Columbia NALSA

Columbia's Native American Law Student Association

Upcoming Native American Pro Bono Projects

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This spring, NALSA is proud to announce a record-setting THREE pro bono Spring Break Caravans which will work with Native American communities.  From March 12-16, 2Ls and 3Ls at CLS will travel around the country performing volunteer legal work.  Here is just a brief introduction to those exciting projects.

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NALSA is teaming up with DNA People’s Legal Services by sponsoring students to work with the organization in the Navajo Nation (Arizona).  Volunteers will provide legal information and basic legal services at senior centers, including the drafting of wills, powers of attorney, and advanced medical directives. In addition, volunteers will assist litigators with research and writing.

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Columbia Law School has also designed an exciting project in conjunction with the Mediation Clinic to conduct peacemaking circles on the Chickasaw Nation reservation in Oklahoma. Peacemaking is a traditional Native American method of dispute resolution where the emphasis is on healing relationships in the community.  Peacemaking plays a critical role in the tribal criminal justice system, tribal social justice, and tribal civil disputes.  Most importantly, peacemaking is crucial to tribal sovereignty and self-determination. Students participating in this project will receive training in both peacemaking and mediation techniques.  Students will then apply their training in peacemaking during a week long stay on the Chickasaw Nation reservation over Spring Break.  They will work with Chickasaw Supreme Court Justice Barbara Smith to practice circle keeping in real cases.  Students will also participate in training tribal members in real-world conflict resolution techniques.

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And, finally, the Midwest Society will be sponsoring a caravan to Wisconsin Judicare, Inc., in Wausau, WI Involved students will travel and work with Judicare staff attorneys to conduct a series of Will Clinics for American Indians residing throughout Wisconsin. To prepare for the Clinics, students will receive training on Indian Law, Basic Estate Planning, the American Indian Probate Reform Act, and the procedures and processes for the Clinics. During the Clinics, students will travel with one or more staff attorneys to different reservations or tribal communities in Wisconsin to conduct a day long Will Clinic. Students interested in criminal law will also have an opportunity to spend one day assisting with a criminal law clinic for the Menominee Tribal Court.

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We are looking forward to hearing back from the students who participate about their experiences.  If you are a 2L or a 3L who would like to join them, there is still time to apply!  Find out more information here.

Written by C. Giaimo

February 3rd, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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