Where are they now? 7 and Counting… The Procopio Native American Internship Alumni.

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

As we begin our journey looking for talent for our 2015 Procopio Native American Internship program throughout Indian Country, I think it is important to pause and reflect on the alumni that have made this program what it is today. We have reconnected with each of our alumni and want to share with you what they are doing and where they are doing it from – it is a diverse group of sovereigns and regions represented by Procopio’s talented alumni.

Eric Abeita, from Isleta Pueblo, is the Managing Editor for the Tribal Law Journal at the University of New Mexico College of Law. He is also representing Native clients in state, federal, and tribal courts and in governments agency hearings at through his legal clinic experience with the Southwest Indian Law Clinic. He has worked in various sales and marketing positions within Indian Country. He previously interned with Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Mielke & Brownell LLP where he gained experience in Native American law.

Fernando Anzaldua is a citizen of the Tohono O’odham Nation. Fernando is a federal attorney for the National Labor Relations Board. He is a 2013 gradate of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University where he also earned an Indian Legal Certificate. During his law school career he was a student attorney for the Indian Legal Clinic and was involved in the Native American Law Student Association and the Law Journal for Social Justice. He earned his undergraduate degree in philosophy and political science in addition to obtaining his ethics degree from ASU.

Stephanie Conduff is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. She is an associate in our Procopio office in Oklahoma whose practice emphasizes working with tribal governments, individual Native people and companies doing business in Indian Country. She graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Law. Stephanie served as a judicial clerk for Chief Justice Barbara Smith of the Chickasaw Nation Supreme Court. Stephanie is certified to assist tribal courts as a Peacemaker. She has worked for her tribal government in Washington D.C. managing legislative affairs and $350 million worth of appropriation requests. Stephanie also worked for Cherokee Nation Businesses, with $715 million in annual revenue, to diversify their industries and create jobs for tribal citizens throughout Indian Country. Bringing an international indigenous perspective, she has contributed to United Nations reports on human rights from Bogota, Colombia, and also studied Indigenous Peoples Law in Geneva, Switzerland. She has a Master of Public Policy (MPP) from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota where she was a MacArthur Fellow. Stephanie earned her undergraduate degrees from the University of Oklahoma in political science and journalism. She worked for the U.S. Department of State at U.S. Embassy – Pretoria, South Africa, and was a reporter for Boston Globe. Oklahoma Magazine recognized her as a “40 Under 40.”

Trinidad Contreras is a citizen of the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel and is a descendant of the Pala Band of Mission Indians. He is currently a judicial clerk for the Superior Court in Fairbanks, Alaska. He received his law degree from the University of Arizona, College of Law and his LL.M. from the U.C. Los Angeles. Trinidad received his undergraduate degrees from U.C. Berkeley in Native American Studies and molecular and cellular biology and a masters degree at the University of Arizona in Federal Indian Law and Policy. He previously completed legal externships with the Pascua Yaqui National Public Defender’s Office in Tucson, Arizona, the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Tribal Justice, Washington, DC, the U.S. Federal District Court, District of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, and the National Indian Gaming Association in Washington, DC.

Kelsey Leonard is a citizen of the Shinnecock Indian Nation and entering her final year of law school at Dusquene University Law School. She received her undergraduate degree from Harvard University, where she served within various Native undergraduate organizations, including the Ivy Native Council and the Harvard University Native American Program. She then attended the University of Oxford, England, where she was the first Native American woman to receive a degree from Oxford, receiving her masters in Water Science, Policy and Management. Kelsey has previously worked for the National Congress of American Indians and as an environmental consultant on water resource management projects prior to her current pursuit of a law degree. During her years at Duquesne University School of Law she has served as President of the Indigenous Law Society and as an associate editor on the Duquesne Energy and Environmental Law Journal. Kelsey is currently the Tribal Co-Lead on the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body for the National Ocean Council charged with guiding the protection, maintenance, and restoration of America’s oceans and coasts.

Christopher Scott is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and entering his final year of law school at the University of Oklahoma College of Law. He is the Note and Comment Editor for the American Indian Law Review. Christopher is also involved in the Native American Law Students Association. He served as a legal intern at the Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma and was a Legal Assistant at the Wall Law Office.

Jaclyn Simi is a member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma. She graduated with honors from Notre Dame de Namur University and received her law degree from California Western Law School, where she was president of the Native American Law Students Association. Jaclyn received the Distinguished Advocate award recipient for her National Moot Court Negotiation Team and was nominated as one of The Daily Transcript’s Best Young Attorneys (2013). She is active in the Native American Lawyers Association of San Diego County, the Lawyers Club of San Diego and the American Indian Chamber of Commerce.

Ted is head of the Native American Law practice group and primary editor for the Blogging Circle. Connect with Ted at ted.griswold@procopio.com and 619.515.3277.