Class of 2024: With Aspiration as a Future Tribal Judge, BA in Law Online Grad will Continue Legal Education Journey to Transform Tribal Justice

April 19, 2024
College of Law sign

Name: Hope Craig (Mvskoke from the Muscogee Nation of Oklahoma) 
Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Law 
Hometown: Valencia, CA  

Hope Craig

What motivated you to pursue a degree in law, and how has that motivation evolved throughout your time in law school? 

The lack of legal representation in Indian Country especially for Indian Child Welfare matters. When I first started my undergrad law journey, I knew I wanted to make a difference through advocacy and policy to become a strong advocate for families navigating the legal system. This motivation has now evolved into serving in a Tribal Court as a Tribal Judge. I still have the desire to work with families but from the bench.  

Why did you choose University of Arizona Law? 

I chose the University of Arizona because of the undergraduate online law program. UArizona offers a robust online law program that aligns with my educational goals in law.  

What area of law are you planning to specialize in, and what influenced this choice? 

The area of law I plan to specialize in is Indian Child Welfare. I want to be an expert in Indian Child Welfare because our children continue to be removed from their families and tribal communities. A child removed from their tribal community is a generation lost. My passion for Indian Child Welfare was influenced by the lack of knowledge of state family courts, the child welfare system, and attorneys. 

Which courses or professors had the most significant impact on your legal education and why? 

The course that had the most significant impact on my legal education was Law 467 – Tribal Courts. I learned about how tribal courts operate and the role that federal law plays in shaping the authority of tribal courts. This class altered my legal path to consider becoming a tribal court judge.  

What are your immediate plans post-graduation? 

I will start law school at Arizona State University in the fall of 2024 to continue my legal journey. I am excited because I look forward to giving back to the community, which has given so much to me.  

How do you hope to make a difference in the legal field or in society through your career? Future career plans? 

I plan to make a disruptive difference in the legal field and society. I aspire to champion tribal justice and lead legal reforms within tribal courts. Beyond the bench, I plan to engage in policy advocacy to influence policy that strengthens tribal sovereignty. As a tribal court judge, it is not just about the legal proceedings; it’s about weaving justice into the fabric of our community's well-being.  

Looking back on your experience at the college, what would you have done differently or what advice would you give to your younger self? 

The advice I would give you my younger self – you are worthy, and you can make a difference.  

What will you miss most about University of Arizona Law and/or Tucson?  

As an online student, I will miss engaging with classmates during our discussion posts.  

What are you most proud of while at Arizona Law?  

 These last two years have been challenging – but I did it!  

Message for your fellow Class of 2024:   

Congratulations! You’ve embarked on a remarkable journey—one that blends knowledge, camaraderie, and growth. As you step into this new chapter, here’s my heartfelt message: Find your passion and always remember to get into good trouble, necessary trouble for transformative change!