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Indian Law Program

Indian Law Home

A lack of Indian law courses and a dearth of training opportunities have created a shortage of lawyers who are qualified to serve the needs of tribal communities throughout the country. To provide Native communities with competent legal support for both traditional sovereignty concerns and contemporary issues such as gaming, economic development, natural resources, water rights, and child custody, Lewis & Clark Law School has made an institutional commitment to provide students with comprehensive training in the field of Indian law.

Why Indian Law?

Because Indian law touches on every aspect of law while retaining its own unique features, you will likely encounter it sometime during your legal career. And, in the areas of environmental and natural resources law, family law, business law, and criminal law, to name a few, Indian law presents special challenges. There are numerous federal, state, and tribal jurisdictional issues to untangle.

Indian law practitioners work in many capacities. They may work directly for a tribe as counsel or judge, or they may work for an outside firm that specializes in Indian law. There are also jobs at all levels of government from tribal to state and federal. Many nonprofit and special interest organizations deal with Indian law.

The Program

Lewis & Clark Law School provides a solid academic platform for advancement in the practice of Indian law and its diverse specialties. The law school incorporates the best aspects of classroom-based learning with many opportunities for the development of practical legal skills.  The Indian law Summer program brings esteemed visiting professors while offering both fundamental law courses as well as those addressing contemporary issues. The law school’s emphasis on environmental issues as well as business reflects the ongoing development issues that face many tribes across the country. Our comprehensive curriculum produces graduates prepared to successfully face the challenges at the forefront of Indian law practice.

Quinault Allottees: Nelson D. Terry Scholarship

A scholarship for students committed to environmental issues and to the success of their fellow law students. The scholarship is a gift from the Quinault Indian Allottees Association from the interest on a large judgment in a prolonged and complex lawsuit.

Academic Enhancement Program

The law school has long understood that the lack of ethnic and minority law students nationwide demonstrates a need for innovative and comprehensive programs to help minorities achieve population parity in the legal profession. To bridge cultural differences that may exist between ethnic minority law students and the legal academic and professional communities, and to address academic issues before and during law school, Lewis & Clark provides interested students with the Academic Enhancement Program. The program includes people of all ethnic backgrounds who may have experienced cultural or socioeconomic barriers to education. This voluntary program includes an eight-day Summer Institute, four Centering Sessions, and Skills Building Sessions throughout the first year, and an eight-week Bar Support Program for graduates.