Kaighn Smith, Jr.


207.253.0559 Direct
207.772.3627 Fax


84 Marginal Way, Suite 600
Portland, ME 04101-2480

Assistant: Chena Immel


  • University of Maine School of Law, J.D., 1986
  • University of Sussex, M.Phil, with honors, 1983
  • University of California, Berkeley, B.S., phi beta kappa, 1979


  • Maine
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, District of Maine
  • U.S. District Court, District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan
  • Penobscot Nation Tribal Court
  • Passamaquoddy Tribal Court
  • Pueblo of Laguna Tribal Court
  • Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Tribal Court
  • Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians Tribal Court
  • Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Tribal Court
  • Mohegan Tribe Gaming Disputes Court


  • American Law Institute, 2007-present
  • Maine Bar Foundation, 2005-present
  • Maine Bar Journal Editorial Advisory Committee, 1989-2001/ Chief Editor, 1999-2001
  • Edward T. Gignoux Inns of Court Senior Attorney, 1999-2001
  • Maine State Bar Association


  • University of Maine School of Law, American Indian Law
    Adjunct Professor
  • National Ski Patrol, Sugarloaf Mountain; Stub Taylor, Pat Murphy Award (2008)
    Alpine Patroller (1998-2010)
  • Portland Public Library Board of Trustees
    Member (2003-2010)
  • Portland Public Library Executive Director Search Committee
    Chair (2005)

Kaighn Smith, Jr. leads Drummond Woodsum’s nationwide Indian Law Practice Group. He has represented Indian nations and their enterprises for over 25 years.  A litigator, his cases focus on all aspects of federal Indian law.  He has won cases for Indian nations’ interests in a wide range of areas, including jurisdiction and sovereignty disputes, gaming matters, labor and employment relations, land-in-trust and environmental matters, and fishing and water rights.  He represents clients in the federal, tribal, and state courts and before federal administrative agencies across the country.

In 2011, Kaighn published the leading treatise, Labor and Employment Law in Indian Country, with the Native American Rights Fund.  Since 2012, he has served as associate reporter (with Professors Matthew L.M. Fletcher and Wenona Singel) on the Restatement of American Indian Law for the American Law Institute.  He is listed in Chambers USA and in Best Lawyers in America for the category of Native American Law.

Kaighn clerked for Judge Frank M. Coffin at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and for Justice Louis Scolnik at the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.  He serves as Adjunct Professor of American Indian Law at the University of Maine School of Law.


  • Penobscot Nation and United States v. Maine Attorney General, et als, No. 1:12-CV-254-GZS (D. Me.) (pending)
  • Rassi v. Federal Program Integrators, 69 F.Supp.3d 288 (D. Me. 2014)
  • Francis v. Dana-Cummings, 962 A.2d 944 (Me. 2008)
  • Taxpayers of Michigan Against Casinos v. State of Michigan, 732 N.W.2d 487 (Mich. 2007)
  • TOMAC v. Norton, 433 F.3d 852 (D.C. Cir. 2006)
  • Inyo County, California, et al. v. Paiute-Shoshone Indians of the Bishop Community, 538 U.S. 701 (2003)
  • Penobscot Nation v. Fellencer, 164 F.3d 706 (1st Cir. 1999), cert. denied, 527 U.S. 1022 (1999)
  • Akins v. Penobscot Nation, 130 F.3d 482 (1st Cir. 1997)
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  • Best Lawyers USA, Native American Law (2008-2016)
  • New England Super Lawyers, Native American Law, Employment & Labor (2011-2016)
  • Chambers USA, Nationwide, Native American Law
  • Martindale Hubbell, BV Distinguished



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