Lawrence Baca, a Pawnee Indian, is President of the Federal Bar Association. Formerly a Deputy Director of the Office of Tribal Justice, United States Department of Justice, during his 32 years with the Department, he also served as a Senior Trial Attorney in the Civil Rights Division. Mr. Baca has also served as Chairman of the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession from 2002-2005 after serving two years as a Commissioner. He has been elected President of the National Native American Bar Association three times. Mr. Baca’s legal work has been profiled in the American Bar Association Journal as one of “Twelve Who Made It” and in Indian Country Today, the leading American Indian newspaper in the country, in an article calling Baca “the grandfather of Indian country credit.”
In 1973, Mr. Baca received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in “American Indian History and Culture” from the University of California, Santa Barbara. A 1976 graduate of Harvard Law School, Mr. Baca was one of the first American Indians to graduate from Harvard. He was the first American Indian ever hired through the Department of Justice’s Honor Law Program.
In 1988, Mr. Baca was presented with a Distinguished Alumni Award by the University of California, Santa Barbara. In April 2008, the Indian Law Section of the Federal Bar Association created the Lawrence R. Baca Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Federal Indian Law to honor his career and contributions to the Federal Bar Association. He was its first recipient. Mr. Baca also received the American Bar Association Spirit of Excellence Award in 2008 recognizing his work in mentoring minority attorneys and opening doors and opportunities for Native American attorneys at the United States Department of Justice.