Legal/Administrative Assistant Position Available – Eureka Office

Program Description:  Founded in 1967, California Indian Legal Services (CILS) is the oldest public interest Indian rights law firm in the country, promoting the fundamental rights of California tribes and Indians through litigation, legislative and administrative advocacy, community development, and other strategies for systemic change. CILS provides a full range of legal representation to California Indian tribes and Indian organizations, advocates for the rights of California Indians at the local, state, and national levels, and provides direct services and community education to low-income Indian individuals on issues related to Federal Indian Law.  Currently, CILS operates four offices in 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.

Description of Position:  Under the supervision of the Directing Attorney, this is a full-time position devoted to enhancing attorney effectiveness by providing information-management support; administrative and clerical support in a casual, supportive environment.  The work is specialized and requires knowledge of the preparation and processing requirements of legal documents, legal terminology, civil procedures and discovery, sources of law and the court system.  Duties include, but are not limited to:

  • Answer and direct incoming calls including providing telephone referrals to clients
  • Greet and maintain professional tact in dealing with or assisting CILS clients, tribal members, tribal officials, outside counsel or other CILS visitors
  • Calendar and tickle case files
  • Sort and distribute daily mail, faxes, and process outgoing mail
  • Maintain general organization of office
  • Manage office systems including phone and voicemail system, database, office supplies and equipment to ensure professional, efficient and timely work flow of day-to-day operations of the office.
  • Create, maintain and organize case and correspondence files including case file tickling with minimal supervision and attention to detail.
  • Conserves attorneys’ time by reading, researching, reviewing, verifying, and routing correspondence, reports and legal documents; drafting letters and documents; collecting and analyzing information; initiating telecommunications; organizing client conferences, and attorney meetings including preparing attorneys for meetings and court by providing meeting packets, travel arrangements and directions; scheduling couriers, court reporters, expert witnesses, and other special functions; coordinating preparation of charts, graphs, and other courtroom visuals; preparing expense/reimbursement reports; post-meeting/court follow up to ensure calendars, case files and case management system are updated accordingly and timely.
  • Maintains attorney calendar by planning and scheduling conferences, teleconferences, dispositions, and travel; recording and monitoring court appearance dates, pleadings, and filing requirements; monitoring evidence-gathering; anticipating changes in litigation or transaction preparation requirements.
  • Represents attorney by communicating and obtaining information; following-up on delegated assignments; knowing when to act and when to refer matters to attorney.
  • Be willing to learn, interpret and apply a variety of tribal and state laws, rules, or procedures as directed by staff attorneys
  • Other tasks as requested by attorneys and staff.

Qualifications:  Minimum of 5 years’ experience – Any combination of training and experience that provides the required knowledge skills and abilities is qualifying; typical education would include a high school diploma or equivalent and legal secretarial course work. Litigation experience and knowledge of Judicial Council forms, ability to draft basic legal documents using proper procedures required by statutes and rules of court; be familiar with all phases of California court procedures, including venue, jurisdiction, pleadings, motions, appeals and the proper means and forms which matters are submitted to the court system; compose correspondence and write reports using correct English, spelling, grammar and punctuation; basic legal and tribal terminology; attention to detail in all work to be performed, and see work through to its logical conclusion required.  Must be proficient in MS Office, standard PDF software programs; video conferencing/webinars and have excellent typing skills.  Preference for experience working with Indian communities. Applicants must be efficient and organized.

Salary: Competitive based on experience.  This is an hourly, full-time, non-exempt position at 40 hours per week.  Generous leave policies and potential annual performance incentive.  Family/partner medical, dental and vision benefits are available.

To Apply:  Please submit a letter of interest, resume, and references to Patricia De La Cruz-Lynas, Director of Administration, California Indian Legal Services, 117 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95814.  E-mail hiring@calindian.org.

CALIFORNIA INDIAN LEGAL SERVICES IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER.

NATIVE AMERICANS, MINORITIES, AND THE DISABLED ARE ENCOURAGED TO APPLY. 

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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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