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Several times last autumn, the Florida Seminoles’ efforts to buy Hard Rock Cafe International Inc. hit a snag. Some tribal leaders balked at spending nearly a billion dollars for the hotel/restaurant/casino franchise; they didn’t want to hear advice from outsiders, such as Wall Street investment bankers, to go ahead with the deal.

It was tribe general counsel Jim Shore — the first Seminole to graduate from law school — who saved the day and the deal. He oversaw the negotiations, worked with the bankers, and supervised the tribe’s outside lawyers. Then he soothed the leaders’ anxiety. For seven months he repeatedly called, visited or e-mailed the tribe’s five elected council members, answering their questions, easing their doubts, and sharing his vision for the Seminoles’ future. The leaders were “a little bit cautious because we’re talking big bucks here. They had to be satisfied with the numbers,” Shore says.

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