Job Description: As Lael Echo-Hawk shares in her story, “Indian Lawyers today are the warriors for our people” (linked below). From advocacy to advising, the work of a Lawyer is heavily dependent on the type of law they practice and where they are practicing. Common daily tasks include interpreting laws, regulations, and rulings, providing legal counsel, preparing and filing legal documents, facilitating negotiations, and working very long hours.
Successful lawyers are passionate about their causes, able to communicate persuasively in person and through writing, work with diverse people, and possess strong inductive and deductive reasoning skills. And a sense of humor helps in the face of all the lawyer jokes.
Work Environment: Private Practices, Corporations, and Local, Tribal, State, and Federal Governments..
Areas of Study/Practice: Tribal Law, Business & Commercial Law, Criminal Law, Elder Law, Environmental & Natural Resources Law, International & Comparative Law, Litigation, Media & Technology law, Public Law, Tax Law, General Practice Law, Intellectual Property Law, Sports & Entertainment Law, Family & Juvenile Law, Education Law, Corporate & Securities Law, Employment & Labor Law
Average Wage: $54.21 hourly, $112,760 annual
Education Level: Juris Doctor (JD) Degree
Acceptance into a JD program requires a Bachelor of the Arts or Science Degree, acceptable LSAT scores, and any other admission standards, per individual programs.
Insider Information: Based on data compiled by the Law School Admissions Council, the number of law schoolapplicants has decreased in the last two years. However, the number of admitted AI/AN law school applicants has not.
Certification Required: Must pass your State and/or Tribe’s Bar Examination..
Related Professions: Paralegals, Law Clerks, Judges, Law Teachers, Arbitrators, Law and Criminal Justice Teachers and Professors, Attorney, District Attorney, Law Partner, Prosecutor
Occupational Outlook (BLS)
Summary Report (O*NET)
National Indian Law Library
National Native American Bar Association
Law School Admission Council
American Bar Association
Tribal Court Clearing House
National Association for Legal Professionals
National Center for State Courts
Interview – Michelle LaPena, Pit River Indian Tribe
Video – Lael Echo-Hawk, Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma
Video – How to Become a Lawyer (3 Minute Summaries)