Riyaz A. Kanji is a partner at Kanji & Katzen PLLC. He served as a law clerk to the late Honorable Betty Fletcher of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Justice David Souter of the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Kanji then spent two years as a Skadden Fellow at Evergreen Legal Services in Seattle, where he principally worked on the shellfish proceedings in United States v. Washington, and three years as an associate at Williams and Connolly in Washington, D.C., where, in addition to significant tribal representation, he litigated complex matters for clients including President Clinton, ABC News and Georgetown University.
Mr. Kanji is widely viewed as a leading trial and appellate litigator on behalf of Indian nations and tribes across the country. Chambers U.S.A. places him at the top of its list of notable practitioners in the field, describing him as “a superb litigator and a leading choice for appellate cases,” and as “strategic with his litigation tactics and extremely approachable.”
In addition to significant trial successes on behalf of the firm’s clients, Mr. Kanji is frequently sought out as specialist counsel or as a consultant to Indian nations and their attorneys on matters of Supreme Court and appellate practice because of his special expertise in those areas. He is passionate about the work of the NCAI-NARF Tribal Supreme Court Project and its role in protecting tribal sovereignty. He played an active part in the formation of the Project and has devoted hundreds of hours of pro bono time to its work. He especially enjoys assisting Indian nations in defeating efforts by the federal government, States, and private parties to have the Supreme Court review lower court decisions favorable to tribal interests.
He currently serves as an Adviser on the Restatement of the Law Third, The Law of American Indians.