April Olson

April olson

Practice Areas

  • Indian Law
  • Appeals
  • Civil Litigation

April Olson is a first-generation college student and the first attorney in her family.  She was raised in northern Minnesota but has multicultural roots indigenous to Mexico and Sweden.  April went into the field of law to make a difference and she is a relentless optimist.   Prior to law school, April worked in social services for the Fond du Lac Band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe.  April's experience in social services working with the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and children was an inspiration and a catalyst for her journey to law school. 

April studied law at the Sandra Day O'Conner College of Law at Arizona State University (ASU).  She chose ASU because of their renowned Indian Legal Program (ILP), which offers an emphasis in Indian law and a nationwide family of Indian law practitioners.   April graduated from ASU with a certificate of Indian law and the National Association of Women's Lawyers Outstanding Graduate Award. 

After law school, April began working for the Gila River Indian Community and served the tribe as both a Prosecutor and an Assistant General Counsel. April left the Community to join the law firm of Rothstein Donatelli LLP where she is now a partner.  April's practice is primarily in the field of Indian law, which means she does a wide variety of different things and her work overlaps with other fields including criminal law, labor and employment, civil litigation, dependency law and the ICWA, and guardianships and adoptions. 

April finds inspiration in the clients and counselors she works with who continue to fight for tribal sovereignty and the rights of indigenous people.  She engages in substantial pro bono work and serves on the ASU Indian Legal Program Advisory Committee.   April is also a member of the Native American Bar Association of Arizona, the Tribal In-House Counsel Association and the Indian Law Section of the State Bar.   

Education

  • Eastern New Mexico University (B.S. 2000)
  • Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Conner College of Law (J.D. 2006)
    • Certificate of Indian Law

Bar Admissions

  • State Bar of Arizona
  • State Bar of California
  • San Carlos Apache Tribal Court
  • Gila River Indian Community Court
  • Hualapai Tribal Court
  • White Mountain Apache Tribal Court
  • Pechanga Tribal Court

Extracurricular activities

  • Avid kickball player
  • Enjoys painting and writing
  • Frequently spoils her fur children

Notable Experience/Cases:

  • Has represented eight (8) tribes in Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) cases in over ten (10) states across the country.  Handled all aspects of ICWA cases from trial to appeal.
  • Provided pro bono representation to a demonstrator opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in a criminal trial in Mandan, South Dakota and was successful in getting demonstrator's conviction overturned by the North Dakota Supreme Court.  See State v. Mark Hebert, 2018 ND 252.
  • Serves as lead counsel for a tribal development corporation and provides general counsel type services to the corporation on a regular basis which includes: drafting and amending corporate organization documents; creating and revising contracts, leases and agreements; drafting policies and procedures and providing advice to the corporation board on compliance with federal, state and tribal laws and regulations.
  • Has substantial experience in the area of labor and employment law including providing advice to tribes and tribal entities on discipline and termination of employees, review of human resources policy and procedure manuals, advising tribes on application of federal employment statutes, advising tribes regarding employment related issues such as garnishment, independent contractor status and employment contracts.
  • Conduct employee investigations for tribes and tribal employers and represent tribes in employment litigation. 
  • Served as a Special Prosecutor for a tribe which involvied the investigation and prosecution of government corruption in the courts and administrative agencies of the tribe.
  • Reviewed and revised entire tribal criminal code to help a tribe comply with the Tribal Law and Order Act (TLOA) and obtain enhanced sentencing under the TLOA.
  • Represented tribes and family members in tribal court adoptions, guardianships and child custody matters.
  • Drafted a tribal ordinance, policies and procedures and court forms to help a tribe achieve “substantial implementation” under Title I of the Adam Walsh Act, the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.
  • Represents tribes in all aspects of tribal, state and federal court litigation at the trial level and on appeal.

Menu