San Francisco, CA – May 17, 2018: Executive Director, Dorothy Alther and Legal Fellow, Anna Hohag, attended the annual California Bar Foundation (CBF) Board meeting where they were invited to speak and present to the Board of Directors in San Francisco. At the meeting, it was announced that CBF would be changing their Foundation’s name to “California ChangeLawyers,” to better demonstrate the organization’s commitment to empowering the next generation of lawyers, judges, and activists to create a more diverse legal profession, a fair justice system, and a better California. As California ChangeLawyers provides funding for Anna’s Fellowship at CILS, Dorothy and Anna presented to the Board the work that CILS does throughout California to represent Native Americans, low-income individuals, and people in rural areas of the state. The Board was ecstatic to hear that CILS through the Bishop office is making real change for clients in rural communities who would ordinarily have trouble obtaining legal assistance. Their issues range from improper tax, tribal court development, and Indian wills to special education services and community education. It was clear that CILS, as one of the premier training grounds for attorneys advocating for tribes in California and nationwide, fit perfectly into the vision of California ChangeLawyers, who were happy to see their Fellowship grants used to further their mission.
California ChangeLawyers awards grants to legal aid agencies to cover the cost of hiring diverse law students or recent grads, and this past year Anna Hohag was CILS’ recent grad. “As a young attorney from a rural tribal community, it was truly inspiring seeing the work and vision of California ChangeLawyers. I feel incredibly honored to be considered a #ChangeLawyer and to be working alongside CILS in furthering their mission to advocate for tribes and tribal rights. Initially, I was shocked to see such diversity sitting around the California ChangeLawyers boardroom table. When you make it to the top of a high rise building in downtown San Francisco and find your way into a fancy law firm, you don’t expect to see faces that look like yours. However, when we walked into the boardroom, we were pleasantly surprised to find such a diverse and motivated group of individuals from all backgrounds. After we finished our presentation, they seemed to be equally inspired by the work that we do here at CILS. The entire experience was rewarding, and to me, every opportunity to build important relationships with other movers and shakers gives me that motivation to continue the work I strive to do.”