How do I choose an attorney to represent me in tribal court

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Where to start?

Start with the tribal court. The court typically keeps a list of attorneys admitted to practice in tribal court. If the court does not have a list then check with the tribal attorney, tribal secretary, and tribal website.


What qualifications should I ask for?

The attorney should have a solid foundation in Indian law and know the local practice in tribal court. Most states that have large Indian populations have a Native American Bar or Indian law section of the State Bar Association look to these groups to help you find qualified members.


Why does it matter?

Often the claims that can be brought in tribal court are limited by jurisdiction. This limitation may come from federal law, tribal constitution, or codes, which may restrict the court's authority, and claims may be barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity.

Additional Resources

Native American Bar Assn, Wisconsin Indian law Section, Minnesota American Indian Bar Association,, Native American Rights Fund.

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