Law 728 - Tribal Legal Development Clinic

Lauren van Schilfgaarde

Lauren van Schilfgaarde

San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Tribal Legal Development Clinic Director
B.A. Colorado College, 2008
J.D. UCLA School of Law, 2012
Course Description:

Students in this clinic provide legal assistance to Native nations.  Clinic projects emphasize skills of drafting legislation, legal memoranda and other documents, along with cross-cultural representation, through assisting tribal nations with the development and modification of legal codes, governing documents and constitutional provisions, creation of dispute resolution processes, and drafting of intergovernmental agreements and related administrative documents.  The supervisions faculty member(s) meet with tribal leaders to inform them of the availability of clinic services and to determine whether the clinic could assist them with their legal development needs.  Once students are assigned to particular projects, they meet and communicate -- under the supervision of the faculty member(s) -- with relevant tribal officials and community members, including via email and teleconferences and in-person where feasible, and develop over the course of the semester a final work product for a tribal nation client.  The course also includes a classroom component where students learn about tribal governments and legal systems, as well as the federal, state, and other legal systems with which they interact.  Students also learn about the culture(s) and history of the tribe(s) they are representing so that they can better craft legislation and other documents that meet tribal intentions and needs.

Course Learning Outcomes:

As part of the UCLA School of Law’s Clinical Program, the Tribal Legal Development Clinic is designed to teach students to integrate and apply lawyering skills, knowledge of substantive tribal law and federal Indian law, and appreciation of professional lawyering obligations. Clinic students realize these goals by working on real client projects in the context of tribal law practice. By the end of this Clinic, students should gain the following substantive knowledge and practical lawyering skills, which are central to the tribal lawyer’s role:

  • Experience with core tribal lawyering skills, including:
    • interview and counsel tribal government clients; identify their goals and appreciate the context of their issues
    • develop a project theory and plan
    • provide appropriate time and project management
    • collaborate and exhibit professionalism
    • provide self-evaluation and self-reflection
    • develop a quality work product, such as
      • draft legal opinions and organizational documents
      • develop, advocate for, and assess policy
      • develop and deliver community education and training materials
  • Knowledge of substantive federal Indian law and tribal law practice, including elements of
    • tribal criminal and civil jurisdiction
    • P.L. 280
    • tribal court development
    • cultural resource and ancestral remains protection
    • tribal customary law
  • Appreciation for the nature and extent of tribal legal development within the context of federal Indian policy, both historical and present.
  • Skill set for working in the context of community-led legal development.
  • Familiarity with the professional and ethical obligations to tribal lawyering.

Course Information:
​Faculty Term Course Section ​Schedule ​Units Requisite Satisfies SAW
Lauren van Schilfgaarde 20F 728 LEC 1 W 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM 4.0 No No
  Experiential enrollment through a separate process; deadlineJuly 27 at noon. See ENROLL.LAW.UCLA.EDU. Early drop deadline: 5:00 pm on 8/28/2020.
Lauren van Schilfgaarde 21S 728 LEC 1 W 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM 4.0 No No
  Experiential course enrollment through separate process; deadline: Noon on 11/6/20. See ENROLL.LAW.UCLA.EDU. Early drop deadline: 5:00pm on 1/29/21.
Textbook Information:
Textbook for Fall 2020 LEC 1
Richland and Deer. Introduction to Tribal Legal Studies  3rd ed.  
ISBN: 9781442232259. Rowman & Littlefield. REQUIRED $70.06
Textbook for Spring 2021 LEC 1
Richland and Deer. Introduction to Tribal Legal Studies  3rd ed.  
ISBN: 9781442232259. Rowman & Littlefield. REQUIRED $70.06