Tribal Justice Clinic

Directed by Professor James Diamond, students enrolled in IPLP’s Tribal Justice Clinic provide legal assistance to tribes throughout the Southwest, North America, and the world. They serve as tribal judicial clerks, write amicus briefs, develop legal strategies, and work beside criminal defenders and tribal prosecutors in courtroom settings. They contribute to important tribal justice projects, researching best practices, drafting legislation, and developing tribal codes.

Students research legal issues and help try cases in support of tribal efforts to improve the administration of justice and good governance in Indian Country. The Tribal Justice Clinic gives students vital experience working with tribal communities on emerging legal and policy issues, preparing them as lawyers to enter the field with practical experience and established relationships with community leaders.

Clinic Projects

Students working in the clinic have:

  • Assisted in writing an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court
  • Written draft court opinions for the Navajo Nation Supreme Court
  • Written tribal ordinances
  • Advised criminal defense counsel on important Indian law subjects in a capital murder case
  • Prepared bench books for tribal court judges
  • Served as guardian ad litem for children in tribal court

Practical Experience

Students gain practical experience in criminal law, civil litigation and procedure, and trial advocacy within tribal court settings. The Tribal Justice Clinic gives students vital experience:

  • Working with tribal communities on emerging legal and policy issues
  • Gaining trial advocacy skills for clients in tribal court systems
  • Advocating for justice within tribal communities
  • Researching critical issues in federal Indian law
  • Establishing relationships with community leaders

Tribal Justice Clinic Director, Professor James Diamond

Professor Jim Diamond completed his Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) with IPLP in 2014. His doctoral dissertation focused on reconciliation after mass shootings and the history of criminal dispute resolution among the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians and other indigenous communi¬ties. Certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy as a Criminal Trial Specialist, Diamond has tried more than 30 jury trials to verdict. Over the course of his career he has represented clients in pre-trial hearings, trials, and appeals, defending more than 1,000 criminal cases. He advises Indian tribes and has conducted training of tribal court prosecutors, defense lawyers, and judges on trial skills and procedures in tribal courts.