2021 ILP Alumni Awards – Call for Nominations

The ILP alumni awards are now open. Nominate your classmates and friends! The ILP Awards include Professional Achievement, Alumni Service Award, and Emerging Leader Award. Nominations are due March 5, 2021! Nomination materials should be sent by email to: Kate.Rosier@asu.edu. Awards will be presented at the ILP Alumni & Friends Virtual Awards Ceremony. Details for date, time and location will be shared soon.

Nomination Guidelines

ILP Professional Achievement Award – This award recognizes outstanding achievement in Indian Law or Tribal Law throughout an individual’s career. The award honors ILP alumni whose achievements in the field of Indian Law or Tribal Law have brought distinction to themselves and real benefit to the Indian community. Nomination Package Requirements:

  • Describe the unique professional achievements in the field of Indian Law or Tribal Law that has brought distinction to the candidate. (maximum two pages)
  • Describe the recognized contributions made by this candidate that demonstrate a benefit to the larger community. (maximum one page)
  • Describe the ways in which the candidate’s achievements are truly extraordinary or exceptional. (maximum one page)
  • Provide at least two letters of support from individuals that can speak to the candidate’s impact on his or her profession.
  • Letters of support should speak to the magnitude of the individual’s impact in the practice of Indian or tribal law or in the Indian community.
  • Provide a 200 word bio of the nominee.
  • Past winners include: Kathy Bowman (’86), Rob Rosette (’96), Diane Enos (’92), Ben Hanley (’71), Herb Yazzie (’75).

ILP Alumni Service Award – This award is given for outstanding service to the Indian Legal Program, and is awarded for extended, extraordinary service to the Indian Legal Program. Nomination Package Requirements

  • Describe the ways in which the candidate has served or supported the ILP and the ILP alumni. Examples can include serving on committees, boards, CLEs, mentoring ILP students, or other volunteer or fundraising efforts or funding commitments. (maximum one page)
  • Describe the ways this service been truly extraordinary. (maximum one page)
  • Describe how the candidate’s service has benefited the ILP. (maximum one page)
  • Please provide at least two letters of support from ILP alumni as part of the nomination package.
  • Provide a 200 word bio of the nominee.
  • Past winners include: Verrin Kewenvoyouma (’04), Ann Marie Downes (’94), Mary Shirley (’92) and Jeff Harmon (’05)

ILP Emerging Leader Award – This award acknowledges and encourages service to Indian Country and the ILP by alumni who are less than ten years out of law school. The award recognizes outstanding achievements in their professional career, volunteer work, and promotion or support of the ILP and/or ASU NALSA. Nomination Package Requirements.

  • Describe how the candidate has achieved professional success in their legal career.
  • Describe the candidate’s volunteer work.
  • Describe how the candidate achieved an exceptional level of service while balancing the demands of being a recent graduate. (maximum one page)
  • Describe how the candidate was proactive in efforts to become involved in ILP and/or ILP alumni activities. (maximum one page)
  • Describe how the candidate’s service has been sustained over a long period of time or how the service has been innovative or beneficial. (maximum one page)
  • Provide two letters of support from fellow ILP alumni.
  • Provide a 200 word bio of the nominee.
  • Past winners include: Carolyn Angus-Hornbuckle (’09), Nikki Borchardt Campbell (’09), Steve Bodmer (’06), Elizabeth Medicine Crow (’05), Charles Galbraith (’07), Matthew Campbell (’08) and Michael Corey Hinton (’11)

Pechanga Wills Clinic

Student Attorneys Serving Tribes

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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.

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Helen Burtis (’07)
Faculty Associate, Indian Legal Program, ASU Law

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ILP & NALSA Virtual Graduation Ceremony – Today!

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! 

Tune in at: law.asu.edu/ilpgrad2020

Indigenous People’s Day 2019 – Students’ Thoughts

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!

Our 12 students who took the “Federal Advocacy for the Tribal Client” class in Washington, D.C., also shared their thoughts in an Instagram takeover. Check out our highlight @ilpatasu
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Fresh Starts – Hearing from our incoming 1Ls and transfer students

As we head into the fall 2019 semester, we welcome 12 new students into our Indian Legal Program! Law school can offer the keys to a successful future in law and the beginnings of life-long friendships, according to alumni. But what view do our new students have on starting at the ILP, ASU Law and law school in general? Five of our students shared their thoughts.

ASU Law 2019 Orientation
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ILP Alumni with Concurrent Degrees: Part 2

In an earlier post, we talked to some of our alumni with concurrent degrees. Again, we reached out to our alumni to ask them why they chose to pursue concurrent degrees and how it has affected their career after graduation. Below are the responses from Perry Riggs (’98) and Courtney Monteiro (’06). You can read our first installment on our blog here.

  • 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

What is your current occupation and how long have you held that position? 

Perry Riggs: I am currently the Deputy Executive Director of the Navajo Nation Washington Office. I’ve held this position for almost three years, but I have worked for this office for about five years.

Courtney Monteiro: I am the Senior Vice President of Sovereign Finance. I helped start the company in August 2008 and have been with the company ever since. Prior life was as an Investment Banker at JPMorgan Securities.

How have your concurrent MBA and JD degrees affected your career? Do you wish you had chosen a different field? 

Perry Riggs: I think having both degrees has made me more marketable in the early stages of my career. Having an MBA has also helped me do my job as an attorney. I have been a licensed attorney for almost 20 years now and about 18 of those years has been spent within tribal government. Nowadays, Indian tribes are doing so many different things, especially economically, that you now have to know things from a business perspective. As an attorney, I have been involved in finance, investments, commercial transactions, construction, tribal enterprises, gaming, procurement, budgets, appropriations, economic development, and a number of other areas. With an MBA, it allowed me to see the issues involved from a business perspective allowing me to provide better advice and services to the tribe, as well as their enterprises.

I do not wish I had chosen a different field. Being an attorney is a very difficult job, but it has its rewards.

Courtney Monteiro: I’m a bit of an anomaly. My JD/MBA helped me realize that I preferred the business side of the equation to the legal. As such, when I received offer letters and considered my options, I was partial to proceeding outside of a traditional career in law. That said, I could not have excelled in my career without the work that was put in going through the legal portion of my education. I have zero regrets regarding my career choice. In fact, I couldn’t have imagined being in the position I am in when I was in school and I am grateful to have had the opportunities that I have had. I certainly would not have been prepared for where my career has taken me without all facets of my educational career, including my time spent at the law school. 

In what ways do you use your knowledge of law in your career and everyday life? 

Perry Riggs: I have been utilizing my knowledge of the law pretty much throughout the length of my career. I worked 12 and a half years as in-house counsel for an Indian tribe, one and a half years as counsel within Congress, one year as outside counsel, and five years in my current position working on behalf of my tribe in its representation to Congress and the Executive Administration. This all requires legal knowledge. In everyday life, I use the analytical skills often for problem solving, but the legal knowledge only in specific circumstances.

Courtney Monteiro: My firm provides financial and investment advisory work to tribal clients. While I am not in a position where I am drafting legal opinions or doing legal research, the time I spent both in law school and during my clerkships have been an invaluable component to ensuring that my client efforts receive the best advice possible. Sometimes this is as simple as providing them with access to legal resources that are made available to me through the many friends and colleagues, mostly graduates of the ILP program, that are providing exceptional legal advice throughout Indian Country. 

Would you recommend a law degree or concurrent degrees to prospective students? What would you say to a student considering earning these degrees? 

Perry Riggs: Although it would depend on your circumstances and goals, I would definitely recommend a law degree or concurrent degree. Not only is the legal knowledge you gain from law school helpful, but the legal training also dramatically improves your logical and analytical abilities, as well as your ability to think strategically in resolving issues and problems. 

Courtney Monteiro: I unquestionably and without hesitation would recommend that students that are able, take the time to pursue both degrees. I couldn’t tell you how many of my legal colleagues express to me how they should have taken the extra time to get their MBA. The addition of the skills that are developed as part of the MBA are an invaluable addition to any lawyers resume, and quite frankly develop a series of life skills that are valuable in and of themselves. In addition, and if that is not enough justification, being able to secure an MBA in one year rather than two as is typical, is incentive in and of itself.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Perry Riggs: I would say, if you are thinking about a legal career, do not take it too lightly. And, especially, do not make the decision based on simply wanting the title of an attorney. It is a difficult job and it requires a lot of work. But, at the same time, in my practice area of Indian law, you are involved with working with some of the brightest people and working on some interesting and difficult issues while pushing the cause of Indian tribes and Indian people. It has its own rewards.

In regards to the Indian legal program at ASU, it has expanded much further than when I was in law school. They are doing a lot of great work. I still see a number of people who were in the ILP program during my time at ASU and some of the work they are doing now is amazing. Due to our connection with the ILP, these people remain life-long friends and colleagues.  

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Miranda Cyr
Communications Aide, Indian Legal Program, ASU Law

ILP Alumni with Concurrent Degrees

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
Marlene Jones Ray (’97) is a business manager and philanthropist.

What is your current occupation and how long have you held that position? 

Theresa Rosier: Deputy General Counsel, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

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.

How have your concurrent MBA and JD degrees affected your career? Do you wish you had chosen a different field? 

Theresa 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 manner. 

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 previous work.

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.

In what ways do you use your knowledge of law in your career and everyday life? 

Theresa 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 do.

Kris Beecher (2L) is a current student pursuing his MBA and JD degrees,

Would you recommend a law degree or concurrent degrees to prospective students? What would you say to a student considering earning these degrees? 

Theresa 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 forward.

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.

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Miranda Cyr
Communications Aide, Indian Legal Program, ASU Law