Indian Child Welfare Clinic – 7098

* Multi-semester course

The Indian Child Welfare Act Clinic (the “ICWA Clinic”) is a full academic year, four credit program beginning in the fall semester. The casework focuses on litigation involving the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and Tribal Code.

During the fall semester, class sessions will focus on the historical context, present day application and future implications of ICWA. This will include a focus on understanding ICWA in the broader context of Indian Law. Classes will include guest lecturers, who are leaders in the American Indian Community. The class will include guided discussion and analysis of the historical context and role of courts in the lives of American Indian families. The class will provide a context to consider the effectiveness and equity of the child protection system in the lives of American Indian families today. Students will learn Juvenile Court and Tribal Court procedure and advocacy skills to provide direct representation to families. Classes will not meet in the spring semester.

The Indian Child Welfare Act Law Center works to strengthen preserve and reunited Indian families consistent with the mandates and spirit of the Indian Child Welfare Act. The ICWA
Law Center is a non-profit, American Indian legal services organization committed to providing the highest quality of legal representation to Indian families involving in child custody
proceedings implicating ICWA. The ICWA Law Center has represented over 5,000 American Indian families in child protection proceedings since 1993. ICWA Clinic Students will advocate on behalf of ICWA Law Center clients.

ICWA Clinic Students will present in court in at least 10 hearings involving either the Indian Child Welfare Act or Tribal Code. Shannon Smith and Andrea Braun will supervise students in their casework. In addition to presenting at 10 hearings, Students will provide case support in 2 cases from the beginning of the fall semester through the spring semester or until the case is closed. This may include experiences such as client meetings, preparing motions and trial binders, drafting legal memorandum and presenting in court.

Additional Commitments: During the Spring Semester, students will participate in 3 Roundtables. The Roundtables will be held at the ICWA Law Center during lunch.

What to expect when working on cases and with clients: To ensure a fulfilling experience in the ICWA Clinic, students must be willing to make a substantial time commitment beyond the classroom. This may require students to schedule classes in a way that allows for appearances in court and client contact.

NOTE: This course requires certification pursuant to the student practice rule and is open to JD students only. 


JD only

Graduation Requirements
Experiential Learning
Subject Area
Civil Litigation *
Family Law *
Litigation, Alternative Dispute Resolution & Advocacy
Student Year
Upper Division
Grade base
A - F
Course type