Senior Staff Attorney Position Available – 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.  Our Eureka office provides legal services in 7 counties that include 18 of the 110 federally recognized tribes in California.  Additional information about CILS may be found on our website, at www.calindian.org.

Job Description:

Supervised by the Directing Attorney and Executive Director, CILS Senior Staff Attorneys should have substantial knowledge of and experience with issues related to the client eligible Indian individuals, tribes, and groups that are in the service area for the program. A strong, demonstrated expertise in federal Indian law and public interest law is preferred. The Senior Staff Attorney’s primary responsibility is to assist attorney and advocate staff to ensure the quantity and quality of the legal work and the effective, efficient representation of clients. The resulting responsibilities and duties include:

Collaborate with Directing Attorneys and the Executive Director for the purpose of legal work management that includes staff attorney mentoring and supervision, assistance and administration of local legal work management systems, and grant and special project development and implementation, as directed by his/her Directing Attorney or the Executive Director.

Client development responsibilities include developing and maintaining effective relationships with tribes and Indian organizations in the service territory, including all funding sources, and ensuring that the office pursues and secures meaningful opportunities to work with tribes, Indian organizations and Indian individuals throughout the service territory.  Client development includes all CILS funding sources.

The Senior Staff Attorney will also carry an appropriately sized caseload concomitant with other duties and responsibilities that may be assigned by his/her Directing Attorney or the Executive Director.

Qualifications:

  • D. and California bar membership in good standing.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of Federal Indian Law with minimum of five years’ experience practicing law;
  • Excellent communication, writing and organizational skills.
  • Prior management and supervisory experience preferred;
  • Strong work ethic and able to work nights and weekends when many tribal councils meet.
  • Ability to travel 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 the initiative.

The following qualifications are desirable but not absolutely required:

  • Familiarity or experience working with Indian individuals, tribes or Indian communities.
  • Prior legal services experience.

Salary:

Competitive salary D.O.E.  CILS provides family/partner medical, vision and dental benefits, AD&D, short and 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, writing a sample and three professional references to Patricia De La Cruz-Lynas, Director of Administration, California Indian Legal Services, Re: Eureka Sr. Staff Attorney, 609 S. Escondido Blvd, Escondido, CA 92025.  E-mail hiring@calindian.org.  All applicants will be notified when a final hiring decision is made.

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California Bar Foundation Fellowship Opportunity Available – Bishop Office

Program Description:
California Indian Legal Services (CILS) 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. The Bishop office of CILS is also home to the Eastern Sierra Legal Assistance Project and the Inyo-Mono Senior Legal Program. CILS has four offices throughout California.

Additional information about CILS may be found on our website, at www.calindian.org.

Position Description:
With support from the California Bar Foundation, CILS is hiring a recent law school graduate for a one-year fellowship during 2017. Supervised by the Directing Attorney, the fellow 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. The fellow 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.

Sample of Substantive Areas of Practice:
Land issues, Indian Child Welfare Act, Taxation issues, Wills and Probate, Jurisdictional issues, Tribal Justice System development, Tribal Governance, Public Benefits, Healthcare and senior/elder law issues.

Duties and Responsibilities:
* 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 the initiative.

The following qualifications are desirable but not absolutely required:
* Familiarity or experience working with Indian individuals, tribes or Indian communities.
*Prior legal services experience.

Qualifications:
Recent law school graduates who are interested in Federal Indian Law and serving Indian communities; those with experience in Indian communities or who have completed Indian law courses are preferred. Applicants must be highly skilled in legal research and writing.

To Apply:
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Please submit a letter of interest, resume, writing sample, and law school transcripts via:
* e-mail: hiring@calindian.org
* mail: California Indian Legal Services, 117 J Street, Suite 300, Sacramento, CA 95814

About the California Bar Foundation Public Interest Legal Fellowship Program
Launched in 2015, the California Bar Foundation’s Public Interest Legal Fellowship Program supports diverse rising 3Ls and recent law graduates who are committed to representing low-income and underserved populations in California. We fund leading California legal aid agencies who are committed to building diverse, inclusive staff environments to receive a summer or yearlong legal fellow.

Through this fellowship program, along with our diversity scholarships and grants, the California Bar Foundation is fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal profession and, by extension, the justice system as a whole. For more information about our fellowship program, please contact Sheila Bapat at sheilab@calbarfoundation.org.

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Public Law 280 Conference

A one-day conference on Public Law 280 and working solutions between tribes and local/state partners.
 
Local government leaders, law enforcement, and tribal representatives in the Northern CA region are invited to attend. This conference will provide valuable information on Public Law 280, as well as, the operation of tribal justice systems, and cooperative relationships between tribal and non-tribal communities.
 
There is no cost to attend, and lunch will be provided.
public-law-280-conference
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Will Writing After AIPRA: An Overview

American Indian Probate Reform Act governs the passage of Trust or Restricted lands, procured under federal authority and through a Treaty based allocation system. Like Mark Vezzola points out, navigation through the legal system is problematic when “[f]inding a lawyer to explain one’s trust land interests and draft the Will can be a challenge.” (#justicematters) Personal property within a house or the house itself must be passed to children and grandchildren separately, since only the land succession is addressed in the AIPRA.

Mark Vezzola, Directing Attorney at the California Indian Legal Services, shares his substantial knowledge with readers at the mobile friendly web-based Educational Family Estate Apps as part of its Guest Writer Series (http://educationalfamilyestateapps.com/guest-writer-series/). His article is titled, “Will Writing After AIPRA – An Overview Of Estate Planning For Trust Assets.”

What is needed when a Testator owns both Trust and non-Trust property? Mark has seen clients with two Wills, one to cover each kind of property (your Trust assets versus everything else), and others whose last will and testament includes both kinds of assets . In a state context, avoidance of probate should be priority, since it is both costly and produces needless delay. Probates of Indian trust assets can be avoided through gift deeds, otherwise estates of Indian landowners are administered by the Office of Hearings and Appeals. As a parent or grandparent, when minor children are involved it is important to know how voluntary legal Guardianship can place your mind at greater ease about the care of your family members when you can’t.

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CILS Receives the California Bar Foundation Public Interest Legal Fellowship Grant

Escondido, CA – October 26, 2016: CILS is pleased to announce a Public Interest Legal Fellowship Grant from the California Bar Foundation, in support of our Tribal Court development program in our Bishop Office. This program provides training for tribes in the Bishop service area.

The California Bar Foundation Public Interest Legal Fellowship Program funds diverse law students and attorneys to serve low-income clients in rural communities. The grant objective was to build a pipeline of diverse attorneys for rural legal aid agencies in California. This fellowship program addresses CalBar Foundation’s top priorities: improving access to justice for all Californians, and supporting diverse recent law graduates and law students who are committed to becoming public interest attorneys.

CalBar funded our summer fellow, Laura Neacato, for our Bishop Office and now has partnered with CILS again for a one year fellow. One of the primary projects the fellow will be focused on is Tribal Court development. Currently, the Bishop Paiute Tribe is the only tribe in the Owens Valley area that has a Tribal Court.

Jasmine Andreas, Directing Attorney of the CILS Bishop Office, stated, “our core area of practice is federal Indian law. Our Bishop Office not only houses our Indian law program but also provides basic field non-Indian legal services to low-income and elderly clients. The Bishop Office is located in a remote area of the Eastern Sierra, Inyo County, which creates its own challenges to clients in need of legal assistance.”

“Having been in existence for almost 50 years demonstrates CILS’ commitment to a diverse, inclusive staff and work environment,” said Dorothy Alther, CILS Executive Director. “Numerous attorneys at CILS came to us through an internship or fellowship program. Because of our unique and special legal service population (Indian law) and that our work will take attorneys into extremely remote and isolated communities, it is imperative for new attorneys to have some prior experience with who we are, who we serve and where they will be meeting their clients.”

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