The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents has named Dr. Lindsay Robertson the first Chickasaw Nation Native American Law Chair at the University of Oklahoma College of Law. For the first time at any law school in the United States, a Native American Law Chair position will be held by a permanent faculty member.
Dr. Robertson holds a Ph.D. in History in addition to his law degree and first began practicing Indian Law in Washington, D.C. in 1988. “My practice focus before that time had been business and commercial law,” said Robertson. “I think the combination of experiences made it easier to both understand historic issues and the modern business needs of my clients.”
In 1990, he was invited to teach Federal Indian Law at his alma mater, the University of Virginia School of Law, which he did for seven years while still practicing law.
“The combination of classroom and practice experience further enhanced my appreciation for the complexities of the field and the importance of understanding real world consequences,” said Robertson.
Dr. Robertson joined the faculty at the OU College of Law in 1997, and currently teaches courses in Federal Indian Law, Comparative and International Indigenous Peoples Law, Constitutional Law and Legal History. He also serves as faculty director of the Center for the Study of American Indian Law and Policy and founding director of the International Human Rights Law Clinic.
“I love teaching Federal Indian Law courses, including law and MLS courses, because I almost daily see the practical lessons being pulled from the course by students who are in the class to benefit their communities,” said Robertson.
In addition to having among the nation’s most comprehensive Indian Law curricula, OU Law is at the forefront of curriculum development in International and Comparative Indigenous Peoples Law, including a seminar that is co-taught by Dr. Robertson with colleagues in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
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“Oklahoma is the historic Indian territory, and the home of almost 40 tribes,” said Robertson. “It's an incubator for creative practices in policy and tribal self-governance. I can't imagine working anywhere else.”
One example of innovation at the OU College of Law is the Master of Legal Studies in Indigenous Peoples Law program, which is an online program that offers a broad perspective on Native American law to non-lawyers or lawyers who wish to enhance their understanding of the field.
“The MLS in Indigenous Peoples Law program was designed to give a comprehensive training in Indigenous Peoples Law,” said Robertson. “The classes are taught by persons with decades of experience, all of whom have national reputations as leaders in their field.”
If you have an interest in Indigenous Peoples Law, it is worth considering the University of Oklahoma MLS in Indigenous Peoples Law program. This online graduate degree program provides a strong foundation in Native American Law for anyone who deals with contracts, negotiations or any other issues that demand knowledge of Native American policy, regulation or business practice.
“Despite the fact that it’s an online program, faculty are accessible to all students,” said Robertson. “Many of our students are working full-time for tribes or non-tribal entities, and we made the courses asynchronous so that they can participate when it’s convenient for them. We want all students to leave feeling they’ve learned a lot, and that the time and tuition were well-spent.”
When you’re considering a graduate program, it is important to choose an area of study that interests you, a school that is well known in your specific area of interest, and a faculty that has experience both in the classroom and in the workforce.
All students completing the MLS in Indigenous Peoples Law program can expect to have a class with Dr. Robertson, among other distinguished faculty. Visit oulawonline.com for more information or to apply.