The Indian Law Clinic has a contract with the Kalispel Tribe to provide civil and misdemeanor criminal services to Kalispel members. We represent tribal members in state court, federal court, and tribal court. The Indian Law Clinic also serves as public defender for people charged with crimes in Kalispel Tribal Court.
With guidance and supervision, students will represent clients in various cases, which may include family law, children’s rights, consumer law, misdemeanor criminal law, prisoners’ rights, civil rights, public entitlements, housing, estate planning, surrogate decision making, and health care. In addition to working on cases, students will meet two hours per week to learn and reflect on ethical issues, procedural law, substantive law, and skills.
All students will interview and counsel clients, research the legal basis for clients’ claims, investigate the factual basis for clients’ claims, develop a theory of each case, develop a strategic approach to each case, manage case information, and write advice letters to their clients.
Depending on specific case posture, students may draft legal documents, represent their clients in administrative hearings, engage in written discovery, conduct depositions, appear in court for uncontested and contested motion hearings, negotiate with opposing attorneys or parties, represent their clients in mediation or arbitration, prepare for trial, represent their clients at trial, write appellate briefs, or make appellate arguments. Please note that representing clients in state court requires limited admission to the Washington State Bar Association under the student practice rule (Rule 9). The student practice rule requires, among other things, completion of 60 credits of law study. Students do not need Rule 9 certification to appear in tribal court.
On completion of the class, students will have demonstrated:
- a beginning understanding of and respect for tribal sovereignty
- critical awareness of how poverty affects legal rights and access to justice
- the ability to engage in independent study and systematic inquiry into the rights and remedies implicated in our clients’ situations
- basic understanding of the substantive and procedural law necessary to competently represent their clients
- the ability to critically evaluate case theory and strategy
- the ability to handle uncertainty and ambiguity in relation to their clients’ cases
- the ability to interview and advise clients
- the ability to explain their cases succinctly and persuasively
- the ability to communicate complex and abstract ideas both orally and in writing in a coherent structured fashion in clear and direct English
- the independent learning ability required for continuing academic and professional development
- the ability to assess and reconcile ethical issues
- Evidence (Required to work on public defender cases)
- Professional Responsibility
- Federal Indian Law
- Criminal Procedure (Required to work on public defender cases)
3 to 6 credits per semester
Time Commitment: 60 semester hours per credit
Spring & Fall
3 credit students: 12 hours/week average
6 credit students: 24 hours/week average
3 credit students: 18 hours/week average
6 credit students: 36 hours/week average