2019 NALSA President Shares Tips for 1Ls, Plans for Mentorship Program with Native Attorneys

Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Name: Martie Simmons 
Hometown: Tomah, Wisconsin 
Undergraduate institution: Walden University 
Year: 3L (Class of 2020) 
Organization: President of NALSA (Native American Law Students Association) 
  
What are you looking forward to this year?  
 
I am looking forward to planning events for Indigenous Peoples Day and Native American Heritage Month. It’s going to be a busy and eventful year.  
 
As a 3L, I am also excited to finish the JD program, graduate, and find a great job.  
 
What are your goals as NALSA president?  
 
My main goal is to work with outside organizations and create a mentorship program that matches our students with Native attorneys working in Tucson and Phoenix.  
 
Why should students be involved in NALSA (or any other student organizations)? 
 
We are an inclusive group that works hard at fostering a strong community for our members. There are 20+ federally recognized tribes in Arizona alone; if students decide to stay here after graduation, it is likely that they will work on cases that affect tribes. Joining NALSA will create a strong network for you to lean on even after law school, and you don’t need to be Native American to join.  
 
What do you think everyone should experience as an Arizona Law student?  
 
I highly recommend taking Federal Indian Law, even if you don’t plan on working in Indian Country. It would be beneficial to have that knowledge base regardless of your chosen field of interest. Also, “hands-on” experience with our clinics. There are so many options here at the University of Arizona. The school does a great job providing you with real-life experiences.  
 
What do you think everyone should experience living in Tucson?  
 
Hiking up Sentinel Peak gives you an amazing view of all of Tucson. I have yet to make it up to Mount Lemmon, but it is in the plans.  
  
Favorite hangout spot on campus? 
 
The NALSA lounge in Rountree Hall 
 
What three words come to mind when you think of Arizona Law?  
 
Community, Growth, & Networking 
 
Advice for 1Ls?  
 
It is really easy to get into a new place and immediately form cliques. Get out of your comfort zone and create a variety of networks that will help you beyond school. You never know when one day you might need to lean on your classmates for help. 
 
Your biggest accomplishment at Arizona Law so far?  
 
Working in the Human Rights Advocacy Clinic that assists Indigenous people as they fight against oil pipelines. 
 
What are your future career plans?  
 
I plan to work in Indian Country and with tribes to help our Native children stay connected to their culture.