Indian Law Section
The Indian Law Section provides a forum for practitioners representing clients affected by Indian law. Federal, tribal and state laws, executive and administrative actions, and court decisions produce a complex and rapidly evolving array of law that affects legal services. The Section schedules CLE programs on subjects that provide information to practitioners representing clients affected by Indian law. Section members also receive a newsletter highlighting recent developments in Indian law.
Over the past few years, the WSBA Indian Law Section and its sister group, the Northwest Indian Bar Association, have joined together to create the Indian Legal Scholars Program. Together, these entities have raised and contributed over $100,000 in scholarships to aspiring Indian lawyers from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska. In 2004, the American Bar Association recognized the program with its "Solo and Small Firm Project Award."
The program's goal of nourishing future Indian lawyers is of particular importance when considered against statewide and national research findings. Indians are by far the most under-represented ethnic demographic in the legal profession. Indian attorneys comprise a fraction of 1% of Washington state's 29,000 licensed attorneys. Nationally, of the 1 million practicing lawyers in the U.S. and the 4.1 million people who identify themselves as Native American, there are only 1,700 indigenous practitioners (2000 Census).
The scholarship funds come from membership dues and generous charitable grants from the Chehalis, Jamestown S'Klallam, Lummi, Muckleshoot, Port Gamble S'Klallam, Puyallup, Squaxin Island, Suquamish, Swinomish, and Tulalip tribes.
As one of the program's valuable offerings, the WSBA Indian Law Section and the Northwest Indian Bar Association each year match fiscal resources to provide stipends to several Indian students preparing for the summer bar exam. Beginning with the 2010 winter bar exam and for the first time, stipends were awarded to students preparing for the winter bar exam.
For questions about the Indian Legal Scholars Program or its bar exam stipends, please contact Gabe Galanda at 206-628-2780 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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