Legal Intern Returns

CILS is pleased to welcome back former law clerk, now legal intern, Blake Atkerson.

Blake recently graduated from UC Hastings College of the Law and sat for the July 2012 California State Bar Examination.  He previously received a B.A. in Political Science at San Diego State University.  While at Hastings, Blake concentrated on Health Law issues such as healthcare finance, government benefits, and government regulation.  As the president of the Native American Law Student Association at Hastings, and the symposium editor for the Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal, Blake developed great interest in securing rights for middle to low income Native Americans.  As a member of the Osage Nation of Oklahoma, he grew up reading and listening to the endless bouts with the U.S. government.  His family still lives near the reservation and Blake keeps abreast of current events there.  We are happy that Blake kept CILS in mind and chose to return as he waits for good news from the State Bar examination results.  We are also grateful to his Tribe for funding his position with us.  He is currently working in our Sacramento office.  Glad to have you back, Blake!

CILS Website returns

We are back!

You may have recently noticed that our website was down. We apologize for any inconvenience this caused. Soon we hope to upgrade our website’s capabilities in order to provide you with more materials and easier access.  Thank you for your interest!


Now available at conference: 2012 ICWA Benchguide

The 2012 Revised Edition of the  CILS California Judges Benchguide – Indian Child Welfare Act is now complete.  It will be debuted at the 2012 Statewide ICWA Conference at the Blue Lake Casino on June 19. CILS will have a limited number of printed versions and CD versions available at the conference. The bound guides are $45 and the CD’s are $5. CILS will accept check or cash only. This online version is available at no charge and can be download to your personal computer.  Thank you to all the community members and professionals that assisted in this revision, we truly appreciate your efforts.


Encouraging the Attorneys of Tomorrow

CILS Welcomes our Summer Law Clerks

CILS strives to encourage and mentor tomorrow’s Indian law attorneys by providing them with opportunities to serve our vital tribal communities.  This year is no exception.  CILS is happy to introduce our two summer law clerks and announce that both clerks were awarded prestigious Dan Bradley Summer Fellowships through the Legal Aid Association of California (LAAC).  The Fellowship program is named in honor of the former President and San Francisco Regional Director of the federal Legal Services Corporation and provides clerks with the opportunity to consider a career in legal services and other public interest law while providing legal services with a new source of dedicated and energetic staff. Congratulations and welcome Emily and Lucy.



Emily Zushi is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and a second-year student at UC Davis School of Law. Committed to serving local Native communities and hoping to practice Indian law in California, she is honored to be working for CILS. She is active in the local Cherokee community and is striving to learn the Cherokee language. She also speaks conversational Japanese at home with her husband, who was born and raised in Japan. Emily’s favorite hobby is singing. While she sings just about any genre, she is currently studying opera. Having grown up spending a lot of time with her grandmother, she also has a special love for the elderly and particularly enjoys volunteering with those in hospice.



Originally hailing from Houston, TX, Lucy is a rising third-year student at Boston College (BC) Law School.  At BC, she is an active member of the Native American Law Student Association and has spent two spring breaks in Arizona working for the Navajo Nation.  Last summer, she returned to the southwest to work for the Department of the Interior in Albuquerque, where she refined both her legal writing and her green chili recipes.  Lucy completed her undergraduate degree at Brown University and then spent two years working in the energy industry in France before repatriating and spending a year as a paralegal with Skadden, Arps in Boston.  In her free time, she enjoys boxing, arguing about European soccer, and hiking with her adopted Pueblo pup, River.

Spring 2012 Newsletter

CILS invites you to read our Spring 2012 Newsletter: