Ward, Stephen R.

  Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
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Stephen Ward’s practice is concentrated in the areas of Indian country business transactions, tribal law, environmental law, natural resources law, and appellate practice.  He heads the firm’s Indian law practice.  In the field of Indian law, he has assisted tribal and other clients with matters involving financing for major casino and resort, retail, and other business developments, Indian land title/fee‑to‑trust conveyances, cultural properties law (including Section 106 of the NHPA and NAGPRA), natural resources damages actions, self‑governance, and others.  In almost 20 years of practice, he has handled significant litigation and appellate cases in diverse areas, including Superfund, state and tribal sovereign immunity, the federal Administrative Procedure Act, energy law, claims involving federal and state royalties, qui tam claims, intellectual property law, and employment and discrimination claims.  Mr. Ward has handled or has been involved in matters before the United States Supreme Court, several federal circuit courts, and a number of federal district courts.  He also has extensive experience in practicing before federal administrative tribunals and tribal courts.


After law school, Mr. Ward served as a law clerk to the chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit and to a federal district judge.  Currently he serves as General Counsel to the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma (O-Gah-Pah).  He is a trustee‑at‑large of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, and assists with the publication of the Gower Federal Service.  A former journalist, Mr. Ward was editor‑in‑chief of his law school law review, and also of his college and high school newspapers.

  • University of Tulsa (J.D. 1990)
  • Oklahoma State University (B.S. 1978)
Bar admissions & years:
  • Oklahoma - 1990
  • U.S. District Court, E.D. of Oklahoma - 1995
  • U.S. District Court, N.D. of Oklahoma - 1993
  • U.S. District Court, W.D. of Oklahoma - 1990
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit - 1996
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit - 1995
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit - 1991
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit - 1997
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit - 1999
  • U. S. Supreme Court - 1996
  • Court of Indian Offenses - 1994
  • Court of Indian Appeals - 1994
Memberships & Affiliations:
  • Tulsa County Bar Association
  • Oklahoma Bar Association
  • Muscogee (Creek) Nation Bar Association
  • Federal Bar Association
  • Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation
Other Distinctions:
  • Law Clerk for Hon. William J. Holloway, Jr., U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, 1991 - 1993
  • Law Clerk for Hon. Layn R. Phillips, U.S. District Court, W.D. of Oklahoma, 1990 - 1991
  • General Counsel, Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma (O-Gah-Pah), 2002 - Present
  • Trustee-at-Large, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, 2007-08
  • Contributing Editor to the Gower Federal Service, 2000 - Present
  • Tulsa Law Journal Editor-in-Chief, 1989 - 1990
  • Oklahoma State University Daily O’Collegian Editor-in-Chief, 1978
  • Donart High School Excelsior Editor-in-Chief, 1973 - 1974
  • Recipient of Eagle Scout award, 1972
  • Author of "Maynard v. Cartwright: How the Supreme Court Killed the Catchall Category in the Oklahoma Death Penalty," 24 Tulsa Law Journal 215 (1988)