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.”