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Naomi Julia Barnes


Naomi focuses her practice on tribal and municipal finance transactions. She is known for her ability to bring complex transactions to a successful close.

Naomi is a member of the Public Finance Department in the Scottsdale office. She lives and works in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Naomi serves in multiple capacities in business and public finance transactions, including as bond counsel, underwriter’s counsel, issuer’s and borrower’s counsel, lender’s counsel and special tax counsel. She focuses her practice on transactions involving Indian tribes, but also represents state governmental entities and issuers, as well as investment banks and conduit borrowers in municipal public finance transactions, particularly project-finance transactions involving conduit and other structures. In both tribal and municipal finance, Naomi is known for her ability to bring complex and difficult transactions to a successful close.

In her tribal practice, Naomi regularly advises tribal governments and their business partners on finance and business issues relating to tribal governmental and commercial projects. She has advised on numerous financing transactions involving Indian tribes, including taxable and tax-exempt loans and securities offerings. Financed projects include tribal infrastructure, casinos, casino expansions, general commercial projects, health clinics, administration facilities, public-safety facilities, conference centers, hotels and other projects. Naomi’s tribal finance experience, as well as her past experience serving as general counsel to tribal governments, provide her with a solid background in legal issues affecting Indian tribes, acute sensitivity to tribal concerns and goals and the specialized knowledge necessary to navigate complex legal and regulatory environments.

Naomi has served on the board of New Mexico Legal Aid, a nonprofit organization dedicated to opening the door to equal access to justice for all disenfranchised and low-income people and communities throughout New Mexico and the New Mexico Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, as well as other local nonprofit organizations.

  • Competition Law in Regional Trade Agreements: an Overview, in Regional Trade Agreements and the WTO Legal System (Lorand Bartels and Dr. Federico Ortino, eds., Oxford University Press, 2006) (co-author with Melaku G. Desta)
Speaking Engagement
  • "Bankruptcy and Indian Tribes: From the Basics of Bankruptcy to Tribal Sovereign Immunity," State Bar of Arizona and the Tribal In-House Counsel Association, CLE, September 2019 (co-presenter)

  • Representing clients  in connection with transactions involving the issuance of tax-exempt and taxable debt
  • Focusing on financing transactions involving Indian tribes as well as state and municipal issuers
  • Serves as bond counsel, issuer’s counsel, underwriter’s counsel, borrower’ counsel, lender’s counsel and special tax counsel in financing transactions
  • Representing clients in restructuring efforts, including negotiating amendments to existing transaction documents. 
Other Notable Experience:
  • Advisor to Anglo-American Contract Models, Department of Law/Scandinavian Institute of Maritime Law, University of Oslo: Advisor on contract law of the United States of America to Contract Models Project at the University of Oslo aimed at analyzing the purpose and function of standard common law contract clauses and to determining how those clauses apply when a contract is governed by another legal system. 
  • Contributor to Host Government Contract Analysis Project, Kazakhstan: Assisted in conducting research and drafting report regarding host government petroleum contracts with emphasis on risk-service contracts. 
  • Research and Editorial Assistant to Dr. Melaku Geboye Desta at University of Dundee, Scotland. Ms. Barnes served as a research and writing assistant to Dr. Desta in 2005. Duties included conducting research and editing scholarly articles on the rules governing international trade in the areas of agriculture, energy and competition law. Specific projects included articles on regional trade agreements, agricultural subsidies and the relationship between competition law and regional trade agreements. Co-authored chapter in trade publication; see Melaku Geboye Desta and Naomi Julia Barnes, Competition Law in Regional Trade Agreements: An Overview, in Regional Trade Agreements and the WTO System 239 (Lorand Bartels & Federico Ortino, eds., Oxford University Press, 2006).