Finding Legal Assistance

See also: Requesting Legal Assistance from the Native American Rights Fund

The websites below are organized into several groups, but many provide a wide variety of resources. This web page does not represent a complete list of legal aids available. If you think an additional site should be linked, please contact the library.

Your local libraries can be a helpful source of information and might be able to provide you with local directories of information about legal aid and lawyers. Your area might have a local bar association, for instance. (Check the business listing of your phone book.) Guidance on how to perform legal research is available at the library's research guides.

Types of Legal Assistance

1. Lawyers and Law Firms certain law firms specialize in Native American issues. While law firms may charge a premium for some services, they may also allow discounted, or even free, support for some services. Discounted or free service availability will generally depend on (1) the type of service, (2) situation of the client, or (3) availability of attorneys practicing pro bono work.

2. Pro Bono is a Latin term meaning done without compensation for the public good. Lawyers are encouraged to provide free legal service by volunteering their time. Lawyers practicing pro bono work can be found through pro bono service directories.

3. Legal Aid every state should have a legal aid service. These services are funded with federal, state, and private contributions. The support provided may vary from free (for some services) to affordable/discounted rates for other services. Colorado Legal Services, for instance, does not charge a fee so long as the client meets certain federal income guidelines.

Income eligibility for legal assistance: To find out if you may qualify for legal aid, check out the legal aid requirements set by the Legal Services Corporation. They establish maximum income levels for individuals eligible for legal assistance based on current Federal Poverty Guidelines. In addition the Legal Services Act provides that other specified factors shall be taken into account along with income. See the "Income Level for Individuals Eligible for Assistance" published in the Federal Register (Feburary 2, 2012 (Volume 77, Number 4904)).

4. Indian Law Clinics exist at some law schools. The clinics provide law students with experience in Native American law, and at the same time provide legal services to tribes and low-income Native clients. Some clinics will work with tribal governments, courts, organizations and attorneys. Other clinics will work with Native clients on Native issues, representing them in state, federal, tribal, and government hearings. Check the clinic near you for their practice guidelines.

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Bar Associations and Indian Law Sections

American Bar Association

American Bar Association

American Bar Association, State and Local Bar Association Directory

Federal Bar Association, Indian Law Section

Indian Bar Associations

Indigenous Bar Association

National Native American Bar Association (NNABA)

Navajo National Bar Association

State Bar Associations

Native American Bar Association of Arizona

California Indian Law Association

Colorado Indian Bar Association

Minnesota American Indian Bar Association

Native Hawaiian Bar Association

Northwest Indian Bar Association

Oklahoma Indian Bar Association

South Dakota Indian Country Bar

Native American Bar Association of Washington, DC

Indian Law Sections
(Some state bar associations have Indian law "sections." )


Indian Law Section of the Arizona State Bar

Indian Law Section of the Idaho State Bar

American Indian Law Section of the Michigan State Bar

Indian Law Section of the State Bar of Montana

Indian Law Section of the New Mexico State Bar

Indian Law Section of the Oregon State Bar

American Indian Law Section of the Texas Bar

Indian Law Section of the Washington State Bar Association

Indian Law Section of Wisconsin State Bar

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Lawyers and Law Firms

More about lawyers and law firms.

California Indian Legal Services

Guide to Colorado Legal Resources for Native Americans (Indian Law Clinic, University of Colorado School of Law)

Tribal Referral List (January 2006, 2nd Edition, Northwest Indian Bar Association and Washington State Bar Association, Indian Law Section)

American Bar Association, Consumers' Guide to Legal Help

FindLaw Lawyer Directory -- Scoll to the bottom of the web page and click on "Native Peoples Law" under the "CIVIL & HUMAN RIGHTS" topic. This link will take you to a page that will allow you to pick a state. After you have picked a state, there will be links which allow you to browse "Native Peoples Law" lawyers by location. If a native peoples law firm or lawyer is listed, a link will be provided to the attorney or law firm profile, with contact information and a full description of their practice areas.

Native American Attorney Profiles - Native American Lawyers - Cornell LII (Legal Information Institute) Lawyer Directory, Lawyer Locator -- Under "areas of practice " choose "Indians and Native Populations"

State Affiliates of the American Civil Liberties Union

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General Legal Aid and Pro Bono Services

      What are "legal aid" and "pro bono"? -- State Legal Aid Resources

Indian Law Resource Center

National Indian Justice Center

Legal Services Corporation -- Get Legal Assistance

National Association of Indian Legal Services (Wisconsin Judicare, Inc. Indian Law Office)

The book The Directory of Legal Aid and Defender Offices in the United States and Territories (order online from the National Legal Aid and Defender Association website) provides lists of "civil legal service offices," "defender offices," and "legal support services." Contact the library for assistance accessing this material or ask your local libraries if a copy of this book is available.

State & Regional Legal Aid and Pro Bono Services

Access to Justice (South Dakota)

Alaska Legal Services

Anishinabe Legal Services (Leech Lake, Red Lake, & White Earth Reservations in Northwestern Minnesota)

California Indian Legal Services

Colorado Legal Services

Dakota Plains Legal Services
528 Kansas City St, Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 342-7171

DNA People's Legal Services (Arizona, New Mexico, Utah)

Idaho Legal Aid Services

Michigan Indian Legal Services

Mississippi Center for Legal Services

Mississippi Choctaw Legal Defense

Montana Legal Services Association

Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation

Nebraska, Legal Aid of

Nevada Legal Services

New Mexico Legal Aid

North Carolina, Legal Services of

North Dakota, Legal Services of

Northwest Justice Project (Washington)

Oklahoma Indian Legal Services

Oregon, Legal Aid Services of -- Native American Program

Pine Tree Legal Assistance -- Links to Other Legal Services Organizations (Maine)

Southern Arizona Legal Aid

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid

Utah Legal Services

Wisconsin Judicare -- Indian Law Office

Wyoming, Legal Aid of

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Indian Law Clinics

What are "clinics"?

An Internet directory of Indian Law Clinics does not exist, so clinics are listed below. These organizations are associated with university law schools; therefore, descriptions are often written with the "prospective student" in mind. If a clinic is missing from the list, please alert the library.

The Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook People Native American Indian Legal Clinic

Arizona: Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program, Advocacy and Clinical Projects
     and Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University Indian Legal Clinic

California: UCLA American Indian Studies Center

Colorado: American Indian Law Clinic, University of Colorado Law School, in-take phone number: (303) 492-8126
Denver Indian Center - Walk-in clinic on the first Wednesday of each month at the Denver Indian Center.

Kansas: State Tribal Court Practice Clinic at Washburn University School of Law
     and Tribal Law and Government Center at the University of Kansas School of Law

Massachusetts: Indian Law and Indigenous Peoples Clinic, Suffolk University Law School

Michigan: Indigenous Law Clinic, Indigenous Law & Policy Center, Michigan State University College of Law

Minnesota: Indian Child Welfare Act Clinic, University of Minnesota

Montana: Indian Law Clinic, University of Montana

New Mexico: Southwest Indian Law Clinic, University of New Mexico

New York: Center for Indigenous Law, Governance and Citizenship, Syracuse University College of Law

North Dakota: Northern Plains Indian Law Center, University of North Dakota

Northwest: Northwest Justice Project

Oklahoma: Jodi G. Marquette American Indian Wills Clinic at Oklahoma City University

Washington: Tribal Court Public Defense Clinic, University of Washington
      and Indian Wills Clinic, Seattle University

Wisconsin: Great Lakes Indian Law Center, University of Wisconsin

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Dispute Resolution

Indian Dispute Resolution Services

Estate Planning and Probate

Institute for Indian Estate Planning and Probate and Indian Wills Clinic, Seattle University

Jodi G. Marquette American Indian Wills Clinic at Oklahoma City University

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Library Disclaimer: The library's web site contains links to information created and maintained by other organizations. Should you leave this web site and enter an external link, the library does not control and cannot guarantee the accuracy, relevance, or timeliness of information provided by linked sites. Providing a link to a web site does not constitute an endorsement by the Native American Rights Fund or its library, any of its employees, board of directors, funders or National Support Committee of the information provided by that web site. These web pages do not constitute, in any way, shape or form, legal advice, and should not be construed as a replacement for direct legal counsel. If you desire legal advice, you should consult competent legal counsel.

I need help...

>> Learning about my family and genealogy

>> Finding a Native Peoples program for college or law school

>> Getting a scholarship or other financial aid

>> Finding a job in Indian Country

>> Finding a lawyer

We specialize in Indian law and do not have expertise in the topics above. We cannot help research these areas, but we hope that the guides above will help you get started.