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Indian Legal Program

The Indian Legal Program (ILP) was established in 1988 to provide legal education, generate scholarship in the area of Indian law, and undertake public service to tribal governments. The ILP trains students to effectively engage the representation of Native peoples and seeks to promote an understanding of the differences between the legal systems of Indian Nations and those of the state and federal governments. 

Today, the ILP is one of the best Native law program in the nation. Graduates are working at all levels of tribal, state, and federal government, as well as in private practice. ILP provides a unique set of academic and clinical opportunities for students, and is committed to maintaining strong partnerships with American Indian Nations and other Native governments and organizations.

Students can participate in many programs and projects, including:

  • Indian Law Certificate—awarded to students who finish 21 hours of relevant curriculum, write a substantial paper, and complete practical work in the Indian Legal Clinic.
  • Rosette LLP, American Indian Economic Development Program—provides an innovative and challenging curriculum for students; hosts annual conferences for students, attorneys, tribal leaders, tribal citizens, policy makers, entrepreneurs, developers, and financial advisors that focus on tribal economic development; creates a community outreach component. National conferences and lectures—top scholars and attorneys are invited to present cutting-edge legal issues in Indian country.
  • Native Vote Election Protection Project—allows students to share information about individual voting rights.
  • Tribal Court Trial Skills Program—an intensive week of training for tribal court advocates.
  • ILP Pathway to Law—invites students and attorneys to assist in community outreach, mentorship, and pre-law advising to help improve access to justice in tribal communities.

The ILP is preeminent among national programs for providing unique opportunities and experiences to its students; placing graduates in the practice of law, partnering with American Indian Nations and other Native governments and organizations, contributing to Indian Country, and providing superior teaching and Indian legal scholarship.

Academic Programs

Students in the ILP are able to customize their learning to their needs. Besides being able to earn a JD, students can earn an Indian Law Certificate.

The LLM in Tribal Policy, Law & Government program gives those who already have a JD or its equivalent an opportunity to increase their skills and knowledge, specifically in the area of Indian Law. 

For those who do not wish to practice law, but have a need or interest in tribal law, the MLS in Tribal Law provides students with the basics of law, but also allows them to choose some of their classes in order to gain the tribal law knowledge they desire. 

Learn more about Indian Law at ASU Law.

Indian Legal Clinic

The Indian Legal Clinic (ILC) provides law students with an opportunity to participate in real cases dealing with native peoples and Indian issues. Under faculty supervision, students have the opportunity to work in tribal courts handling criminal prosecutions and defense actions; representing individuals in civil actions; working on federal policy issues affecting Native people, such as federal recognition; and undertaking tribal legal development projects, such as drafting tribal code provisions and court rules for Indian tribes.

Native American Law Students Association (NALSA)

The ASU Chapter of NALSA is a large and active group of Native and non-Native law students. NALSA is committed to promoting the understanding of Native American cultures and legal issues affecting indigenous people. NALSA organizes community service activities, social activities, and mentorships. The student mentorships provide incoming students with academic support, advice, and friendship. The chapter is an active member of the National NALSA organization, competes in the Annual National NALSA moot court competition, and co-sponsors the ILP/NALSA graduation celebration.

Advisory Council

The ILP has assembled an outstanding Advisory Council to ensure the long-term relevance and value of the program. The council assists with the ILP’s continued growth and development to make sure the program maintains its stature as an innovative academic program that values the cultures and communities of Indian students. The advisory council is comprised of a group of individuals, each with diverse experiences in dealing with Indian communities. 

  •  The Honorable William C. Canby, Jr., Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit  
  • Judith M. Dworkin, Managing Partner, Sacks Tierney PA
  • Tana Fitzpatrick, Assistant General Counsel, Gila River Indian Community
  • Jennifer Giff, Assistant General Counsel, Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community
  • Marnie Hodahkwen, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona
  • Peter Larson, Partner, Lewis & Roca  
  • The Honorable Thomas LeClaire, Judge, Superior Court of Arizona, Maricopa County 
  • Roric Massey, City Attorney, City of Goodyear
  • Robert Rosette, Founder and Managing Partner,  Rosette, LLP
  • Mary W. Shirley, Attorney/Advisor, US Department of Housing & Urban Development


"Both in the classroom and beyond, ASU Law gave me the background and support necessary to start and nurture a career working on legal and policy issues at a national level."  

Charles Galbraith
Class of 2006
Attorney, Kilpatrick Townsend

“The ASU Law Indian Legal Program makes dreams realities.”

Matthew Campbell 
Class of 2008
Staff Attorney, Native American Rights Fund

"The ILP is an important asset to the political aspect of the Indian community, because it creates young practitioners who understand the critical nuances within the field of federal Indian law. This is evident when one simply takes a look at the current positions held by past ILP graduates, and the projects and accomplishments they've completed and/or accumulated within their careers." 

Derrick Beetso
Class of 2010

“The ASU College of Law's Indian Legal Program is the best out there. From the classroom lectures to interacting with real clients and arguing before judges, the program offers an extraordinary breadth of intellectual training and practical experience. The program's staff members are not just the nicest people around, but they are also seasoned legal experts on the cutting edge of what is happening in Indian Country. There is no one word that could describe my experience in the ILP, but the one that comes closest is probably 'amazing.' The faculty and staff were like family to me, and the curriculum shaped how I approach my work today. ASU Law's ILP exceeded my expectations in every way.”

Michael-Corey Hinton 
Class of 2011
Associate Attorney, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld LLP

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