Tribal Lawyer Certificate
The Tribal Lawyer Certificate program is designed to ensure that law students aspiring to a career representing Indian nations have the skills necessary to appreciate and strengthen the unique nature of Indigenous tribal legal systems.
Effectively representing Indian nations and tribes requires an understanding of the laws, history and policies that affect them. For more than 200 years, the United States has pursued conflicting policies for dealing with the Indigenous peoples located within its borders. As a result, there exists an extremely complicated body of federal, state and tribal law that affects every aspect of Indigenous life.
The complexity of "Indian law," and the lack of specific programs designed to educate graduates as to the unique legal and cultural needs of Indian people, has created a situation in which lawyers representing Indian tribes place too great an emphasis on state law and federal law when dealing with Indian nations. As a result, these lawyers may unconsciously be contributing to the weakening of unique tribal legal and governance traditions by recommending the adoption of tribal laws and policies founded upon the Anglo-American legal and political traditions rather than the unique traditions of their tribal clients.