The Columbia Law Native American Law Students Association is proud to present the 12th Annual Indian Law Writing Competition

The purpose of the competition is to recognize excellence in legal research and writing related to Indian law, actively encourage the development of writing skills of NNALSA members, and enhance substantive knowledge in the fields of Federal Indian Law, Tribal Law and traditional forms of governance. The competition is open to matriculated law students at any point in their law school career and regardless of race or tribal membership status. Eligible topics are Federal Indian law and policy, Tribal law and policy, International law and policy concerning indigenous peoples, and Comparative Law (i.e intertribal or government-to-government studies). Existing work is welcomed.

  • First Prize – $1000.00 – Sponsored by Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Endreson & Perry, LLP & Publication in the Columbia Journal of Race and Law
  • Second Prize – $500.00 – Sponsored by SNR Denton US LLP
  • Third Prize – $250.00 – Sponsored by Shanker & Kewenvoyouma, PLLC
  • The Federal Bar Association has donated registrations for each awardee to the 38th Annual Indian Law Conference. (Awardees are responsible for their own travel and lodging costs.)

All awardees will be recognized at the National NALSA yearly conference.

Submission Deadline: 5:00 pm EST, Friday January 18, 2013.
All submissions must be electronically submitted to

Visit the NNALSA Web Site at for official rules and submission form.

Breaking News: Navajo Nation Caravan Honored as Student Initiative of the Year

We are thrilled to announce that the Navajo Nation Spring Break Caravan has been awarded Student Initiative of the Year at this evening’s Student Justice Initiative’s Annual Honors Dinner.

NALSA teamed up with DNA People’s Legal Services to put students to work in the Navajo Nation (Arizona).  Students provided legal information and basic legal services at senior centers, including the drafting of wills, powers of attorney, and advanced medical directives.

Many thanks to the following students for their service and commitment to furthering NALSA’s mission:

Allison Neswood
Natasha Bronn
Jason Hipp
Melissa Saldana
Jeff Crough
JoAnn Kintz
Nancy Cruz
Terra Hittson
Andrea Johnson
Caitlin Smith
Gabriella Barbosa

2012-2013 Executive Board

It is our pleasure to announce the 2012-2013 NALSA Board:

President: JoAnn Kintz
Vice President: Terra Hittson
Treasurer: Bill Nahill
Secretary: Ian MacDougall
Recruitment Director: Precious Benally
Alumni Relations Director: Michelle Luo
Fundraising Director: Natasha Bronn
Social Events Directors: Shefali Singh & Caroline Stover
Communications Director: Carly Hudson
Legal Outreach Director: Meagan Burrows
Academic Chair: Katie Benedict

Good luck to all — we know you have some fantastic ideas for next year. Many thanks to the outgoing Board, especially President Jenny Patten ’13 for her outstanding leadership and dedication.

NALSA Moot Court Team Wows in Hawai’i

Please join us in offering our congratulations to the NALSA Moot Court Team!

At the end of February, Columbia Law School participated, along with 56 teams from 26 schools, in the National Native American Law Students Association Moot Court competition hosted by the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.

Shefali Singh and Caroline Stover ’14 won Third Place overall in the competition. In addition, JoAnn Kintz ’14 and Ian MacDougall ’14 advanced to the round of 8, and Kathryn Benedict ’14 and Michelle Luo ’14 advanced to the round of 16.

Also competing on Columbia’s team were Meagan Burrows, Benjamin Gossels, Carly Hudson, Bill Nahill, Arlene Ortiz-Leytte and Natasha Reyes (all ’14). The team was coached by Frank Holleman ’12, Amy Conners ’13, Jason Hipp ’13, Allison Neswood ’13 and Jenny Patten ’13.

The teams wish to give a special thanks to Professor Carla Fredericks, Professor Philip Genty, Professor Steve McSloy and Professor J. Kehaulani Kauanui as well as all the other professors and school administrators who helped make this achievement possible.

Columbia NALSA and the Columbia NALSA Moot Court Team is supported by generous contributions from Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Endreson & Perry, LLP (Silver Sponsor); Alexander, Berkey, Williams & Weathers, LLP; Douglas B.L. Endreson; Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP; Rothstein, Donatelli, Hughes, Dahlstrom; Schoenburg & Bienvenu LLP; Steptoe & Johnson LLP (Silver Sponsors) and Crowe & Dunlevy (Associate Sponsor).

The Moot Court Program at Columbia Law School is made possible by a generous contribution from Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP.

NALSA raises awareness about the need for Indian law cases in the law school canon

On Thursday, February 16, NALSA will host a discussion about the role of federal Indian law in the law school canon.

Professor Judith Resnik, Professor Trevor Morrison, Justice Barbara Anne Smith (Chickasaw Nation) and Judge Michael Smith (Sac and Fox Nation) will address how Indian law cases can illuminate issues such as federalism, sovereignty, and deference in inter-court relationships. With Professors Alexandra Carter, Bert Huang, Olatunde Johnson, and Susan Sturm, they will explore the relationship between Federal Indian law and Federal Courts and other law school courses. Columbia NALSA will leverage this discussion in order to further its mission to raise awareness among the student body about the importance and need for practitioners to engage with Indian law.

Thank you to the 2011-12 sponsors of Columbia NALSA and the Columbia NALSA Moot Court Team

Columbia NALSA and the Columbia NALSA Moot Court Team would like to thank the following sponsors for their generous support:

Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Endreson & Perry, LLP

Alexander, Berkey, Williams & Weathers, LLP
Douglas B.L. Endreson
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
Rothstein, Donatelli, Hughes, Dahlstrom, Schoenburg & Bienvenu LLP
Steptoe & Johnson LLP

Crowe & Dunlevy

The 2011-12 NALSA Moot Court Team will be representing Columbia Law School later this month in the national competition.

Sponsorship opportunities remain.  For more information, contact Columbia NALSA Fundraising Director Jason Hipp at


Upcoming Native American Pro Bono Projects

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.

Congratulations to the 2011-2012 Moot Court Team

The all-star team has been selected. The following Columbia Law students will participate in the 20th Annual National Native American Law Students Association Moot Court Competition, which will be held in Honolulu, Hawai’i from February 24 through 25:

Joann Kintz
Ian MacDougall
Michelle Luo
Meagan Burrows
William Nahill
Arlene Ortiz-Leyette
Shefali Singh
Benjamin Gossels
Natasha Reyes
Caroline Stover
Carly Hudson
Kathryn Benedict
Adelle Fontanet (3L)
Ezra Corral (3L)

Book your tickets now if you would like to support the team! Alternatively, if you’d prefer to stay put, you can read more about the upcoming competition here.  Last year, Columbia Law School had the honor of hosting the NNALSA competition.  (If you’d like to refresh your memory, feel free to read more about last year’s team here.)  But we are happy to pass the hosting torch to the University of Hawai’i, and even happier to announce this year’s phenomenal competitors.

A hearty congratulations to them all!

Columbia's Native American Law Student Association