial restructuring of a troubled tribal gaming facility.
  • Tribal economic development work also includes assisting tribes, consultants, developers and outside management companies in evaluating and implementing a wide range of business projects. Mr. Boldrey leads the Firm's team that serves as outside counsel to a Michigan Tribe's economic development arm. Mr. Boldrey was also hired by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to write guidebooks on joint ventures with tribes and on tribal business entity formation.
  • Other work with tribes has included ordinance drafting, research and development of tribal land claims and assistance in accessing funding for tribal services, often on an alternative fee basis.
  • Experienced in representing utilities, general contractors, hospitals and other businesses in doing business with Indian tribes.
  • Experience in negotiating solutions to complex tribal issues includes serving as lead staff for the state executive office in negotiations culminating in the nation’s first truly comprehensive state-tribal tax agreements and in the formulation of a consent decree governing state and tribal fishing activities in much of the Great Lakes.
  • Experience in state-tribal relations includes drafting an Executive Policy Statement on State-Tribal Relations, negotiating a state-tribal accord between the state of Michigan and federally-recognized tribes, organizing the first two Michigan state-tribal summits between tribal and state leaders, and managing the passage of legislation providing for tribal participation in intergovernmental agreements.
  • Drawing on the Firm's expertise as lead counsel for the 2008 initiative that authorized the use of medical marijuana in Michigan, Mr. Boldrey has assisted in the exploration of potential tribal cannabis business ventures.
  • Cannabis work also includes legislative and ordinance drafting, formation of cannabis-related entities, and due diligence of cannabis investments.
  • Commercial gaming regulatory work includes advising the sellers of a majority stake in a Michigan casino, and interfacing with the Michigan Gaming Control Board to quickly and successfully close a challenging transaction. Gaming regulatory work has also included serving as Indian law and regulatory counsel with regard to the acquisition of a gaming machine manufacturer and supplier to over 50 tribal casinos, advising parties as to the validity and enforceability of supplier agreements and tribal licensure and approval requirements.
  • Commercial gaming projects have included involvement in legalization, legislative and privatization efforts in multiple states and foreign jurisdictions.
  • Taxpayers of Michigan Against Casinos v. State of Michigan, 478 Mich. 99; 732 N.W.2d 487 (2007). Upholding validity of amendment process in tribal-state gaming compacts.
  • Taxpayers of Michigan Against Casinos v State of Michigan, 471 Mich. 306; 685 N.W.2d 221 (2004), cert. denied, 543 U.S. 1146 (2005). Upholding validity of Michigan tribal-state gaming compacts and process of enactment.
  • LeRoux v Miller, 465 Mich 594 (2002). Upholding validity of Michigan redistricting plans.

Blog Posts

Memberships & Involvement

  • State Bar of Michigan Marijuana Law Section, Chair of Business Law Committee
  • National Cannabis Bar Association
  • Federalist Society
  • Federal Bar Association, Sarah T. Hughes Civil Rights Award Committee
  • Ingham County Bar Association

Community/Civic Activities

  • Trustee of the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation, presidential appointee, 2003-2014
  • Member, Board of Directors James Madison College Alumni Association (Past President)

Named a Leading Lawyer in Native American Law by Chambers USA, 2016-2018

Fellow, Michigan State Bar Foundation, 2015-Present

Distinguished Brief Award for Best Brief to Michigan Supreme Court, Thomas M. Cooley Law Review, for brief on behalf of Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians in Taxpayers of Michigan Against Casinos v. State of Michigan, 478 Mich. 99; 732 N.W.2d 487, 2007

Named Lansing's "Lawyer of the Year" for Gaming Law by Best Lawyers®2014

Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® for Gaming Law and Native American Law, 2007-Present. Copyright 2015 by Woodward/White, Inc., Aiken, SC

Named a Michigan Leading Lawyer in the areas of Election, Political & Campaign, Gaming & Casino and Native American Law by the Leading Lawyers Network, 2014-2017. Law Bulletin Publishing Company

Named a Rising Star by Law & Politics, 2009-2010

Pioneer Award by the Marijuana Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan