Tribal Judicial Support Clinic
Students are assigned research projects from participating tribal courts. They provide research assistance to tribal court judges and personnel in projects that range from tribal code development, legal research and drafting of legal memoranda and judicial orders. The clinic is open to students that have taken Federal Indian Law; Sovereignty, Self-Determination and the Indigenous Nations; or Native American Natural Resources Law. This clinic also satisfies the Tribal Lawyer Certificate Program internship requirement.
Gaining experience, confidence through Tribal Judicial Support Clinic
Zach Boggan, L'15
Third-year law student Zach Boggan developed an interest in Indian law when he took a course on the subject and participated in the Native American Law Students Association moot court program. “It can be hard to find a firm practicing Indian law in a meaningful way,” Boggan said. “That’s what drove me to the Tribal Judicial Support Clinic, to get a practical application of Indian law.”
Boggan developed a guardianship code for a tribe relocating to Kansas. He researched codes of other states and tribes, then created a new one that accommodated his client’s circumstances yet still followed the letter of the law.
“Guardianship is very important to Indian tribes because the federal government has gone so far as to forcibly remove Indian children from their families and place them with white families to assimilate them to white culture,” Boggan said. “A guardianship code allows tribes to keep their children in a way that not only serves the child’s interests, but serves the tribe’s interests in terms of allowing them to keep their culture, to keep their tribe together.”
Boggan plans to move back home to Tennessee to launch his legal career. He’s confident that his clinical experience has prepared him for life beyond law school, both because of his exposure to a specialized area of the law and because of the hands-on experience he gained. “Whenever you mention Indian law, it’s pretty impressive to a lot of practitioners because it’s so unknown,” Boggan said. “Everyone knows about contracts, torts, business associations, but hardly anyone knows about Indian law. If an attorney has any connection to it, it stands out.”
No application is required. Students enter the clinic by following standard enrollment procedures for:
- LAW 998 Tribal Judicial Support Clinic
- Students are assigned research projects from participating tribal courts as arranged by the instructor. Students provide research assistance to tribal court personnel in an array of projects that range from tribal code development, legal research and drafting of legal memoranda and judicial orders. Prerequisite: Federal Indian Law; Sovereignty, Self-Determination, and the Indigenous Nations; or Native American Natural Resources. LEC.
The class is not offered for the Spring 2020 semester.