Chris Deschene

Partner *

United States Supreme Court (2017)
State Bar of Arizona (2006)
Navajo Nation Bar (2005)


Chris is a national leader well respected by his peers, tribal leaders, business leaders and Indian Country. As a member of the Navajo Nation, Chris’ military, public and legal career and record stem from his traditional values of service and defense for the benefit of the greater community. Chris’ talents, skills and experiences as a Federal Indian law attorney, mechanical engineer, state official, and former senior official within the Obama Administration, help tribes and their partners protect their resources, defend their communities, and advance their missions as they work to strengthen their sovereignty. Recently, Chris completed a two-year distinguished term as the Director of the Office of Indian Energy within the U.S. Department of Energy. As Director, Chris oversaw the development and deployment of key initiatives to spur investment, deployment and management of Indian Country energy projects in the Lower 48 states and Alaska. Renowned for his vision, decisiveness and communicative abilities, Chris has built successful teams and initiatives to change the tribal energy industry and framework nationally for tribal communities and partners seeking to work with tribes.

Prior to his service in government, he spent ten years as a partner with the Law Offices of Schaff & Clark Deschene, LLC, focusing largely on business and energy development on tribal, state, and federal lands. He has extensive knowledge of power generation, transmission, distribution, renewable energy development, oil and gas development, utility formation, water, natural resource, energy and environmental policy development, tribal and federal administrative and regulatory permitting, energy contracting and negotiations. He has served as general counsel and advisor to tribes, tribal energy partnerships and non-Indian energy and business entities in the Southwest, Northwest, Great Plains, and Eastern United States including Washington D.C.

As a former member of the Arizona House of Representatives, Chris has extensive government and legislative experience to help tribes maximize their government affairs and relationships. Chris has also served honorably within the U.S. Marine Corps, completing two tours in the Persian Gulf, first in the infantry and then with the reconnaissance units. He holds a rank of Major, U.S.M.C.R. (ret.).

* Mr. Deschene is admitted to practice law only in Arizona.  His practice is supervised by a licensed D.C. bar member pending bar admission.


Partner, Rosette Law, LLP (2017)
Director, Office of Indian Energy Policy & Program, US Dept. of Energy (2015)
Attorney, Snell & Wilmer, LLP (2015)
Deputy County Attorney, Coconino County Attorney’s Office (2012)
Member, Arizona House of Representatives (2009)
Partner, Law Offices of Schaff & Clark-Deschene, LLC (2003)
Legal Fellow, United States Senate, Office of Senator Kyl (2000)
Sr. Energy Resource Planner, Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona (2015)
Technical Services Engineer, Southwest Gas Corporation (1998)
Officer, United State Marine Corps (1993)
Military Research Engineer, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (1993)


Arizona State University, College of Law, Juris Doctor (2005)
Arizona State University, College of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, M.S.M.E. Mechanical Eng. (2005)
United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD, B.S. Mechanical Eng. (1993)


Secretary’s Distinguish Service Award, U.S. Department of Energy
NCAIED Forty Under Forty Award
Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal for Superior Performance

Representative Matters

Served as General Counsel to large tribal wholesale electric energy development enterprise and helped developed the tribe’s multi-billion, 1500 MW, ultra-supercritical, coal-fired generating facility, the tribe’s billion dollar, 500kV, transmission project, and over 100 MWs of solar and wind energy projects on tribal trust lands.

Represented industrial client in developing a 750 MW natural gas generating facility on tribal trust lands.

Represented tribal oil & gas client in developing tribal fossil resources with industry partners.

Represented large international transmission client in developing high voltage power lines with tribal communities.

Represented tribal utility authority before federal power marketing administration during formation.

Represented tribal enterprises with solar, wind, biomass and hydropower project developments.

Contact Info

Washington, D.C. Office
Tel: (202) 652-0579
Fax: (202) 525-5261