News Release

National Tribal Trial College

The National Tribal Trial College, in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Law, awarded Certificates in Tribal Court Legal Advocacy to 34 new Tribal Court Legal Advocates. The six-month course is sponsored by the Office on Violence Against Women, United States Department of Justice and enables graduates to practice law and represent clients in tribal courts.

The 34 graduates represent 26 different Tribes located in 16 different states. The intensive training enables them to represent clients in tribal court divorce, child custody, child support, visitation, domestic violence protection orders and victim rights cases.

“Our graduates are actually more qualified to provide legal representation in tribal courts than most attorneys”, says the Dean of the National Tribal Trial College, Hallie Bongar White. “This is the only Certificate program in the country directly addressing the shortage of legal representation in tribal communities. Our graduates undergo more than 20 weeks and 200 hours of online study before completing 40 hours of trial skills training. The faculty all have practical, real world litigation expertise in advancing safety and justice in Indian Country and in Alaska Native Villages.”

Graduates are required to master legal research, writing, and analysis through a series of readings, online lecture videos, written assignments, and quizzes. Only the top students in the online course then qualify to attend the award winning, in-person courtroom training at the University of Wisconsin Law School. 

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the University of Wisconsin-Madison cancelled all in-person meetings on campus for the summer. NTTC staff and faculty met this challenge by transforming the 40-hour in-person trial skills portion of the training (traditionally held on the UW Law campus) into a 100% online and interactive training with faculty. Now in its 7th year, the National Tribal Trial College has graduated 177 legal advocates representing clients in tribal courts from Alaska to Massachusetts with the full and generous support of the University of Wisconsin system. 

For more information about the National Tribal Trial College: please visit www.nttconline.org or contact bongarwhite@swclap.org.

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