Overview

Stephen Anstey is an attorney and member of Kilpatrick Townsend’s Government and Regulatory practice and Native American Affairs team. Stephen represents individuals, organizations, and businesses on policy, legislative, and regulatory issues and Native American Tribes on broad legal and regulatory matters. His practice focuses on digital assets, energy, ESG, rights-of-way, oil and gas, treaty rights, COVID-19 relief, and federal agency programs. In addition, he has worked extensively on pro bono civil rights cases, including discrimination and LGBTQIA+ matters.

Government and Regulatory
Stephen advises his clients on federal policy and regulatory matters affecting numerous industries, including renewable energy, sustainability, energy development, health care, housing, telecommunications, infrastructure, small business, agriculture, and hospitality. He supports his clients throughout the entire regulatory process, ensuring their interests are met in federal agency rulemaking and program administration.

Stephen also counsels his clients on federal regulatory requirements, funding opportunities, program guidelines, and compliance standards. He has helped his clients advocate for and effectuate change on regulatory matters concerning the Department of the Treasury, Department of Transportation, Department of the Interior, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Agriculture, Federal Aviation Administration, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, the Small Business Administration, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Stephen has helped his clients navigate, guide the implementation of, and benefit from numerous federal programs related to the COVID-19 pandemic. He has also counseled his clients on the administration and implementation of the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act).

Digital Assets
Stephen advises on digital assets regulation, development, and administration, as well as related topics. He leads the Kilpatrick Townsend Digital Assets Regulation Blog. The blog covers the development of digital assets regulation and policy, focusing on cryptocurrency, stablecoin, and central bank digital currency.

Native American Affairs
Stephen represents his Tribal clients on a broad range of legal and regulatory issues. His litigation experience includes cases concerning rights-of-way, oil and gas, water rights, contract disputes, hunting and fishing rights, and treaty rights. He has represented clients before federal courts throughout the country, the Court of Federal Claims, and federal agency adjudicatory bodies like the Interior Board of Indian Appeals.

Stephen assists his clients with numerous federal programs and funding initiatives, with an emphasis on COVID-19 relief, emergency response, and economic development. He has helped his clients secure significant federal funding and navigate issues related to climate change, broadband and technology, energy, housing, small business, agriculture, health services, infrastructure, water, hospitality, disaster and crisis response, and tribal government services.

Education and Accolades
Stephen earned his LL.M. from Harvard Law School and his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School. Prior to receiving his LL.M., he was one of approximately 20 law school graduates from around the world accepted into the Harvard Law School Graduate Program as a Visiting Researcher.

Stephen was recognized as a Washington D.C. “Rising Star” in 2022 and the three years immediately preceding for Native American Law by Super Lawyers magazine. He was also recognized as one of the "Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch" in 2022 for Native American Law and in 2023 for Commercial Litigation and Native American Law by The Best Lawyers in America®. Additionally, U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers selected Kilpatrick Townsend as the 2020 “Law Firm of the Year” for Native American Law.

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Experience

Represented enrolled members of the Comanche, Caddo, Apache, Cherokee, and Kiowa Tribes of Oklahoma, who own a trust allotment outside of Anadarko, Oklahoma, in actions for trespass and condemnation arising from the continued operation of a natural gas pipeline for more than sixteen years after the easement expired. After being turned away by multiple firms, the landowners approached Kilpatrick Townsend, who agreed to take the case. We obtained dismissal of the gas company’s condemnation claims, and the federal district court for the Western District of Oklahoma entered summary judgment against the gas company for trespass. On appeal, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the condemnation claims and affirmed summary judgment on trespass. Marcia W. Davilla, et al. v. Enable Midstream Partners, L.P., et al., No. 5:2015cv01262 (W.D. Okla. 2016); Marcia W. Davilla, et al. v. Enable Midstream Partners, L.P., et al., No. 17-6088 (10th Cir. 2019); Enable Oklahoma Intrastate Transmission LLC v. 25 Foot Wide Easement, No. 17-6188 (10th Cir. 2018).

Obtained reversal of the trial court’s dismissal of trespass claims against an oil pipeline company on behalf of a putative class of individual Indian allottees in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. The appellate court held that the allottees were not required to exhaust administrative remedies with the Bureau of Indian Affairs before pursuing their claims in federal court. Chase v. Andeavor Logistics, L.P. (8th Cir. 2021).

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Insights
Services
Industries
Education

Harvard Law School LL.M. (2016)

University of Michigan Law School J.D. (2013)

University of Connecticut B.A. (2010) Political Science

Admissions

District of Columbia

Court Admissions

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit (2021)

U.S. Court of Federal Claims (2018)

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (2017)

U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota (2019)

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas (2018)

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Clerkships

Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Tribal Court - Honorable Allie Greenleaf Maldonado (May-Aug 2012)

Professional & Community Activities

University of Michigan Native American Law Students Association, Chair (2011-2012)

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