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National Native American Bar Association
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For Immediate Release, May 18, 2015
Contact: Linda Benally (623) 308-2329


Chicago, IL - On May 20, 2015, Mary Smith, Immediate Past-President, will be speaking at the American Bar Association 27th Annual Minority Counsel Program, presented by the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession.

The panel entitled “Forty Years Later: What is the State of Young Native American Lawyers in the Legal Profession?” will discuss the findings of NNABA’s groundbreaking study “The Pursuit of Inclusion: An In-Depth Exploration of the Experiences and Perspectives of Native American Attorneys in the Legal Profession.” Dr. Arin Reeves, President of Nextions, will also participate in the panel. NNABA enlisted Dr. Reeves to conduct the research.

The first-of-its-kind study provides a picture of the issues confronting young Native American attorneys across all settings, including private practice; government practice in state, federal and tribal arenas; the judiciary; the corporate legal departments; and academia. This interactive session will examine the experiences, and career trajectories of Native American attorneys, from the perspective of attorneys at different stages of their career.

“This groundbreaking research provides important information about the motivations and experiences of Native American attorneys,” said Mary Smith, immediate past president. “The research reveals that Native American attorneys are systematically excluded from full participation in the legal profession, and we hope that the research will start a dialogue and result in concrete steps to create a more robust pipeline.”

In NNABA’s study, every participant identified as American Indian, Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian. Over 500 people responded to a detailed survey, and 50 people participated in one-on-one telephone interviews. Our respondents represent over 20 percent of the Native American attorneys in the United States.

Ultimately, NNABA – and hopefully others – will use the findings in this study to develop educational materials and programs that will help improve the recruitment, hiring, retention and advancement of Native American attorneys in the legal profession.

To learn more about the study, click here.

To learn more about the ABA Minority Counsel Program, register and view an agenda, click here.

Founded in 1973, NNABA serves as the national association for American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian attorneys, judges, law professors and law students. NNABA strives for justice and effective legal representation for all American indigenous peoples; fosters the development of Native American lawyers and judges; and addresses social, cultural and legal issues affecting American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians.

For more information contact (303) 572-6565 or visit

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