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 several 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. As a joint venture, these entities have raised and contributed over $100,000 in scholarships to aspiring Indian lawyers from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska in the last five years (NWIBA press release, December 2008).
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 the 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 – yes, seventeen hundred – Native practitioners (2000 Census).
The Indian Legal Scholars Program has gifted over $100,000 in scholarships to aspiring Indian lawyers from the Pacific Northwest. In August 2004, the American Bar Association bestowed the program with the prestigious "Solo and Small Firm Project Award."
The scholarship monies 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, each year the WSBA Indian Law Section and the Northwest Indian Bar Association match fiscal resources to provide stipends to several Indian students who are 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 and/or the bar exam stipends, please contact Gabe Galanda at 206-628-2780 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Section Members: To join the Section list serve and for general Section questions, please send your email address and Bar number to email@example.com. For more information and to get involved with the Section, please contact the Section Chair, Aubrey Seffernick.
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