This year, a group of students from Columbia Law School’s NALSA Chapter traveled to Wisconsin to over spring break to do pro bono estate planning work for tribal members with Wisconsin Judicare. This was the seventh consecutive year that Columbia NALSA and Wisconsin Judicare partnered to provide legal services on reservations in Wisconsin. Every year the caravan has proven to be a valuable experience both for the students and the clients they serve; this year was no exception.
Volunteers spent four days in the field under the supervision of Judicare attorneys, working with the Ho-Chunk Nation in both Black River Falls and Wisconsin Dells, the Oneida Nation in Oneida, and the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians in Bowler. These tribes span a varied geographic area of Wisconsin. Students met with tribal members individually to discuss their estate planning needs and prepare the relevant documents, before receiving final review of the documents from a Judicare attorney; clients left the caravan site with an executed, witnessed, and valid final will. The six student volunteers were able to produce approximately ninety wills and many additional powers of attorney over the course of the caravan!
Columbia sent six teams to the competition and all six demonstrated phenomenal oral advocacy skill and a mastery of the complicated issues involved in this year’s problem. James Butler & Kamilah Moore, Helin Azizoglu & Victoria Xie, and Edward Smith & Hilary Rosenthal all gave truly excellent performances in the two opening rounds of the competition.
Particular congratulations go to the three teams that advanced past the first two rounds of competition. Clara Kent & Heidi Guzman advanced to the round of 16, Agatha Erickson & Ty Carleton advanced to the round of 8, and Lydia Cash & Juliana Bennington advanced to the round of four coming in third place overall! Lydia Cash also received the G. William Rice Best Oral Advocate award for receiving the highest scores from judges in the entire competition!
The NALSA team would like to thank the many past NALSA participants who volunteered to judge and assist the team this year as well as faculty member Christine Swanick for her dedication to NALSA through LPW and for traveling to California to watch the team compete and faculty member Steven McSloy for taking the time to guest judge practices and offer his insight into the world of Federal Indian Law.
Once again, congratulations to the 2017 NALSA Moot Court Team.
Members of Columbia’s NALSA traveled to South Dakota to volunteer at the polls.
Members of Columbia NALSA visited the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation to donate supplies and show support.
Columbia NALSA hosted a group of Yale students to discuss the law school admissions process and NALSA events and initiatives.
Congratulations to the newest members of Columbia’s NALSA Moot Court Team!
In honor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, on Monday, October 10, Columbia Law School’s NALSA chapter hosted a screening of “PAYA: The Water Story of the Paiute.” PAYA documents the history of Paiute Native Americans who constructed and managed 60-miles of intricate irrigation systems in Owens Valley for millennia long before Los Angeles secured its largest source of water through modern engineering a century ago. After the Indian War of 1863, surviving Paiute returned to the Valley from the Eastern Sierra and White Mountains to find their ancient waterworks taken over by white settlers. Today, 150-years later, the Paiute continue the fight to save their waterworks, which are remnant in the Owens Valley landscape. PAYA (“water” in Paiute) stands to recover Paiute water culture and history through the powerful medium of documentary film. For more information on the film, please go to http://payathemovie.com/.
NALSA tours the National Museum of the American Indian as a part of 2016 Columbia Law School orientation.
On Wednesday, April 20, Columbia Law School’s NALSA chapter hosted Professor Barbara Creel and Professor John LaVelle from the University of New Mexico School of Law. Professors Creel and LaVelle filed briefs as amici curiae in the case of U.S. v. Bryant, heard by the Supreme Court on April 19, 2016. This case involves Native American Rights within the criminal justice system and will determine whether the use of valid uncounseled tribal-court misdemeanor convictions in a domestic violence case violates the Constitution.
The event was co-sponsored by The Domestic Violence Project, American Constitution Society, and the Columbia Law ACLU.