Lisa R. Shellenberger is a partner at Smith, Shellenberger & Salazar, and she is a lead litigator at the firm. Lisa has in-depth knowledge in many different areas of law including family law, federal Indian law, and tribal law. Super Lawyers recently recognized Lisa with the 2017 Rising Star Award in the area of family law, an honor and recognition that is limited to no more than 2.5 percent of Colorado attorneys.
Lisa’s practice is devoted to helping families, children, Indian Nations, and tribal entities. She handles a variety of cases within the discipline of family law, which include divorce, child custody, step-parent adoption proceedings, modifications of child support/maintenance/parenting time, the Indian Child Welfare Act, dependency & neglect cases, guardianship actions, and grandparent or third party allocation of parental responsibilities cases.
Lisa also has extensive experience in the special niche of federal Indian law and tribal law. Lisa’s practice related to these areas involves tribal employment issues, government-to- government relations, tribal housing matters, tribal health law, natural resource issues, and drafting tribal ordinances and resolutions. Lisa also has experience working closely on improving and/or developing tribal court programs and advising state and tribal judiciary committees. Additionally, Lisa is one of the nation’s few attorneys that is well-versed and experienced in handling Tribe-to- State jurisdictional disputes. In many family law cases, parents find themselves encountering a jurisdictional dispute when the question of whether a State or Tribe has jurisdiction over the case. These types of cases are legally complicated and the applicability of certain federal, state, or tribal statutes may be confusing or misleading. However, Lisa has successfully represented clients in these cases in Colorado State District Courts and in various tribal courts around the country, and she does so frequently.
Lisa is extremely involved in matters related to the the Indian Child Welfare Act in Colorado, which is a federal law applied in dependency and neglect cases involving Indian children. Specifically, Lisa is a member of the Indian Child Welfare Act Sub-Committee of the Colorado Court Improvement Program, and she was selected by the Honorable Judge Donna Schmalberger to be part of the committee that is developing and implementing the Denver Indian Child Welfare Act Court, which is the third specialized court of its type in the United States. Lisa is also a member of the committee currently drafting revisions to the Colorado Children’s Code relating to the implementation and adherence to Indian Child Welfare Act.
Prior to coming on full-time with Smith, Shellenberger & Salazar, Lisa served as a Clerk to Justice Nancy E. Rice at the Colorado Supreme Court. While working for Justice Rice, Lisa reviewed petitions for a writ of certiorari, researched the legal significance of the petitions, and made final written recommendations to the Justices as to whether the Court should accept or deny the petitions.
Lisa’s publications include: OPPOSING VIEWPOINTS: NATIVE AMERICANS, “The Reasoning for and Purpose of the Bureau of Indian Affairs — Enlightening Journalist John Stossel.” Cengage Learning, April 2012. Lisa’s legal work has been highlighted in numerous national news articles, including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and National Public Radio (NPR).
Lisa attended law school at the University of Colorado Law School in Boulder where she received the “Excellence in Clinical Education Award.” Lisa completed her undergraduate degree at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri, with honors. Lisa is an Oklahoma Native, and she is a member of the Choctaw Nation. Outside of work, Lisa is an outdoor enthusiast and fitness buff. She enjoys camping, hiking, mountain biking, dirt biking, and kayaking, and she is an enthusiast of many team sports as well. She enjoys partaking in these activities with her husband, Kyle Doman, and their two dogs.
United States District Court, District of Colorado, 2012
Oglala Sioux Tribal Court, 2012
Ute Indian Tribal Court, 2013
Southern Ute Indian Tribal Court, 2015
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Court, 2015