News & Updates

the Yakama Nation Public Defender-Legal Aid Services Program seeks an attorney
December 13, 2022 | Chinami Arai


Announcement #2022-336
Closing Date:01-03-23
Attorney II
Public Defender
Department of Justice Services
Hourly Wage: $42.99-$49.34/Regular/Full-Time

A full-time position in office in Toppenish with a rate of pay from $42.99 to $49.34 plus benefits

The employee serves as attorney for the Yakama Nation Public Defender-Legal Aid Services Program and is responsible for providing quality professional legal representation and advice to tribal member clients in Tribal, Municipal, State and Federal Court systems or administrative agencies as assigned by the Lead Attorney-Program Manager. Employee is responsible for providing a full range of legal services to tribal members in areas such as, criminal, dependency, children’s court, fish and game, civil, family and Federal Indian Law matters, as assigned by the Lead Attorney-Program Manager. Services include legal research, evaluation of potential cases, analyzes and preparation of accepted cases, motions, hearings, trials and appeals. The attorney may be appointed by the courts as a Guardian Ad Litem in custody matters. In addition the attorney will provide legal education law clinics for the public as assigned.

Examples of Work Performed:
 Responsible for providing legal representation required by the Tribal membership, including representation before Tribal, State, Federal Courts and administrative agencies.
 Provide intake and screening of potential clientele to avoid conflicts of interest and ensure ethical representation of clients.
 Provide preliminary formal and/or informal consultation and legal advice to clientele.
 Provides legal advice on question of Federal, State and Tribal law, Treaty and Constitutional rights, Indian lands, and Tribal sovereignty, when necessary and approved by the Lead Attorney Program Manager.
 Must be capable of demonstrating and utilizing knowledge of Indian Law, and in particular, handle legal issues related to jurisdiction in Indian Country.
 Must have the ability to conduct legal research, evaluation of legal complexities concerning cases, and the analysis and preparation of cases, briefs, reports, resolutions, narratives, and testimonies.
 Must demonstrate sufficient trial experience to be able to immediately try cases before juries and the bench.
 Must be familiar with traditional Yakama Tribal laws and practices as they pertain to the Yakama Traditional hearings and Tribal Court practices.
 Must be able to formulate and draft complex legal documents required in litigation and general legal services for individual Tribal membership.
 Performs other duties as assigned.


Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:
 Knowledge of standard court procedures, evidence rules, and application of legal principles relative to practicing law.
 Knowledge of Tribal laws, Tribal regulations, and Tribal government organization.
 Knowledge of applicable Federal/State laws and regulations.
 Knowledge of Yakama Tribal traditions and customs as they may pertain to Tribal Court practices.
 Knowledge of law library research methods and techniques to interpret and explain applicable constitutional provisions, statutes, regulations, case law and precedents.
 Ability to maintain close working relationships.
 Ability to communicate effectively both verbally and in written form.
 Ability to gain and maintain confidence of clients and professional staff of the Court(s) and other legal systems.
 Ability to be culturally sensitive to traditions and customs of the Yakama Nation.
 Ability to work under stress, independently handle hostile situations and sensitive information in a professional manner.
 Ability to maintain strict confidentiality.


Minimum Requirements:
 Graduation from an accredited School of Law with a Juris Doctor and six months of experience in professional legal work.
 Two years experience in Tribal legal office or Tribal Court prior to graduation.
 Required to pass a pre-employment drug test.
 Must possess a valid Washington State Driver’s License with the ability to obtain a Yakama Nation Tribal Driving Permit.
 Must sign a waiver to allow the Tribe to perform a criminal background check and must successfully pass an extensive criminal history background inquiry.
 Proof of being licensed and an active member in good standing of the Washington State Bar or licensed to practice before the courts of any other state or the United States and willingness with ability to pass the next Washington State Bar exam.
 Willingness to be admitted to practice law in the Yakama Tribal Court and other Tribal Courts as necessary, upon hire.
 Sworn statement by the candidate that his/her conduct or fitness to practice law has never been challenged in any jurisdiction; must not have any felony convictions or extensive misdemeanor record.

Preferred Requirements:
 History of work experience in public service law, poverty litigation and/or indigent defense or Indian law preferred.