Center for Indian Law & Policy

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Internships & Externships

Indian Estate Planning Intern Program

The Institute for Indian Estate Planning and Probate (IIEPP), develops and oversees programs, both locally and nationally, that create legal opportunities for law students while serving within and on behalf of Native American communities. These programs include:

Summer Internship Program

For the past several years, the Indian Estate Planning Project has provided estate planning services to tribal members throughout Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. Indian estate planning has become particularly complex with the American Indian Probate Reform Act taking effect in 2006.

Summer Internship

Few law student summer internships offer this level and quality of direct client involvement while also serving communities that would otherwise go without these essential services.

The summer Indian Estate Planning Intern Program provides exceptional direct client experiences and places specially trained law students from ABA accredited schools within Native American Tribal communities throughout Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. The Program is seeking to expand its services to include additional tribal communities both nationally and throughout the Pacific Northwest. The Program provides these services at no cost to clients and without regard to clients' income.

The interns attend a three-day, fully paid, training session at Seattle University School of Law on the history of federal laws and policies creating trust lands and fractionation, trust and non-trust estate planning under federal, state and tribal laws, the federal probate process, the American Indian Probate Reform Act, will drafting and working within reservation communities. Upon completing the training, the interns provide 10 weeks of full-time estate planning legal services to tribal members on a designated reservation, under the direct supervision of licensed attorneys.

Qualifications: Applicants should be law students in their first, second, or third year. Preference will be given to those who have successfully completed a Wills and Trusts course. A background in Indian Law or experience with tribal communities is a plus but is not required. Students are required to complete the training from May 15-17, 2017, and then work on their designated reservation for at least 10 consecutive weeks during the summer. 

 Pay: $5,500 plus expense stipend.

 Exceptional Legal Experience

Students who are summer interns with the Project gain unique legal training in a specialized area of the law. Interns also obtain the invaluable experiences of living within tribal communities while working directly with clients who are preparing their end of life documents. This project seamlessly intersects with the social justice mission of the School of Law. For more information, please read what former law students interns had to say.

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Application Process

Please submit: (i) cover letter, (ii) resume, (iii) unofficial transcript, and (iv) 3 references to: Brooke Pinkham, pinkhamb@seattleu.edu, or the address listed below:

Brooke Pinkham
The Center for Indian Law & Policy
Seattle University School of Law
901 12th Ave.
Seattle, WA 98122

We will begin reviewing applications on a rolling basis beginning January 1, 2017, and will continue until all positions are filled. 

For more information on the Summer Indian Estate Planning Project contact Brooke Pinkham, Director, Center for Indian Law & Policy, at (206) 398-4084 or via email at pinkhamb@seattleu.edu.

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What former law student interns say

 

"I had a wonderful summer filled with experiences that I will never forget. I would definitely do the internship again in a heartbeat. I cannot say enough positive things about my experience and working with the Institute and my supervisor. I will highly recommend the internship to others."

Amelia Champion, Intern on Blackfeet Indian Reservation
Willamette University

 

"I had such a great time living and working on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. I made life long friends and received such a better understanding of current American Indian life."

Derek E. Kline, Intern on Blackfeet Indian Reservation
Vermont Law School

 

"This Project helped cement my desire to do this type of work after graduation."

Joshua Curtis, Intern on Swinomish Indian Reservation
Seattle University School of Law

 

"The greatest success of this internship came from the client interviews. While most of the clients know more about their land than I do, I was able to explain to them exactly what their options are for all of their land."

Eric Winn, Intern on the Umatilla Indian Reservation
University of Oregon

 

"One day after completing the execution ceremony for a client whose previous will was destroyed in a house fire, she came up to me and thanked me with a hug. I suddenly realized the real reason why I was here. It is all about building relationships and giving people piece of mind that things will be taken care of when they pass away."

Leah Myers, Intern on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation
University of Oregon

 

"The experience of writing Indian wills and serving the community is extremely rewarding."

Micah Thomas, Intern on Crow Reservation
Roger Williams University School of Law

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Local and National Legal Internship Opportunities for Law Students

 

The Center for Indian Law & Policy is currently developing other legal opportunities for law students, in collaboration with tribal communities and affiliates throughout the country including the Puget Sound area. For information on these developments, or if you are a Tribe interested in having a summer intern provide services to your tribal members, please contact Brooke Pinkham at pinkhamb@seattleu.edu or (206) 398-4084.

Indian Law Externships

The Center works closely with law firms, businesses, tribes and federal agencies to find appropriate placements for students who are interested in gaining first-hand experience working in the field of Indian law.