2016 Procopio Native American Practice Group Internships Awarded to Heather Torres and Kele Bigknife

By: Theodore J. Griswold | Partner | ted.griswold@procopio.com

Procopio is pleased to welcome Ms. Heather Torres (UCLA School of Law) and Mr. Kele Bigknife (University of Michigan School of Law) as the 2016 summer interns for the firm’s Native American Practice Group. The internship program is designed to help increase opportunities for the Native American Bar as tomorrow’s leaders prepare to start their legal careers.

Each year Procopio attorneys and partners meet in consultation with tribal leaders throughout Indian Country to identify law students with qualities necessary to work along Native communities to meet their development goals. The firm has relationships with more than forty law schools with Federal Indian Law programs and advertises nationally in Native-owned and operated media channels—including Indianz.com and on Turtle Talk. It is from this applicant pool of the top candidates of law students from across the country interested in working with tribal governments that Procopio selects its two summer interns each year.

Ms. Heather Torres is a second year law student at UCLA School of Law. Ms. Torres is a citizen of the Pueblo of San Ildefonso. She worked on Capitol Hill as a research assistant for a United States Senator for the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs while joining a national network of Udall Scholars. Ms. Torres is currently externing with the Children’s Law Center in the Indian Child Welfare Court. She is also on Law Review and the Executive Editor of the Indigenous Peoples’Journal of Law. Ms. Torres has a Masters in Collaborative Educational Leadership. She also graduated Cum Laude from UCLA in English and American Indian Studies.

Mr. Kele Bigknife is a second year law student at the University of Michigan College of Law.  A native San Diegan, he is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. Mr. Bigknife is an Associate Editor of the Michigan Business and Entrepreneurial Law Review. Mr. Bigknife previously worked at a Southern California law firm where he gained litigation experience and assisted in drafting depublication requests to the California Supreme Court in issues regarding tribal sovereignty. As Eagle Scout and active community volunteer, Mr. Bigknife is prepared to start the next phase of his career combining his community interests with is legal practice.

Procopio’s Native American practice group extends the firm’s tradition of giving back to the community it serves through its summer internship program for Native American law students or law students interested in Native American law. The ten-week paid internship provides an opportunity for a Native American law student, or law student emphasizing Native American Law, to gain hands-on experience dealing with everyday legal issues facing Native American communities. Procopio Interns also reach out to local Native American youth to provide guidance and inspiration regarding educational direction and opportunities. Upon completion of the internship, alumni are actively mentored and connected to assist in developing each intern’s legal network within the Native American Bar. Notably, Stephanie Conduff, a 2013 intern and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, continued to work with Procopio following her internships. For more about the Internship Alumni, click here.

Ted GriswoldTed leads the Native American Law practice group and is the primary editor for the Blogging Circle. Please connect with Ted at ted.griswold@procopio.com and 619.515.3277.