Last year, a rare tornado that hammered the Western Massachusetts town of Monson missed Harold Bailey Jr.’s summer home there. The near-catastrophe reminded Bailey of the importance of preparing for the worst kinds of weather.
The Garvey Schubert Barer partner, in fact, has long been dedicated to keeping one of his clients, the Quileute Indian Tribe along Washington state’s coast, safe from storms. Bailey was instrumental in his firm’s battle to help the tribe acquire land outside its one-square-mile reservation, which is vulnerable to tsunamis.
In February, President Obama signed a law transferring 785 acres of Olympic National Park land to the Quileute. The law also transfers 184 acres of Quileute-owned land to the tribe’s reservation for a total of 969 acres. “This is the ultimate environment and natural resource [project],” Bailey said.
His Seattle-based firm’s work for the tribe, which was its first pro bono client, is offered for free or at greatly reduced fees, Bailey said.
Bailey’s involvement with the Quileute dates to his tenure as a summer associate in 1983. He is now lead counsel for federal land issues for the tribe, working in the Washington office.
Bailey spearheaded the recent successful lobbying effort for the Quileute, said Matthew Schneider, managing director of Garvey Schubert’s Washington and New York offices. The campaign included a video that Bailey helped to create, which has garnered more than 7,600 hits on YouTube. (The Twilight books and movies series, which portrays some tribal members as shape-shifters who can turn into wolves, also has thrust the tribe into the spotlight.) “It required a lot of negotiations with the federal government on boundaries and terms of the transfer. A lot of parties had to be in agreement,” Schneider said.
For about a decade, Bailey has done pro bono work for four families who live in the Spring Valley neighborhood of the District of Columbia, whose homes are on or near World War I chemical weapons burial sites. The weapons were from the U.S. Army’s American University Experiment Station.
“We’ve been trying to bring attention to this and to get the Army to come and clean it up,” Bailey said.