Program Description:

California Indian Legal Services is a statewide, tribally controlled, non-profit corporation that provides legal services to Indian tribes, Indian organizations and low-income individual Indians on issues involving Federal Indian Law.  CILS provides a variety of legal services including brief counsel and advice and extended representation on core legal issues affecting Native Americans and Indian tribes.  CILS is involved in litigation, policy analysis and advocacy, and also provides transactional services to tribes involving economic development and tribal infrastructure.

CILS has four offices throughout California.  Our Sacramento office serves 38 counties statewide that include 51 of the 109 federally recognized tribes in California. For additional information about CILS, check out:

Job Description:

Supervised by the Directing Attorney, the Staff Attorney will work collaboratively with other staff to provide exceptional legal services in all areas of federal Indian law.  Our fast-paced office provides legal services on issues of jurisdiction, tax, estate planning, trust assets, environmental law, natural resource development, tribal governance, employment, and the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).  The Staff Attorney will assume a varied case load that may include: brief counsel and services to low income Indian individuals; state and federal court litigation; contract negotiation; advising tribal clients; developing and implementing constitutions, codes, and policies for tribal clients; making presentations; and ICWA related dependency cases. Staff Attorney client development responsibilities include developing and maintaining effective relationships with tribes and Indian organizations in the service territory, including all funding sources, and ensuring that the office pursues and secures meaningful opportunities to work with tribes, Indian organizations, and Indian individuals throughout the service territory.  Client development includes all CILS funding sources (grants, contracts, donations, etc.).

Staff Attorneys also collaborate with Directing Attorneys and the Legal Director for the purpose of legal work management that includes staff attorney mentoring and supervision, assistance and administration of local legal work management systems, and grant and special project development and implementation, as directed by the Directing Attorney and/or the Legal Director.

Required Qualifications:

  • D. and California bar membership in good standing.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of federal Indian law with at least 1-3 years of experience practicing law.
  • Excellent communication, writing and organizational skills.
  • Strong work ethic and able to work occasional nights and weekends when many tribal councils meet.
  • Ability to travel overnight and a valid driver’s license.
  • A commitment to providing high quality legal services for Indian people.
  • Ability to work independently, as part of a team and to take initiative.

Desirable but not required qualifications:

  • Familiarity or experience working with Indian individuals, tribes or tribal communities.
  • Prior legal services experience.
  • Experience in dependency/child welfare law.


Starting at $75,000. CILS offers generous benefits including family/partner medical, vision and dental benefits, AD&D, short & long-term disability insurances, life insurance, Section 125 Flexible Spending Accounts, payment of bar dues, generous leave policies, optional telework schedule, and potential for annual performance incentive.

To Apply:

Submit a resume, cover letter and writing sample via email to Kia Murdoch, Directing Attorney, California Indian Legal Services, Re: Sacramento Staff Attorney, 117 J Street, Suite 201, Sacramento, CA 95814.  E-mail: We will accept applications until the position is filled.  Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. We will accept applications until the position is filled.  Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.


Staff Attorney
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