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Hello, NNABA members:

We hope you are enjoying these e-newsletters. If you have comments or suggestions, we would very much like to hear from you. Please feel free to contact us at

Mary Smith
Mary Smith
NNABA President, 2013-2015


NNABA is also pleased to announce that NNABA’s new Young Lawyer Division (YLD) Delegates were also in Boston for the ABA Meeting. NNABA’s new Representative to the YLD Council is Makalika NahOn Saturday, August 9, 2014, NNABA President Mary Smith, Immediate Past President Patty Ferguson-Bohnee, and NNABA ABA Delegate Robert Saunooke attended a meeting, along with representatives of the other bars of color, with the ABA’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary during the ABA Annual Meeting in Boston. This meeting was a follow up to the meetings held the past two years during the ABA Annual Meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to meet with the new chair, Tommy Wells. Last year, the issue of implicit bias with respect to women and persons of color was discussed in connection with the Committee’s rankings. The Committee stated that implicit bias training was provided to all members of the Committee. Out of 874 Article III judgeships, there is currently one American Indian, the Honorable Diane Humetewa in Arizona.


In August 2014, NNABA President Mary Smith was elected to the National Conference of Bar Presidents (NCBP) Executive Council. She is the first NNABA President to serve on the Executive Council.


Exciting news! In May 2014, NNABA, a 501(c)(6) organization, incorporated the NNABA Foundation (the “Foundation”), which is a 501(c)(3) organization and will serve as the charitable arm of NNABA.

The general nature of the business to be transacted by the Foundation is fostering the development of Native American lawyers, and addressing social, cultural, and legal issues affecting American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians, through the grant of scholarships to law students, the organization of seminars and conferences on topics of interest to the legal profession, and the preparation and distribution of articles and reports on legal issues.

In broad terms, the Foundation will implement a phased three-tier approach to building the pipeline of Native American attorneys.

Tier One: The first phase of the Foundation’s activities will be to complete and highlight the publication of the groundbreaking research on Native American attorneys. This research will be published in the spring of 2015.

Tier Two: Following the publication of the research, the second phase of the Foundation’s activities will be to establish scholarships for Native American attorneys to attend law school.

Tier Three: Because the pipeline begins much before college and the decision to attend law school, particularly for Native Americans, the third phase of the Foundation’s activities will be to outreach to high schools with large populations of Native American attorneys and to develop programs and events to encourage Native American high school students to attend to college and to consider law as a career. This phase is anticipated to begin after the 2016 academic year.

For more information on the new NNABA Foundation, click here


In August, NNABA President Mary Smith became Secretary of the ABA’s Section of Litigation. The Section of Litigation is the largest section of the American Bar Association with 59,000 members and over 250 active volunteer leaders. It is a legal publisher, a provider of programming, a source of news and analysis, and a strong national voice in discussions concerning the profession.


The U.S. Sentencing Commission recently published a Federal Register notice seeking comment on the possible formation of a Tribal Issues Advisory Group.

The Commission is interested in forming a new Tribal Issues Advisory Group, on an ad hoc or continuing basis, or establishing other means to study issues that have been raised in recent years related to the operation of the federal sentencing guidelines in Indian Country and areas that have a significant American Indian population. The Commission is requesting comments on the merits of forming such a group, including comment on the scope, duration, and potential membership of any such advisory group. Comments are due on or before October 20, 2014.

To view the Federal Register notice, click here.

To view a new fact sheet on Native American offenders, click here.


Tony West Photo

Associate Attorney General Tony West with NNABA President Mary Smith.

On September 10, 2014, NNABA President Mary Smith attended Associate Attorney General Tony West’s farewell ceremony at the Department of Justice. In addition to negotiating nearly $37 billion in settlements with Wall Street over reckless mortgage practices, AAG West’s work in Indian Country leaves a lasting impact.

AAG West’s work on Native American issues included bringing domestic abusers to justice, implementing the Violence Against Women Act in tribal communities, increasing voting rights, and improving juvenile justice and education. In more than a dozen trips to Indian communities, AAG West did everything from sitting in a sweat lodge to attending task force meetings in the freezing cold.

"Tony turned stories into action," said Sam Hirsch, acting Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division, who spoke at the ceremony. "Tony’s role in Indian country by itself makes him one of the most effective Associate Attorneys Generals in the Department’s history."

NNABA extends its sincerest and heartfelt gratitude to Tony West for his work in bringing justice to Native American communities and wishes him the best in his future endeavors.


NNABA has passed a resolution to support changes to the Federal Acknowledgement Process and has submitted this resolution as a comment to the Federal Acknowledgement proposed rule that was issued by the Department of the Interior on May 22, 2014. The proposed regulations would reform the 35-year old process by which the Department of the Interior officially recognizes Indian tribes. After federal acknowledgement, the U.S. Government serves as the trustee for tribal lands and resources, and tribal members and governments are then eligible for federal budget assistance and program services.

Special thanks to Immediate Past President Patty Ferguson-Bohnee for her work on this resolution.

To view NNABA’s resolution, click here.

To view NNABA’s press release, click here.


Miguel Pozo Photo

Incoming HNBA National President-Elect Robert Maldonado and HNBA National President Miguel Alexander Pozo with ABA President-Elect Paulette Brown.

NNABA extends a very special and heartfelt round of applause and congratulations for Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) Immediate Past President Miguel Pozo. In his year at National President, Miguel focused on important issues such as immigration reform and equal pay for women. He also launched the groundbreaking HNBA/Walmart Latina Leadership Academy, which is designed to equip Latinas to succeed in the legal profession.

NNABA worked closely with Miguel and HNBA on the Collaborative Bar Leadership Academy and the Coalitions of Bar Associations of Color (CBAC) Advocacy Day.

Under Miguel’s leadership, the HNBA sponsored NNABA’s Native American Attorney Research Initiative. “Miguel embodies the true meaning of diversity,” said NNABA President Mary Smith. "Miguel recognizes that by supporting each other, we all get stronger." Miguel is also a proud member of NNABA.


NABA-AZ hosted its Seven Generations Awards Dinner on September 27, 2014 at Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation. NNABA member Professor Robert Clinton received the Lifetime Achievement Award. President Diane Enos of the Salt River Pima Maricopa Tribe received the Community Service Award, and NNABA Member Diandra Benally received the Member of the Year Award. NNABA President-Elect Linda Benally gave welcoming remarks on behalf of NNABA.


Thank so much to everyone who completed NNABA’s groundbreaking survey on Native American attorneys and participated in the one-on-one interviews. NNABA met is goal for the survey with the final tally of 527 persons participating in the survey which surpassed our goal of 500 respondents. This is incredible news!

NNABA intends to release the study in the spring of 2015. Be on the lookout for the historic report.


NNABA is continuing to seek sponsors of its groundbreaking research on Native American attorneys.

Contribute Here
We seek your support on this groundbreaking study. For more information on the study, click here

For information on how to contribute, CLICK HERE. The net proceeds will be used to fund the Research Initiative. We plan to energize the business and legal communities to further improve the status of Native Americans in the legal profession because it is in the best interest of the profession to do so. We hope you will join us in these efforts with your support.


Lawrence Baca Photo

Lawrence R. Baca (Pawnee) is currently National Treasurer of the National Native American Bar Association. In 1976, he was the first American Indian lawyer ever hired at the United States Department of Justice through the Attorney General’s Honor Law Program. He was also the first American Indian attorney ever hired into the Civil Rights Division. In CRD, he served in the Office of Indian Rights, the General Litigation Section, the Housing and Civil Enforcement Section, and the Educational Opportunities Litigation Section. He ended his 32-year career with four years service as a Deputy Director of the Office of Tribal Justice. Lawrence formed the American Indian Lawyers Association of the Department of Justice in 1978 and was its Chairman for 30 years. At the time of his retirement in 2008, he was the longest-tenured American Indian Attorney in the history of the Department.

Lawrence graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1973 with a degree in "American Indian History and Culture." It was a one-of-a-kind-major developed through the university’s Individual Major Program. In 1976, he was the 8th American Indian to graduate from Harvard Law School.

Lawrence has been a member of the National Native American Bar Association since 1978. He has served in every position on the Board of Directors, including three terms as President. He has served on the Board for 25 of the past 35 years, including his current four-year appointment as Treasurer. As a member of the Federal Bar Association, Lawrence established the Indian Law Section, where he was Chair for 20 years.

To read more, click here.


NNABA is announcing an exciting new project, and we need you! We are beginning to collect some short YouTube videos of Native American attorneys. Alternatively, you can prepare a member profile. If you would like to highlight your career or some topic applicable to the legal profession, please record a short (no more than two minutes) video of yourself and send it to us. We will begin posting some of these videos on our website. The purpose of this project is to highlight the incredible Native American attorneys around the country.

To obtain the template for the member profile, click here.

Here are some guidelines:

  • Videos should be no more than two minutes.

  • The following one or more topics can be addressed: (1) why you went to law school; (2) describe your career and your practice; (3) describe one legal matter that you are most proud of or that was memorable; and (4) advice you would give to young Native American attorneys or advice you would give to young Native Americans considering whether to go to law school.

  • Alternatively, you can address an important legal issue facing Indian Country, e.g., ICWA, domestic violence, land into trust, voting rights.

  • If you have any questions, please e-mail

  • Send the final videos to


Our Attorney Membership Form and Student Membership Form can be completed online, and are available to download as PDF files for those who prefer to mail in their forms. Benefits of being a NNABA member include weekly access to a variety of new, nationwide job announcements by email and on this site. To join, click here.

The membership year runs from April to April and dues are $75 per year.

NEW! In addition to checks and money orders, NNABA is now able to accept credit card payment for payment of dues.

If you have any questions about membership or experience any difficulty with downloading, please feel free to contact us at



The ABA Commission on Women in the Profession is seeking nominations for the 2015 Annual Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Awards. These awards will be presented at a luncheon on Sunday, August 2, 2015 during the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago.

The deadline to submit the nomination form and supporting materials is the close of business on Monday, December 1, 2014.

Click here for more details.


The State Bar of California Council on Access & Fairness invites you to attend 2014 Leadership Summit entitled "Creating Leaders for the 21st Century" from October 30-31, 2014. The Leadership Summit will sharpen your leadership skills for business, career, community, and personal development strategies. Featured speakers included Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Congresswoman Jackie Speier, and Linda Klein, President-Elect Nominee for the American Bar Association.

Location: California Judicial Council, 455 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, California

Registration Fees: Attorneys $130 before October 15, 2014 (after October 15 - $150)
The registration fee includes Thursday breakfast, lunch and reception, Friday breakfast and all programming. For program information or registration information contact Patricia Lee at 415-538-2240 or


The ABA Section of International Law invites you to attend our 2014 Fall Meeting in the beautiful city of Buenos Aires, Argentina from October 21-25, 2014. The 2014 Fall Meeting will bring together over 1,000 leading attorneys, corporate counsel, government officials, academics and NGO lawyers for a conference unlike any other. World-class speakers and international legal experts will lead over 70 continuing legal education sessions on international legal and ethics issues including sessions on Business / Regulation / Compliance; Dispute Resolution / Litigation; Environmental / Energy; Human Rights; Legal Practice / Ethics; M&A / Finance / Tax; and Public International Law / Rule of Law.

2014 Fall Meeting attendees will have limitless opportunities to network with colleagues, decision makers, and potential clients from around the world and will also have ample time to experience the sights and sounds of Buenos Aires at planned social events, receptions and outings. All registrants will take home a free bottle of Malbec wine and leather iPad holder and will have the opportunity to sign up for a several activities around Buenos Aires including free tango lessons and a home hospitality night. There will also be planned entertainment for registered guests, spouses and significant others.

NNABA is a Cooperating Entity on this event and members can register for the conference at the discounted ABA Section of International Law Member Rates by using the hardcopy registration form.

Register before September 8th to save on your registration with Early Bird Rates. Registration rates are further discounted for young lawyers (35 years and under), full time government and NGO employees, academics, law students, corporate counsel, solo / small practice and retired attorneys.

Please visit for more information on programming, hotel accommodations and the latest updates on the 2014 Fall Meeting.


The ABA Section of International Law invites you to attend the "2014 North America Regional Forum: Doing Business within the Region and Collaborating Abroad" Conference on November 17-18, 2014 at the Pan Pacific Vancouver Hotel in Vancouver, BC, Canada. NNABA is a Cooperating Entity on this event and members can take advantage of discounted ABA Section of International Law Member Rates by registering online and selecting the "Cooperating Entity" Rate.

This one and a half day conference will feature two parallel tracks on best practices for international companies doing business in North America and for North American companies working internationally. It will begin with a joint plenary on Cross Border Ethics in the Digital Age and will be followed by a series of panels presented by international legal experts on the latest in key topics such as privacy issues, enforcement of judgments, antitrust and compliance. This program will also offer a unique forum for international lawyers to explore and expand their networks as well as meet colleagues from all over the world during networking breakfasts, networking breaks, luncheons and reception, which are included with the registration fee.

Click here to view the full conference brochure including programming and social events. Register before October 17th to save on your registration with Early Bird Rates! Registration rates are further discounted for young lawyers (35 years and under), full time government and NGO employees, academics, law students, and corporate counsel.

Please visit to register and for more information on programming, hotel accommodations and the latest updates on the conference.