Patricia Zell is a Partner in Zell & Cox Law, P.C., specializing in the laws affecting American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians. For the past 29 years Zell has served as the editor of the Indian Law Reporter, a monthly legal publication providing non-evaluative summaries of Federal,State, Tribal and Administrative law rulings in the field of Federal-Indian law. Zell retired from public service in 2005, following 25 years of service on the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs,where she served as Democratic Staff Director and Chief Counsel for 19 years. Prior to her Senate service, she worked for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, the American Indian Policy Review Commission, and the American Psychological Association. During her tenure on the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, Zell worked on all of the legislative initiatives developed by the tribal leaders in collaboration with the Committee, including the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, the Indian Education Act, the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, the National Museum of the American Indian Act, the Native American Languages Act, the Native American Programs Act, land and water rights claims settlement acts, the Indian Finance Act, the Indian Land Consolidation Act, the American Indian Trust Fund Management Reform Act, as well as working with other Senate committees on measures such as the Indian provisions of the Energy Security Act and Indian provisions of the National Historic Preservation Act.As chief counsel for the Indian Affairs Committee, Zell was also responsible for the Committee’s oversight of the administration of Indian programs by the various Federal agencies, and the conduct of relations between the Senate and the Executive branch on matters of Indian law and policy.
A graduate of Georgetown Law School, Zell is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court, and served on the faculty of the University of Hawaii School of Law for the 2006 January term. Zell serves on the Board of Trustees of the National Museum of the American Indian.