The Indian Legal Program at ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law is proud to host the 2019 Navajo Nation Law CLE Conference on Friday, October 25, 2019.
The Navajo Nation Law CLE
Conference will offer a one day survey of Navajo law and ethics. This
conference is ideal training for attorneys practicing on and near the Navajo
Nation, tribal court advocates, tribal court practitioners, tribal court
prosecutors, tribal court defenders, tribal council members, Indian law
attorneys, tribal liaisons, government legislators, Navajo Nation Bar members,
law students, as well as teachers/professors and students of American Indian
The Conference Planning Committee welcomes proposals for 30-minute, 60-minute or 90-minute conference presentations or panel discussions. To submit a presentation proposal, please send the following information by June 17, 2019:
Presenter(s) name, title, contact information, bio
Title of the proposed presentation
A brief (one paragraph) description of the presentation, how the presentation relates to Navajo Law, and a description of the presentation format (example: lecture with Q&A, panel discussion, etc.)
A brief description of what will be or could be distributed to attendees as materials
A two-sentence summary of the presentation for the conference program, if accepted
Length of presentation
Would this session qualify for Navajo Ethics?
Participants will be notified of
their selection by July 22, 2019.
Please submit your abstract
here: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject:
Navajo Law CLE Proposal
We are so much stronger when we know effective work is being done so close to home and our ILP faculty are truly instrumental in their work and with their tribes.
Professor Patty Ferguson-Bohnee (Pointe-au-Chien) has been advocating for her tribe to be
federally recognized for years.
Beside the 573 federally recognized tribes, Pointe-au-Chien is one of the
nearly 300 who have not been permitted that status according to federal
criteria. Federal recognition allows for self-government and other permits that
are restricted from federally unrecognized tribes.
Ferguson-Bohnee is featured in an MSNBC video that discusses the need for
tribal recognition, which Pointe-au-Chien has been pursuing for over 20 years.
Watch the full video here.
In The Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma: Resilience through Adversity, Professor
Robert Miller (Eastern Shawnee) wrote the chapter, “Tribal, Federal, and
State Laws Impacting the Eastern Shawnee Tribe, 1812 to 1945,” in which he
discussed the legal and constitutional history of his tribe.
Despite the distinct laws that separated the Eastern Shawnee Tribe into at
least five separate nations in the 18th century, the Mixed Band of Senecas and
Shawnees “operated under established governmental leaders, laws, governing
mechanisms and traditional practices” in the early 19th century.
While going through the history when the U.S. government began to take over,
Miller notes every important legal development and act made by the tribal
governments and the federal government that has been recorded.
“The Eastern Shawnee Tribe has governed itself and its people since time
immemorial,” Miller said in his chapter. “The Eastern Shawnee people are
citizens of three political entities: the United States, the states in which
they are domiciled and the Eastern Shawnee Tribe. The Eastern Shawnee nation
continues today to exercise its inherent sovereign powers and to govern its
territory, its citizens and all who enter its jurisdiction.”
Professor Trevor Reed (Hopi) has conducted extensive research about his tribe’s
struggle to reclaim culture from museums, archives, universities, government
institutions, and more.
In his upcoming publication Reclaiming Ownership of
the Indigenous Voice: The Hopi Music Repatriation Project in the Oxford
Handbook of Musical Repatriation, Reed discusses his efforts to
reclaim Hopi ceremonial song recordings and their associated intellectual
property rights back to the Hopi Tribe.
In his repatriation work, he poses the following
questions: “is repatriation best conceived through an appeal to
property principles, or are there other principles of ownership and circulation
on which repatriation might be more effectively based? And, if Indigenous
principles should be the basis for the ownership and circulation of the
archived Indigenous voice, to what extent should repatriating institutions be engaged
in Indigenous “community politics” as part of their repatriation efforts?”
More on this publication will be coming soon.
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.
This is a great opportunity for students to learn about law school, admissions criteria, LSAT prep, and more. Registration is free, food and lodging is provided, and a limited number of LSAT Prep courses will be available for participating students. It does not matter which school the student wishes to attend: these sessions are geared to help all students.
Date: June 26-30, 2019 Location: UC Berkeley School of Law Boalt Hall, 225 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA 94720 (map) For more information, visit: law.asu.edu/pipelinetolaw Deadline: May 1, 2019 Questions? Contact Kate Rosier at 480-965-6204
Read about current law students who completed one of the Pipeline to Law Workshops and highly encourage others to register and participate. Read their stories.
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.
With this summer’s Pipeline to Law Workshop quickly approaching, the ILP reached out to previous attendees of the program for their advice and opinions of the workshop. If their testimonials interest you, apply here.
Five current Indian Legal Program 2L students, Kris Beecher (Navajo), Candace Begody (Navajo), Janet Bill (Chukchansi), Brian Garcia (Pascua Yaqui), and Irvin Williams (Navajo), give their reflections on their experience on the Native American Pipeline to Law Initiative. Incoming ILP 1L, Allison Gloss also shared her experience.
Kris Beecher: “One of the most beneficial things I did to get ready to apply for law school was attend the Pipeline to Law workshop. With no one in my family ever having been to law school, I had to look to outside resources to get the facts on applying. All the facts and more were made available to me, and the mentorship and advice from lawyers, law school students, and faculty were crucial in applying and being accepted to law school. By attending the Pipeline to Law workshop my LSAT score was better, my personal statement was stronger, and my application to my dream school was the best that it could be. I would recommend any Native American students interested in pursuing their dream of going to law school to take the time to get the facts and support, and attend the Pipeline to Law workshop.”
Candace Begody: “The Pipeline to Law Program helped me to plan out a timeline that worked for me that would increase my chances of getting into a law school. I sat down with people who sat on admissions teams who have me advice on how to make my application stronger but also gave me insight into what schools were looking for to make me a stronger candidate. The program was truly instrumental in my law school admissions process – they made it realistic and worked with me to make it a smooth process.”
Janet Bill: “My experience with the Native American Pipeline to Law program was beyond my expectations. I would not have been able to navigate the law school application process without this program. I was able to create a more competitive application and get accepted to the law school of my choice.”
Brian Garcia: “The pipeline program established the essential critical foundation to be considered a viable Native law school applicant. The program helped empower and truly prepare me for the realities of the process.”
Irvin Williams: “I participated in the workshop that was held at Michigan State University in the fall of 2016. I appreciated the program paying for my room. I also enjoyed meeting other law school applicants since we were all in the same boat.
I found value in the Indian professors talking about Indian Law and the participants being able to ask them questions about anything. A summary on the application process was informative. A quick strategy on LSAT taking was insightful. Overall, the program kept me motivated on my Law School endeavor.
Take it sooner rather than later, so that you have ample time to prepare your law school application and prep for the LSAT.”
Allison Gloss: “I am so thankful that I was able to participate in the Pipeline to Law program because it made me excited to apply to law school. The program leaders are very approachable and know all of the ins and outs of the law school admissions process. They tell you everything you need to know to get into law school and what to do once you are there, and they are available for questions if you need clarification on anything. I attended the Seattle program and it was fabulous to be able to explore a new city for a week, I even made friends there that I still keep in touch with to this day!”
Additionally, four first year and current students enrolled in other law schools benefited from the Pipeline to Law Workshop. MacArthur L. Stant II (University of New Mexico), Krista Thompson (University of New Mexico),Cassondra Church (Michigan State University) and Grace Carson (University of California, Los Angeles) attended the Pipeline to Law Initiative.
MacArthur L. Stant II: “My experience with the Pipeline to Law Workshop was incredible. My complete experience was so refreshing and meaningful. There were so many positive relationships that I made at the workshop. First, there were the other participants. To meet with so many like-minded Natives Americans who were interested in law school provided me with a support group that continued with me throughout the law school application process. Then the workshop coordinators were true mentors, who not only worked in the law school admission field they were also Native American as well. The atmosphere was a welcoming and cordial one. I had thought about applying to law school for a long time and had serious doubts about it, my PTL Workshop experience was the encouragement and confidence that I needed to realize that I could get into law school.
The information that I found most important about the PTL Workshop was the law school application timeline. Being made aware of the timeline encompassed all of the application parts and how to most effectively approach the law school application process. By using the application timeline that the PTL workshop presented I understood when to take the LSAT, when to get recommendations, when to write a personal statement, and most importantly when to submit an application. The PTL Workshop showed me that using an application timeline would result in my most competitive law school application.
In you are interested in applying to law school, there is nothing I recommend more that attending the PTL Workshop. The PTL Workshop was able to show me what I should do in order for me to have the best chance possible of being accepted into law school. Even though I thought I understood the college admissions process, law school admissions require a different approach. I was unaware of the nature of a law school application and the PTL workshop put me on a track that was clear and accurate to guide me through this complex process. I know that I needed help to create a competitive law school application and the PTL Workshop made law school a real possibility for me. What was so assuring was that the coordinators and presenters were also Native American, and I knew that they had been where I wanted to go, and they wanted to make law school possible for me. I whole heartily recommend and encourage you to attend the PTL Workshop, if you are interested in law school this is the best step you can take.”
Krista Thompson: “My experience at the PTL Workshop was intense, but invaluable to my law school admissions process. During the workshop I received amazing feedback that saved me so much time on my personal statement. The workshop also acquainted me with the admissions timeline. I had no idea how much work and timing the process required.
The most important aspect of the PTL was the personal statement workshop. I was able to get feedback from 3 different perspectives, and I saved so much time on editing and figuring out what my schools wanted.
I always recommend interested students to attend the workshop. There are so many aspects to the admissions process, it’s too easy to get behind or lost if you don’t understand your strengths and what law schools are looking for.”
Cassondra Church: “I attended the Pipeline to Law Workshop in August 2016 at Michigan State University College of Law a year after I graduated with my undergraduate degree. At this point in my life I had already been accepted the Masters of Social Work (MSW) program at Michigan State University, but was still interested in attending law school. At the time, I thought that I wanted to participate in the dual MSW/JD program, however, I did not fully understand how to navigate the law school admission process. Attending the Pipeline to Law Workshop was a tremendously beneficial opportunity. In the Pipeline to Law Workshop I learned about the law school admission process, what the law school experience was like, how to pay for law school, strategies for doing well on the LSAT, and career opportunities for Native American attorneys. Not only did I gain a plethora of knowledge and skills, but I also had the pleasure of meeting several professors that specialized in Indigenous law and other aspiring Native American Law students. This Workshop helped me realize that law school was attainable and gave me the necessary tools and information needed to begin my law school journey.
The information that I found the most helpful were the presentations on the law school admissions process. The law school admissions process was nothing like I had ever experienced before and was extremely intimidating. When I attended the Pipeline to Law Workshop I understood some of the components of the application process, however I was unsure how they all fit together. The Pipeline to Law Workshop not only helped me understand the process, but it also provided me with other helpful tools such as an admission timeline, tips for writing a competitive personal statement, LSAT practice, and examples of what law school admission representatives were looking for in applications.
I would highly recommend Pipeline to Law Workshop to anyone interested in law school. This Workshop provided me with several valuable tools and resources that helped me throughout my law school journey. The Pipeline to Law Workshop provided insight on topics ranging from the application process to finding a career as an attorney.”
Grace Carson: “The PTL workshop was a great experience. It was a wonderful opportunity not only to find the resources I needed for the law school application process, but in finding a community of Native students and adults in the same process as I am. It was a great opportunity to find a supportive community in the law school application process.
There was so much useful information given at the workshop, it’s hard to say what was most important. Honestly, without the workshop, I would have been lost about the law school application process. I think the two most helpful parts of the workshop was: 1) The LSAT prep course the program paid for, and 2) The personal statement building. Without taking the LSAT prep course, I would not have been able to prepare myself as efficiently and probably wouldn’t have gotten the score I did. The personal statement building made me aware of what law school admissions are looking for in these essays, and how to write the most compelling statement possible.
Even if they’re not sure that law school is right for them, this workshop gives people an idea about what law school will be like. And if they are certain or decide to attend law school, the workshop outlines the entire law school application process and exactly how to prepare for it. The PTL Workshop was essential in my acceptance to UCLA School of Law for next fall.”
There is still time to apply for the Pipeline to Law Workshop at University of California Berkeley Law. Attendees will participate in a 5-day workshop that helps assist students like those above to prepare for their careers and studies. Apply before May 1 here.
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,” Sarah
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?
Chia 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?
Chia 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?
Chia 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?
Chia 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.
ILP Alum Ken Truitt has had experience in various legal positions since he graduated from ASU Law in 1992. Now working as the chief operating officer of Tribal Operations for the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Tribes of Alaska, he oversees most of the Tribe’s programs. The ILP asked Ken to share some advice to current students as an insight into what helped lead him on his journey after graduation.
Q: What is your advice for current students?
A: “Several things come to mind. First, and not necessarily legally related but it could really help you map out your career after school: The Gallup organization has done decades worth of deep research into what makes good leaders good. The research has led to several books, perhaps the best known is “Strengths Based Leadership.” Along with the book is an online assessment tool that you get access to for buying the book. The tool is a leadership strength diagnostic survey and is remarkably accurate at assessing your particular leadership and vocational strengths. I wished I had come across this as a young professional starting out. It would have helped me understand why some courses and areas in the law seem to come easy to me and why some did not. Having a keen sense of your unique strengths early will help you in every job interview you get called for and it will help you analyze job announcements and see that some of them are not for you.
Second, recognize that law school primarily teaches you to be a life-long learner. The law changes every day and when you are out practicing it will not be the same as it was when you were in school. Again, this is a strategic advantage because not all other professional disciplines teach life-long learning as a component of the pedagogy. This absolute need to staying fresh and sharp is a competitive advantage lawyers have over other professionals especially if you find yourself transitioning into non-legal executive roles.
Third, learn how to transition. I mentioned life-long learning, here’s another way it can really help you throughout your career. Sometimes when you get into other non-legal roles, like management, what makes you a good lawyer is not automatically going to make you great in your new non-legal role. You will need to have an awareness of this, analyze the new role’s demands and commit to learning the new required skills and learning what parts of being a lawyer will hamper your performance there (here’s a hint, nobody likes being cross-examined, not on the stand and especially not in the workplace, ever).
Finally, learn how to network and network relentlessly. Some of the bumps I mentioned earlier could have been much more smooth had I recognized the need to network. Networking used to seem to me a smarmy exercise that overly ambitious and insincere people did to put themselves first in all circumstances. And as an introvert by nature I recoiled from it as well. But networking is as simple as taking an interest in people, and then staying in touch and connected with them. Sadly, I came to this realization late and I am working on improving in this area.”
Q: Is there anything you’ve learned after graduating that you wished you learned in class?
A: “When I was working in the state Attorney General’s Office I was lucky enough to attend one of the regional trial training programs from the National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA). The NITA program is an 11 – 14 day trial and lecture program where you get intense trial advocacy classroom lectures for the first few days along with mock opening statements and closing arguments. And then given material to prepare and present a case before a live jury in a real courtroom with a real judge. Early on, the mock statements are videoed and your peers and instructors, who are all trial lawyers, critique your video performance. Being forced to watch yourself and listen to your peers’ critique is an amazingly effective way to detect vocal and body language faults and correct them.
Being forced to prepare for a trial brings home all the law school work like nothing I had experienced prior. The rules of evidence and civil/criminal procedure, discovery review all come into focus in that 11-14 day time frame. I was surprised as I moved into the [general counsel] role how much the NITA training increased my competency in a non-trial role. I was able to see almost immediately evidentiary priorities as issues presented themselves that could potentially lead to litigation. There was something to having to go through discovery and find evidence to meet the burden of proof on every element of the case, and then present that case convincingly that brought all disciplines of law into sharp focus. Having had that, I could spot issues and prioritize them much more quickly than before I had the training.
I didn’t participate in any clinical programs while at school and I don’t recall how robust the trial clinic programs were when I was at ASU, but I wished I had availed myself of whatever was available.”
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.”