Legal Profession


For Native American Attorneys, NNABA Groundbreaking Study Reveals Devastating Lack of Inclusion in the Legal Profession at Large

Document Type

Issue/Research Brief/Blog

Publication Date



lawyer demographics, race and ethnicity


This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Federal Bar Association’s Indian Law Conference. The theme is 40 Years Strong: The Indian Self-Determination Era Strengthening Tribal Sovereignty. While tribal sovereignty has been strengthened over time, the status and inclusion of Native American attorneys remain challenging at best, particularly in the legal profession at large. In 2014, there were a number of firsts for Native American attorneys. Hon. Diane Humetewa became the first Native American woman in our nation’s history to become a federal judge. Keith Harper became the first Native American to achieve the rank of ambassador by becoming the U.S. representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council. These achievements are certainly monumental. What stands out, however, is that before 2014, the legal profession had never formally studied the perceptions, experiences, and career trajectories of Native American attorneys.