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Joseph R. Membrino

Joseph “Joe” R. Membrino

Of Counsel

T 202-412-2700 | F 918-594-0505

Resident in Cooperstown, New York

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Joe Membrino practices in Indian Law and Legislative & Regulatory Affairs. He is an AV-rated attorney through Martindale-Hubbell.

Highlights of Joe's legal career include:

  • Obtained federal legislation securing a $42 million judgment fund for payment of Indian tribal land claim.
  • Wrote and oversaw enactment of legislation and executive branch implementation of program to restore one of the largest rivers in California and the fishery on which several Indian tribes depend. This activity accomplished the greatest reallocation of water (250,000 acre-feet annually) to environmental protection and “green” economic development in the 100-year history of the federal reclamation program.
  • Wrote and oversaw enactment of legislation to restore to Indian tribe 2,600 acres of old growth forest land in California that had been wrongfully seized by the federal government in the 19th century.
  • Negotiated Indian reserved water rights settlement on behalf of San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians, San Diego County, CA.


  • Boston College Law School (J.D., 1971)
  • Georgetown University (B.A. in English, 1968)


  • Connecticut (1972)
  • District of Columbia (1979)
  • Connecticut Supreme Court
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut
  • U.S. District Court for the┬áDistrict of Columbia
  • U.S.┬áCourt of Appeals for the District of Columbia
  • United States Supreme Court
  • 1989 - Present Hall Estill
  • 1976 - 1989 U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of the Solicitor, Division of Indian Affairs (Assistant Solicitor–Water and Power 1982-1989)
  • 1974 - 1976 Travel in Europe, Africa, Southeast Asia and Australia
  • 1972 - 1974 Native American Rights Fund, Boulder Colorado. Attorney and legal counsel to the National Indian Law Library
  • 1971 - 1972 Waterbury (Connecticut) Legal Aid and Reference Service
  • "A Brief History of Indian Trust Administration Reform: Will the Past be Prologue?" Tulsa Law Review, Summer 2014, Vol. 50, Issue 1
  • "Indian Reserved Water Rights, Federalism and the Trust Responsibility," University of Wyoming Land and Water Law Review, Volume XXVII, Number 1 (1992)