Jens Camp (3L) remotely counsels an estate planning client via Zoom during the October Indian Wills Clinic with the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians.
As part of broader efforts to help tribal communities address COVID-19 implications, Indian Legal Clinic students increased estate planning assistance in Indian Country. Students met remotely with 14 members of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians on drafting estate planning documents in October.
Nineteen wills, financial powers of attorney, and health care powers of attorney were executed during the project. The clients were grateful for the students’ “hard work, attention to detail, and graciousness,” said Robyn Delfino, Tribal Treasurer of the Pechanga Band, who managed administration of the program.
“We are thankful our students have the opportunity to bring this important service to the citizenry of the Pechanga Band,” said Professor Helen Burtis (’07). “These estate planning clinics give students unparalleled opportunities to counsel clients and learn the intricacies of drafting wills that conform with the American Indian Probate Reform Act.”
Students who participated are Mariah Black Bird (3L), Jens Camp (3L), Brendon Clark (3L), Aspen Miller (3L), Dustin Rector (3L) and MacArthur Stant (3L). They were supervised by Michele Fahley, Deputy General Counsel of the Pechanga Band, Mark Vezzola, Directing Attorney of the Escondido California Indian Legal Services, and Burtis.
The ILP would like to invite the #ILPFamily to join us in celebrating the graduation of this year’s ILP students. Our virtual ceremony will be broadcast live via YouTube Premiere on May 13 at 1:30 p.m. (MST)
If you are unable to join us at that time, you may watch the video at a later time on the premiere page.
Set your reminders, post your congratulatory messages, live chat and tune in to watch our students graduate!
Every year, more cities and states pass orders to formally recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day (IPD) on the second Monday of October as opposed to the federally observed Columbus Day. We asked some of our students their thoughts on this topic. These are the answers we received. Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day!
The Indian Law Section of the State Bar of Arizona (ILS) Fall Social is on Oct. 22! Students and colleagues are encouraged to attend. This is a great opportunity to meet with other Arizona attorneys practicing in Indian Country!
Law school is tough enough, why pursue joint degrees? Will this serve Indian Country? Again, we asked our alumni.
Robert A. Rosette (’96), Partner and founder of Rosette, LLP
Marlene Ray (’97), business manager and philanthropist
Perry Riggs (’98), Deputy Executive Director, Navajo Nation Washington Office
Theresa Rosier (’98), Deputy General Counsel, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community
Verrin Kewenvoyouma (’04), attorney, business advisor, and owner of Kewenvoyouma Law, PLLC
Courtney Monteiro (’06), Senior Vice President, Sovereign Finance, LLC
Bartley Harris (’08), Attorney, Four Rivers Indian Legal Services
Kris Beecher (2L), student and Chairman of the Board of Commissioners for the Navajo Housing Authority
is your current occupation and how long have you held that position?
Rosier: Deputy General Counsel, Salt River Pima-Maricopa
Marlene Ray: Currently, along with managing two family businesses, my focus has been on philanthropy and volunteering which has included tutoring/mentoring Native American high school students and managing the Ray Jones Scholarship Fund benefiting California Indians pursuing postsecondary higher education. It is a great honor and privilege to be able to encourage and assist young Native people pursuing higher education either in college or trade, planting seeds for generation after generation benefiting their families, their communities and all Native peoples.
Verrin Kewenvoyouma: I am
an attorney, business advisor, and owner of Kewenvoyouma Law, PLLC. We are
a boutique law firm which provides legal and business counsel to Indian tribes
and their enterprises, primarily in the areas of corporate transactions. I
have been the sole and managing partner of our firm for nine years. Prior
to that, I briefly worked for another boutique law firm, KPMG, and a large
national bank doing commercial finance.
Kris Beecher: I am
currently a JD/MBA law student starting my last year of law school in the fall
of 2019. Additionally, I also serve as Chairman of the Board of Commissioners
for the Navajo Housing Authority, a position I have held since July 2017.
have your concurrent MBA and JD degrees affected your career? Do you wish you
had chosen a different field?
Rosier: The dual JD/MBA degree was an extremely helpful
degree to obtain prior to starting my career. The additional exposure that I
had at the WP Carey School of Business has helped me in the following ways: 1)
I am very comfortable with public speaking, and I always credit that the my MBA
training, 2) I work in the area of Indian economic development, and the MBA
helps me work through the business side of the transactions, even though I am
acting in an attorney capacity, and 3) the MBA program’s emphasis on team work
has helped me shepherd large projects and manage staff in an effective
Marlene Ray: As the first member of my Tribe (Table Mountain Rancheria) to graduate from college (Stanford University) and then to pursue a professional degree, I decided to pursue a joint JD/MBA degree because of the legal issues and business interests that Tribes encounter and knowing in some way I would be representing and advocating for Native peoples or businesses in my career and personal life. At the time, I thought a business degree would complement and enhance my participation in the Indian Legal Program and my interest in environmental and natural resources law, a decision that was proven true for me.
After graduation from
law school, I returned to Alaska to work on an environmental case in the legal
department at BP Exploration (Alaska), a company I had worked for during
college summers. My focus in law school in environmental and natural
resources law were a great foundation for my work and interests in Alaska. From
Alaska, I moved to Portland, Oregon, to pursue an L.L.M. in Environmental and
Natural Resources Law at Lewis and Clark Law School. Although I did not
finish the program, I gained greater knowledge of the natural resources issues
facing Tribes in the northwest as well as a new perspective on the economic,
historical and legal context of Tribes in the northwest. Upon returning
to California, I was elected onto my Tribe’s board of directors at our casino,
an experience that engaged
the knowledge I had garnered from law school and business school as well as my
Verrin Kewenvoyouma: While
law school and experience can train you to become a good lawyer, neither legal
experience nor law school train you to be a good business person. My MBA
has been instrumental for me to not only manage my own firm, but to provide
fully competent business advice to my clients. My joint degrees have paid off
ten-fold: I have been able to raise my family (and extended family), doing the
job I love, and now have opportunities to create opportunity within my own
community and the communities within which I work. In short, my own career has
been a means to an ends to create opportunity not only for myself, but to
empower others as well. When you combine business and legal experience it is
not zero sum game: you will find ways to create value for your clients and the
people with whom they do business.
Kris Beecher: While working on these degrees I have had the benefit of taking certain aspects of what I have learned in both disciplines and applying them in near real-time to my duties as a commissioner. I do not believe that I could have picked a better match as far as my education and the direction of my career.
what ways do you use your knowledge of law in your career and everyday
Rosier: I am an attorney and work with the law every day.
I often say, that I am professional problem solver. Most of my day is working
across the table with experts from various fields who all are working towards a
common goal/result. We have to work together to get that project or goal
done for the client.
Marlene Ray: Throughout the years, all of my professional and personal experiences have in some way been enriched and informed by the degrees I earned at Stanford University, ASU Law and ASU W.P. Carey School of Business as well as by the people, mentors, classmates and colleagues I’ve met as a result of attending college, law school and business school. As I mentor young Native students either getting ready to begin college or considering a post-graduate degree, I encourage them to consider their vast array of options, research different programs and schools, talk with current students in the program or school they’re considering, visit the program in action, figure out a budget, know there are people and resources to help them, and most importantly, to believe in themselves that their heart’s desire is important, worthy and possible.
Verrin Kewenvoyouma: A wise
lawyer once told me, “you can not become a good business and transaction lawyer
unless you’ve done some litigation in those areas as well.” Even in
scenarios where all parties have the best of intentions, as lawyers, we are
trained to see the world in the most challenging ways and draft to those
situations. Indeed, in litigation contract matters I have seen those
situations come to life. While we can’t move through the world walking on
egg shells, I’ve found that no matter the scenario, business, law, or
otherwise, if you approach a situation recognizing all foreseeable options,
very importantly, the solutions as well, you’ll be well prepared for
anything. In short, think of all the challenges and benefits of your
decisions, and be prepared.
Kris Beecher: Whether
I am working on projects as a commissioner or advocating for issues that I care
about, my knowledge of the law informs my decisions and the way I approach potential
situations. With a background in both business and law, I have a much broader range
of understanding of why and how people and businesses make the decisions they
you recommend a law degree or concurrent degrees to prospective students? What
would you say to a student considering earning these degrees?
Rosier: I ask people what they really want to do, if they
tell me that they want to be a prosecutor, litigator, tax attorney, etc., then,
I recommend that they only attend the law school. If people talk about
promoting business in underserved communities, working with non-profits, or
they are more open minded in their professional goals, I recommend that they
explore either the joint degree or the MBA degree (without the legal degree).
The MBA program at ASU is fantastic, and can open so many doors to
people. If you want to be a litigator, the MBA program doesn’t add a lot
of value. If you want to work in an in-house setting or in the commercial
transaction setting, the MBA is extremely helpful.M
Verrin Kewenvoyouma: I
highly recommend the joint JD and MBA program for anyone who may be pursuing a
career in business, business law, or seeks to manage a firm. While I can
attach a price tag to the one extra year I spent in grad school to earn my MBA,
the value has been immeasurable and continues to pay off. I would also be happy
to speak to any student who may be considering these degrees.
Kris Beecher: I
would absolutely recommend any prospective JD student to consider any of the concurrent
degrees available at their school. A great way to set yourself apart from the
rest of the law students you will be graduating with is earning a concurrent
degree. Having a broader background of education would only be an asset moving
Anything else you’d like to add?
Verrin Kewenvoyouma: Much
of law school is structured on the individual, and that make sense: you are the
only one who has to take the LSAT and pass the bar exam. The analytical
skills you learn have to be developed on an individual basis. However, in
business school, much like life and in a law practice, there is definitely much
more comradery and team orientated projects. You quickly learn how to
leverage your own strengths and weaknesses to work with other people for the
best outcome of your collective colleagues and clients. I think the
experience of both programs creates a good contrast of what you should
experience in life after school and in practice. Along those lines, the
relationships I made in both programs, and especially in the ILP, I still value
very much today. On a daily basis I work with folks who were graduates of
the program, and today, in fact, I’ve spoken to no less than four ASU ILP grads
on varying matters.
Kris Beecher: If I
could go back and do it all over again, I would make the exact same decision to
pursue a JD/MBA. In fact, I would probably advocate harder for more of my
colleagues in law school to pursue the MBA component.
Guest speaker and ILP alum, April Olson (’06) gave an insightful lecture, “A Story from the Standing Rock protest: Prosecution and defense of a water protector.”
In 2016, the fight for clean water and the indigenous led resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) caught the attention of the world. At the heart of the movement, was opposition to the DAPL, a pipeline projected to run close to the Standing Rock Reservation that threatened its clean water and sacred sites. No-DAPL demonstrators drew the ire of officials and law enforcement and numerous individuals engaging in peaceful protests were arrested and prosecuted for serious crimes in state and federal courts. This presentation talked about one of the many stories from Standing Rock and will follow the prosecution of one water protector from his arrest to his challenge before the North Dakota Supreme Court. Please see Corrected Opinion in North Dakota Supreme Court No. 20180171 (State v. Herbert) if you want to read more about the case.
The Indian Legal Program is always looking to expand our ILP family’s opportunities to network and gain experience in the legal profession. By networking with the Udall Foundation, we can show students more opportunities to participate in Indian Law programs across the country. Alumni Chia Halpern Beetso (’08), Julian Nava (’10) Jacqueline Bisille (MLS ’14), all completed the Udall Internship, along with current students Cynthia Freeman (2L), Christina Andrews (3L) and DesiRae Deschine (3L). The ILP asked these six Udall Alumni to share some advice to current or future students through their experience participating in the Udall Summer Internship Program.
“After completing my undergraduate degree, I was accepted
into the Udall Foundation Congressional Native American Internship Program,”
Crawford (3L) said. “This opportunity gave me my first hard
look at the legislation and policy at play… The Udall Foundation also provided
additional opportunities to visit and learn from a variety of agencies, law
firms, and organizations that focus on Indian Country policies. The Program
also provides housing and travel expenses which greatly reduced the burdens
that prevents many Native individuals from pursuing a summer internship in
When did you intern at Udall and why did you apply?
Halpern Beetso: “I participated in the
Udall Foundation Native American Congressional Internship during the summer of
2007. I applied because I always wanted to intern in a U.S. Congressional
office and heard so many great things about the program. I also had friends who
really enjoyed their experiences while participating in the Udall Internship as
Nava: “I was a Congressional Intern through the Udall program in the
summer of 2006. I applied because I wanted an insider’s view of our Nation’s
federal government i.e. how policies & laws are formed and money is
appropriated, especially as it applies to tribal governments and tribal
programs. I was also very interested in the history of U.S. laws and policies
directly aimed at American Indian tribes, so I thought, what better place to
learn about that dynamic (past, present, future) than at the center of U.S. law
Freeman: “I was a Udall intern in 2006. I applied because the Udall
internship program provided a unique opportunity for me to work in Congress and
to learn more about tribal laws and policies.”
Bisille: “I interned during the summer of 2014 in the
late Senator John McCain’s office. While living in Arizona, I interned with
various organizations and a local government on issues that affected Arizona
Tribes. While I enjoyed my time with those offices, I never had the chance to
work on policy issues that involved the Federal government and Indian Tribes.
When I heard about the Udall Internship in D.C., I knew it was an opportunity
to not pass up so I prepared my application, sent it in, and waited for the
Christina Andrews: “I interned summer
2017. I interned at Udall
because I wanted to learn about the United States’ legislative process and its
impact in Indian Country. I wanted to know if I had a place at the U.S.
government area. I applied because of
the prestige of being a Udall Intern and the doors it would open up for me.”
Deschine: “In 2017, I was a 1L when I was selected for the
Udall Foundation Native American Congressional Internship. I wanted the legal
work experience within a federal agency and to gain an inside look at the
regulatory process of federal Indian law. In addition, I wanted to be a Udall
Intern so that I could live and experience Washington D.C. with a cohort of
other Native American students.”
What was the experience like and what was the most valuable thing you learned?
Halpern Beetso: “I had the
best summer. I was in the office of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and
was able to help plan and attend committee hearings. I got to see first-hand
how legislation is drafted and passed. I was also fortunate enough to work on an
issue that my own tribe needed assistance with. The most valuable thing I
learned was to take the initiative to pursue my professional goals.”
Nava: “I had a wonderful experience that I will cherish for a
lifetime. The most valuable lessons that I learned during my internship was how
important relationship building is, including, building relationships with
those people who agree and understand your views and interests as well as those
people who do not. Your ability to communicate and be inquisitive is vital to a
Bisille: “The experience was unforgettable because it
gave me the opportunity to learn more about a career that I wanted to work in.
I’d say the most valuable thing I learned was how Congress moves legislation
through both chambers. The process is fascinating and continues to challenge me
in unique ways each day while working for the SCIA.”
Freeman: “The experience was rewarding; it provided me with numerous
opportunities to network with tribal leaders and tribal advocates, meet
Congressional leaders, and forge lifetime friendships. The most valuable thing
I learned was the importance of having tribal representation within Congress,
both at the leadership and staff levels.”
Andrews: “The experience was more than I could have ever imagined. I
was able to see the place where the Nation’s decisions were made. I learned
about how law is made and passed; toured the White House and legislative buildings;
helped create a bill and walk it through the process for consideration at the
floor; I met many people who are advocating for Indian issues; I learned about
being a leader and advocate for Indian Country; and finally, I built a lifelong
cohort with other Udallers. We still remain connected.”
Deschine: “Interning with the Department of the Interior
as a Native American Congressional Intern was invaluable. I received great
mentorship and substantive legal work assignments from my internship placement.
In addition to the work experience, I was exposed to other federal agencies,
congressional offices, and non-profit organizations that share similar goals
related to Native American communities and Tribes. Through this experience I
strengthened my legal writing skills and as a result felt capable and ready to
spend a full-semester in Washington, D.C. as a 3L with the D.C. Externship
Program through the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.”
Would you recommend this program to other students? If so why?
Halpern Beetso: “I would definitely
recommend this program to current students. It is a great chance to have a paid
internship in Washington DC which isn’t always an option for many people. You
often get to work on Native issues and have opportunities to attend hearings,
meetings and receptions with various leaders in Washington DC. It can lead to
job opportunities and truly is a learning experience.”
Nava: “I would absolutely recommend this program because this
program gives a hands-on experience that will hopefully provide students with a
better understanding of how law and policy is formed, how the system works in
real time and how they can eventually be a part of that system and/or change.”
Bisille: “I definitely would recommend the internship
program to any ILP student thinking about working on tribal issues. In some way
or another, a tribal government will likely have to work with Congress or the
Administration and it’s good to have an idea of what goes on in DC.”
Freeman: “Yes, I highly recommend this program to any student who is
interested in learning about federal Indian policy and would like to work in
Washington, D.C. As a participant, you will gain valuable insight into the
legislative process as it pertains to tribal nations.”
Andrews: “I was intimidated about DC, but now after going
through the program, I have more confidence having spent the summer at DC. Also,
this program challenged myself as an older student that I still have a lot to contribute,
and I plan to do just that.”
Deschine: “I absolutely recommend the Udall Foundation Native American
Congressional Internship program to students that are interested in learning
more about the government-to-government relationship between Tribes and the
federal government and working for a congressional office or a federal agency
in Washington, D.C. Being a Native American Congressional Intern was a unique
experience and through the program I gained access to a network of Native
American professionals who are contributing to strengthening Indian Country.
Furthermore, I recommend the Native American Congressional Internship program
because of the support that the Udall Foundation provides to each student that
makes living and working in Washington, D.C. possible.”
Freeman (left) in 2006 and DesiRae Deschine and Christina Andrews (right) in
For students who want to apply, what advice would you give them?
Halpern Beetso: “I would advise students to
review their essays a couple times prior to submitting the application. Also,
to clearly explain why this experience will benefit them in their goal of
working on tribal policy and make the connection as to why this internship is
the next logical step in their trajectory.”
Bisille: “My advice for students considering in applying
is to not procrastinate on your application. I’ve heard that the review
committee can tell what applications were lazily put together from others that
include well written essays. My last bit of advice for any student considering
the internship program would be to go, if accepted, because they will be
sharing these experiences with 11 other Native students, and have memories for
a lifetime. A few of the Udall interns in my class live in DC and have become
some of my closest friends. A bit cheesy, I know, but also one of the best
things about the program and why I’m happy to have done it.”
Nava: “Be inquisitive, ask questions (1,000 + perhaps), be
involved, explore, be willing to learn, sightsee, be adventurous, network and
tell your story. People are very interested in your story. Tell it.”
Freeman: “If you are considering applying, then it is very important
that you have someone (a professor or mentor) review your application
materials. I highly recommend talking with the Udall program or alumni, if you
have any questions about the internship program or the application process.”
Andrews: “For students who what to apply, I would advise
them to take the application serious. Make sure you give well thought out
answers; dig deep for your answers; don’t feel intimidated; and ask
questions. Make sure to reach out to others who have gone through the
program for help.”
Deschine: “Students interested in the Native American Congressional
Internship should reach out to alumni of the internship program and the Program
Manager to learn more about the program and to receive individualized advice
about the application process. Students should also work on their application
ahead of time, research the contributions of Morris K. Udall and Stewart L.
Udall to Indian Country, and seek out critical feedback on their essay.”
Find out more information about the Udall Foundation’s internships here.
As 2018 comes to a close, the ILP reflects on some of the biggest moments for our community. ASU NALSA won NNALSA Chapter of the Year in April 2018. NNALSA President Sarah Crawford (3L) has been working the whole year on expanding opportunities for the club and the community as a whole.
2018 held a lot of success for ASU NALSA, which opens up future opportunity and success for the club. View their Chapter of the Year Bid here, which shows their accomplishments in the past year.
“As a Native law student, I have benefited and loved the strong support system with fellow Native law students,” Sarah said. “I wish to ensure that all Native law students have a sense of this unity.”