Indian Legal Program alumni make a difference in careers spanning fields, geographies
Editor’s note: This story is being highlighted in ASU Now’s year in review. Read more top stories from 2020.
Since its creation more than 30 years ago, the Indian Legal Program at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University has grown to become one of the best of its kind. And the meaningful work the program’s alumni pursue is a key reason.
From roles in prestigious law firms, tribal governments and entities, public agencies and more, Indian Legal Program grads are making a difference for Indian Country across the U.S.
Here are some recent examples of where alumni are making an impact.
Recent ASU Law grad Kris Beecher says ILP experience positions him to be a strong advocate
Kris Beecher, an ASU Law 2020 JD graduate and W. P. Carey School of Business MBA grad, is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation and a Navajo Nation Bar Association member who recently completed a three-year term as chairman of the board of the largest public housing authority in Indian Country and nearly the eighth largest in the U.S. After taking the bar, Beecher will be joining prominent national law firm Dickinson Wright and plans to put his Indian Law Certificate to use working with tribes on economic development.
“As a participant in the Indian Legal Program, I’ve been able to jump-start my law career in multiple ways,” said Beecher, an O’Connor Merit Scholar, Cobell Scholar and Chief Manuelito Scholar. “The Indian Legal Program has taken me to Washington, D.C., to meet with members of Congress and federal officials, as well as help individual tribal members protect their right to vote and make important legal decisions for their families.”
Video courtesy of ASU ILP grad Kris Beecher
Originally from Tuba City, Arizona, Beecher also holds a BA in political science from ASU where he graduated summa cum laude. He actively participates with the Native Vote Election Protection Project and volunteers his time speaking to Native American youth via the Native American Pipeline to Law Initiative, which encourages them to seek out careers in law and to become the next generation of tribal lawyers, judges and leaders.
ASU Law associates join prominent Native American law team at Jenner & Block
When high-profile, global law firm Jenner & Block LLP announced it was significantly expanding its Native American law practice offerings, three ASU Law associates were appointed to the eight-member team.
Charles Galbraith, ASU Law 2005 JD graduate and a former White House tribal liaison for President Barack Obama, was named a partner and co-chair of the firm’s Native American Law Practice. Lawrence Roberts, ASU Law professor of practice and executive director of the Indian Gaming and Tribal Self-Governance Program, was named special counsel. And Krystalyn Kinsel, ASU Law 2015 JD graduate and a former trial attorney in the Attorney General Honors Program of the U.S. Department of Justice Natural Resources Section of the Environment and Natural Resources Division, was named an associate.
In its news release, Jenner & Block emphasized the eight-member team’s deep experience in Native American law, litigation and government relations. Chambers USA has ranked team members nationally since 2011 as has U.S. News — Best Lawyers in Native American law. When combined with Jenner & Block's existing representation of Native American tribes, including the recent groundbreaking U.S. Supreme Court victory upholding tribal treaty rights in McGirt v. Oklahoma and another on behalf of the Yakama Nation in 2019, the expanded practice offers clients a full range of strategic, legal and government relations services.
Rosette law firm founder builds national reputation for helping tribal clients achieve success inside and outside the courtroom
Robert Rosette, an ASU Law 1996 JD graduate, went on to found and serve as managing partner of Rosette, LLP, a leading majority Indian-owned national law firm representing tribal governments and entities.
ASU Law 3L Leah Tsinajinnie asks Rob Rosette (’96) questions following a 2019 lunch lecture.
Doreen McPaul and Kimberly Dutcher catch up with ILP alum Shawn Attakai (’00) after a lunch lecture last year.
Kris Beecher, during his ASU Law third year, moderates the 2018 Navajo Nation Presidential Forum.
“I envisioned a law firm that would only focus on federal Indian law, meaning we wouldn’t represent banks or development companies or casino interests or oil companies,” said Rosette in a recent ASU Law news story. “Just practice Indian law, purely on the tribal side as a tribal member from Rocky Boy. That was my original ambition and what I always wanted to do.”
Rosette, LLP, now has offices in Arizona, California, Michigan, Oklahoma and Washington, D.C., and a staff of 26 attorneys with nearly half from ASU Law’s Indian Legal Program.
Rosette is thankful for what the ILP provided, both in terms of his own education and a pipeline of talented attorneys for his law firm, and stays deeply involved. He is a member of the Indian Legal Program advisory board and founded the Rosette, LLP, American Indian Economic Development Program, which presents the annual “Wiring the Rez” e-commerce conference for tribal governments, businesses and entrepreneurs.
Doreen McPaul and Kimberly Dutcher strive to make a positive difference for the Navajo Nation
When Navajo Nation Attorney General Doreen McPaul was appointed to her position in January 2019, she asked fellow 2001 ASU Law JD Kimberly Dutcher to be her deputy attorney general. The two have become a powerful team of ILP alumni in the Navajo Nation Department of Justice.
“I hope to make a positive difference for my tribe and my own people,” McPaul said in a recent ILP blog offering thoughts on their positions and advice for students. “At the Department of Justice, that means organizing the department in a way that best serves the needs of our clients, being responsive to client requests, and supporting our legal team so that they are enabled to provide the highest quality of legal services to our clients.”
McPaul and Dutcher have advice for current ILP students, with Dutcher saying, “You can go home again! Tribal nations have so many challenges and it is normal to want to be involved in everything, but everyone has the same 24 hours each day, so prioritize. Remember your role as an attorney and who makes decisions. While you are in law school, learn about different legal career paths and find what interests you and how you can use it to best serve your nation, if that is what you choose to do.”