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Robert S. Thompson III has broad experience in Indian law and energy and natural resources matters, with a focus on the oil and gas industry. He represents tribal and non-tribal clients in resource development, production, rights-of-way, easements, leases, joint ventures and partnerships.

Rob is experienced in the development of American Indian, State, and Federal lands, natural resources located on those lands, and the statutory and regulatory requirements applicable to such development. He has made presentations on issues pertaining to development of Indian minerals and enforcement of mineral agreements covering Indian lands to the National Academy of Sciences, the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, and the Federal Indian Bar Association.

Upon graduation from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1979, Rob was selected for the Solicitor's Honors Program and moved to Washington, D.C., to serve in the Solicitor's Office of the Department of Interior. Following his departure from government service in 1981, he entered private practice and focused on Indian law, Federal litigation, and natural resource development.


  • American Indian law 
  • Energy and natural resources 
  • Regulatory compliance 
  • Litigation



  • Advised on the passage of legislation addressing the dual severance tax imposed on Indian lands. 
  • Participated in the revisions to Onshore Order No. 1 and successful insertion therein of procedures to ensure Federal and Indian oil and gas lessees access to split estate and surface lands. 
  • Negotiated, drafted and completed on the part of the oil and gas industry of traditional and non-traditional development agreements on Indian lands, including tribal and allotted lands of the Blackfeet Tribe, Northern Ute Tribe, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Shoshone and Arapaho Tribes, and Three Affiliated Tribes. 
  • Represented of gas pipeline companies and the natural gas industry in the Congressionally mandated Section 1813 Study dealing with rights-of-way on Indian lands. 
  • Participated as a committee member on the group drafting the existing valuation regulations for natural gas production from Indian lands. 
  • Established reserved water rights as counsel for the Northern Arapaho Tribe in adjudication of the Wind River in Wyoming. 
  • Negotiated and drafted joint venture agreements and partnerships dealing with natural gas transportation systems between oil and gas companies and between oil and gas companies and Indian tribes. 
  • Identification of acceptable and proper manufacturing allowances for natural gas in Shoshone and Arapaho Tribes v. Hodel, 903 F.2d 784 (10th Cir. 1990).
  • Participated as a committee member on the group drafting the new oil valuation regulations for oil production from Indian lands.
  • Ongoing representation for oil and gas industry clients in challenges to flaring activities and claimed non-payment of royalties for flared natural gas.
  • Represented clients in response to recent efforts to unbundle processing and transportation allowances for natural gas produced from Indian lands.
  • Active involvement and representation relative to the new right-of-way regulations governing surface uses on Indian lands.

°The above representations were handled by Mr. Thompson prior to his joining Greenberg Traurig, LLP.

  • Negotiated, drafted and completed: (i) agreements addressing split estate lands for development of Federal minerals, unitization and leasing of Federal minerals, and rights-of-way on Federal lands; (ii) traditional and nontraditional oil and gas agreements on behalf of industry with the Bureau of Land Management, State of Utah, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Northern Ute Tribe, Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes, Jicarilla Apache Tribe, and Blackfeet Indian Tribe; and (iii) agreements with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to permit surface access within wildlife refuges to develop Federal and state minerals (2001-Present).
  • Represented industry and natural gas pipeline clients with respect to energy corridors, rights-of-way, and the 2005 EPAct (2006-2007). 
  • Negotiated and worked with Department of Energy for return to tribal ownership of Naval Oil Shale Reserve #2, comprising 89,000 acres (2000). 
  • General Legal Counsel, Northern Ute Tribe, 1995-2001
  • Ute Indian Tribe v. Utah. Maintenance of exterior boundaries of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation, Utah (1997). 
  • In re General Adjudication of All Rights to Use Water in Big Horn River System. Established and quantified federally reserved water rights; Shoshone and Arapaho Tribes v. Hodel. Identified acceptable and proper manufacturing allowances for natural gas processing (1990). 
  • Acted as, general or special counsel for, amongst others, the Northern Ute Tribe, the Walker River Paiute Tribe, the Crow Tribe, the Blackfeet Tribe, the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, the Northern Arapaho Tribe, the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe (1981-2000).
  • Solicitor’s Honors Program Recipient and Attorney Advisor in Division of Indian Affairs, Office of the Solicitor, Department of Interior, 1979-1981
  • Administrator of Title IV Indian Education Program and teacher of Native American Studies and Anthropology, 1973-1976

Recognition & Leadership

  • Listed, The Best Lawyers in America
    • Native American Law, 2010-2023
    • Natural Resources law, 2024
    • "Lawyer of the Year" in Native American Law, Denver, 2021
  • Listed, Super Lawyers magazine, Colorado Super Lawyers, 2014-2022
  • "Lawyer of the Year" in Native American Law, Denver, 2016
  • Selected, 5280's Top Lawyers, Native American Law, 2016
  • Appointed, Editorial Board of the Cherokee Phoenix, the Nation’s oldest Native American news publication
  • Enrolled Member, Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma 
  • Member, American Association of Professional Landmen
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, Colorado Bar Association 
  • Member, Federal Bar Association 
  • Member, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation
  • Member, Wisconsin Bar Association


  • J.D., University of Wisconsin Law School, 1979
  • B.S., magna cum laude, University of Georgia, 1973
  • Colorado
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims