American Indian Probate Reform Act (AIPRA) and Indian Wills

For years CILS has prioritized the preservation and enhancement of the California Indian land base in California.  Part of this work correlates with assisting individuals holding Indian trust interests to better understand their rights and sometimes their responsibilities to future generations. As part of this work, CILS has conducted numerous presentations over the years regarding the impact of the American Indian Probate Reform Act (AIPRA) and the need for Indian Wills or estate planning of Indian trust assets. The AIPRA, enacted in 2004, provides for a national uniform inheritance scheme in situations where there is no valid Indian Will. The inheritance scheme is one that not every Indian trust holder may wish to have applied when determining who will inherit their trust assets. Unless an individual leaves a valid Indian Will, AIPRA’s scheme may control their trust property’s future. This is where CILS presentations and Indian Will drafting helps individuals make informed decisions. Typically, individuals have specific questions and concerns that they may not wish to voice to family members or friends but that CILS staff can assuage. All CILS offices provide Indian Will drafting for those holding Indian trust assets.

CILS Will drafting services are no-cost to those who qualify for our free legal services. For those who are over-income, CILS provides Indian Will drafting at an hourly rate – typically to cover the cost. While CILS does not generally take on work for individuals who are over-income, our Indian Wills practice is an exception. Most California private estate planning attorneys do not draft Indian Wills; their focus is upon those assets coming strictly under California state inheritance laws. Many of these private attorneys shy away from drafting Indian Wills, in part because of the perceived complexities involving Indian trust assets including Federal regulations, tribal codes, the AIPRA and the myriad of administrative agencies within the Department of the Interior. For CILS, however, this services is part of our common practice – and is much-needed throughout Indian Country.

CILS is available for Indian Wills/Indian estate planning presentations and Indian Will clinics.  Tribes can contact the local CILS office to arrange this service. Individuals holding Indian trust assets, such as allotment or heirship interests or Individual Indian Money (IIM) accounts, can also contact their local CILS office and speak with a representative about their eligibility for Indian Will drafting services.

Staff Attorney Position Available – Sacramento Office

Program Description:

California Indian Legal Services is a statewide, tribally controlled, non-profit corporation that provides legal services to Indian tribes, Indian organizations and low-income individual Indians on issues involving Federal Indian Law.  CILS provides a variety of legal services including brief counsel and advice and extended representation on core legal issues affecting Native Americans and Indian tribes.  CILS is involved in litigation, policy analysis, and advocacy and also provides transactional services to tribes involving economic development and tribal infrastructure.

CILS has four offices throughout California.  Our Sacramento office provides legal services in 38 counties that include 51 of the 110 federally recognized tribes in California.  This service area also includes numerous non-federally recognized tribes and one of the largest urban Indian communities in the United States.

Job Description:

Supervised by the Directing Attorney, the Staff Attorney will work collaboratively with other staff to provide exceptional legal services in all areas of Federal Indian law.  Our fast-paced office provides legal services on issues of jurisdiction, tax, estate planning, trust assets, environmental law, natural resource development, tribal governance, employment and the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).  The Staff Attorney will assume a varied case load that may include: brief counsel and services to low-income Indian individuals; state and federal court litigation; contract negotiation; advising tribal clients; developing and implementing constitutions, codes, and policies for tribal clients; making presentations; and ICWA related dependency cases.

Qualifications:

  • California bar membership in good standing.
  • Excellent communication, writing, and organizational skills.
  • Strong work ethic and able to work nights and weekends when many tribal councils meet.
  • Ability to travel overnight and a valid driver’s license.
  • A commitment to providing high-quality legal services for Indian people.
  • Ability to work independently, as part of a team and to take initiative.

The following qualifications are desirable but not absolutely required:

  • Demonstrated knowledge of Federal Indian law with at least 1-3 years of experience practicing law.
  • Familiarity or experience working with Indian individuals, tribes or Indian communities.
  • Prior legal services experience.

Salary:

Competitive salary D.O.E.  CILS offers full family/partner medical, vision and dental benefits, AD&D, short & long-term disability insurances, life insurance, Section 125 Flexible Spending Account, generous leave policies and potential for annual performance incentive.

To Apply:

Submit a resume, cover letter, and writing sample to Patricia De La Cruz-Lynas, Director of Administration, California Indian Legal Services, Re:  Sacramento Staff Attorney, 117 J Street, Suite 300, Sacramento, CA 95814.  E-mail hiring@calindian.org.  We will accept applications until the position is filled.  All applicants will be notified when a final hiring decision is made.

Ninth Circuit Allows Bishop Paiute Law Enforcement Case to Proceed

Today the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals handed a victory to the Bishop Paiute Tribe in its federal suit against Inyo County, the County Sheriff, and District Attorney.  The lower district court dismissed the Tribe’s law suit against the defendants on July 13, 2015, for lack of jurisdiction finding there was no “justiciable case and controversy.”  The Tribe appealed the lower court’s dismissal, and today the 9th Circuit reversed and remanded the case to lower court allowing the Tribe to move forward on the merits.  Please see the decision for a complete summary of the facts and procedural history of the Tribe’s law suit leading up to appeal.

Read more here on Turtle Talk.

Administrative Assistant Position Available in our Eureka Office

Program Description:                                                                                                                            

California Indian Legal Services is a statewide, tribally controlled, non-profit corporation that provides legal services to Indian tribes, Indian organizations and low-income individual Indians on issues involving Federal Indian Law.  CILS provides a variety of legal services including brief counsel and advice and extended representation on core legal issues affecting Native Americans and Indian tribes.  CILS is involved in litigation, policy analysis, and advocacy and also provides transactional services to tribes involving economic development and tribal infrastructure.

CILS has four offices throughout California.

Job Description:

Under the supervision of the Directing Attorney, the Administrative Assistant will be responsible for providing administrative and clerical support for the Eureka Office staff, as well as a broad range of program activities. Specific duties may vary considerably over time, but are likely to include:

  • Answer and direct incoming calls
  • Greet and assist all clients and visitors to the office
  • Type correspondence and other legal documents in support of the legal staff
  • Sort and distribute daily mail; process outgoing mail
  • Monitor and stock office supplies
  • Arrange for maintenance and repair of office equipment
  • Data entry, copying, calendaring and general filing
  • Assist with file creation, maintenance, and organization
  • Assist with the preparation of reports, presentations, and other publications
  • Manage phone and voicemail system;
  • Calendar and tickle cases;
  • Coordinate travel and related tasks;
  • Other administrative and clerical tasks, as assigned

Qualifications:

AA/Clerical school degree preferred or previous clerical experience.  Must be proficient in MS Office, other standard software programs; have excellent communication and typing skills; and experience with telephone systems.  Must demonstrate the ability to interact with clients in a professional and courteous manner. Knowledge of or interest in Indian communities and legal services is preferred.

Salary:

DOE.  This is an hourly, full-time, non-exempt position at 40 hours per week. Generous leave policies and potential annual performance incentive.  We provide family/partner medical, dental and vision benefits.

To Apply:

Please submit resume and letter of interest to Patricia De La Cruz-Lynas, Director of Administration, California Indian Legal Services, 609 S. Escondido Blvd., Escondido, CA 92025.  E-mail hiring@calindian.org.

Click here to apply on indeedjobs.com.

CALIFORNIA INDIAN LEGAL SERVICES IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER. NATIVE AMERICANS,  MINORITIES AND THE DISABLED ARE ENCOURAGED TO APPLY. 

“Wrong Application” for Conducting Criminal Background Checks

If your tribe has been approved for conducting Criminal Background Checks under SB 1460 and are providing Live Scans on reservation or you are in the process of obtaining 1460 approval and intend to conduct Live Scans, you must complete the attached application. Tribes were inadvertently provided the incorrect application (PSP) by the Department of Justice and are being requested to complete the new application.

New APP Agency LSSP Application Packet.3.9.17