NIGC Fills Core Leadership Team and Adds 4 Attorneys

Sharon Avery, a citizen of the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe of Michigan (left), and Rea Cisneros, an enrolled member of the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, will serve together Associate General Counsels for the NIGC.

The National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) has brought its core leadership team to full capacity by filling both its Associate General Counsel positions. Additionally, the NIGC has strengthened its legal capacity by naming four lawyers — three new attorneys and one of whom is returning to the organisation.

Rea Cisneros and Sharon Avery will serve together Associate General Counsels for the Commission. “Filling leadership roles in the Office of General Counsel supports the commitment to accountability that a healthy organization requires. The Commission is fortunate to have a General Counsel with a proven reputation in the Indian gaming industry and accomplished Deputy Associate General Counsels,” said Chairman E. Sequoyah Simermeyer. “I am pleased to both maintain and welcome such talented professionals.”

Meanwhile, Barbara Marvin, Josh Proper, James Lewis, and Esther Dittler will assume the attorney roles. Ms. Dittler has re-joined the NIGC’s Office of General Counsel (OGC) after working as General Counsel for the Seneca Nation’s Tribal Gaming Commission.

“The opportunity to welcome attorneys with a diversity of experiences broadens the NIGC legal team’s skillset and supports a resilient workforce for the future,” said Simermeyer. “Their proven success will enhance the Agency’s ability to serve as Indian gaming’s federal regulatory body.”

Rea Cisneros, Associate General Counsel

Rea Cisneros has served as Associate General Counsel since January of 2019. An enrolled member of the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Ms. Cisneros graduated with her Juris Doctorate from the University of Wisconsin Law School, and started as a Staff Attorney at the NIGC, serving in that role for approximately four and a half years before receiving a promotion to Associate General Counsel. Prior to working at the NIGC, Cisneros was an Associate Attorney at a small boutique Indian law firm, which provided executive and legislative representation to Tribes.

Sharon Avery, Associate General Counsel

Sharon Avery joined the NIGC as Associate General Counsel in January of 2020. She is a citizen of the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe of Michigan and earned her Juris Doctorate with Certificate in Indian law from Michigan State University. Ms. Avery most recently served as General Counsel of Tribal Operations for the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe of Michigan.  

Barbara Marvin, Office of the General Counsel

Before coming to NIGC, Ms. Marvin worked as a Trial Attorney at the Department of Justice Environmental and Natural Resources Division before joining the NIGC. She graduated from DePaul University, Ill. with a master’s degree, and received her Juris Doctor from Washington College of Law, Washington, DC, magna cum laude.

James Lewis, Office of the General Counsel

Mr. Lewis is joining the NIGC after working most recently in the Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering at the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Office of General Counsel. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree and received his Juris Doctor from Florida State University, Fla.

Josh Proper, Office of the General Counsel

Prior to coming to NIGC, Mr. Proper worked as an Associate Attorney at the law firm of Hobbs Straus Dean and Walker in Washington, DC, and as a Tribal Attorney for the Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians. Mr. Proper graduated from Dartmouth University with a Bachelor of Arts degree and obtained his Juris Doctor from The University of Arizona.

Esther Dittler Marvin, Office of the General Counsel

Ms. Dittler has re-joined the OGC after working as General Counsel for the Seneca Nation’s Tribal Gaming Commission. She will be working remotely from Buffalo, New York. An NIGC statement states that the organization is “happy to have her back in the NIGC fold.” Dittler graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Binghamton University, Harper College and received her Juris Doctor from the University of Buffalo, School of Law, New York. 

“As their backgrounds demonstrate, they bring a tremendous amount and variety of experience to the Office of General Counsel and NIGC as a whole,” said NIGC General Counsel Michael Hoenig, “We are thrilled to have them on board.”

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