September 14, 2020

The Obstacles of Being a Native Law Student: How Attorneys Can Help Overcome These Obstacles

Julia A. Giffin

The number of Native attorneys and law students has grown over the years. See Philip S. Deloria, The American Indian Law Center: An Informal History, 24 N. M. Law Rev. 285, 291 (1994); see also The Pursuit of Inclusion: An In-Depth Exploration of the Experiences and Perspectives of Native American Attorneys in the Legal Profession, National Native American Bar Association (2015) at 10. This has led to increases in presence of Natives, Native culture, and Native issues at law schools. While law schools continue making efforts to improve their capacity for recruiting and supporting their Native students, major gaps remain in the diversity, inclusivity, and support of Native law students. The National Native American Law Students Association (National NALSA) released “The Petition for Diverse, Inclusive, and Supportive Law Schools” at the end of 2019, calling for law schools to take their efforts to a new level. Along with the petition, National NALSA developed a classification system to recognize “Native Friendly Law Schools” that are making genuine progress in meeting the ten standards presented in the petition. These standards include representation of Natives at all levels and providing the resources necessary for success, among many other important standards. In addition to a survey for current students and recent graduates to give input on success of their institutions. 

The Main Goals of the National NALSA Petition: Diversity, Inclusivity, and Support

The Main Goals of the National NALSA Petition: Diversity, Inclusivity, and Support

JGI/Jamie Grill // Getty Images

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