Ogden Murphy Wallace is committed to enhancing the educational opportunities of law students from marginalized backgrounds. This April, the firm proudly supported Nohely Diaz and the Seattle University School of Law’s Native American Law Student Association (NALSA) as they attended the Federal Bar Association’s 49th Annual Indian Law Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Here, we'd like to share Nohely's thoughts on her experience, provided below:

“Having the opportunity to attend FedBar as a first-year law student at Seattle University was one of the major highlights of my law school experience thus far. When it came to applying to law school, I was adamant about being in an environment that uplifted Indigenous students and recognized their contributions and achievements in the legal field. Being of mixed Indigenous background, Tepehuán and Muisca, I recognize the important role I have in being able to advocate for Indigenous communities at every available opportunity. When I found out that our

NALSA chapter had previously attended FedBar and learned from Native American professionals and allies, I knew that this was a valuable experience that provided crucial exposure and connection-building regarding different areas of the law that have an impact on the lives of Native Americans.

Attending FedBar emphasized the need for not only awareness about the current issues in Indian Country but the need for robust solutions. One area that I was excited to learn more about was the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). One of the panels provided valuable information about child welfare issues and what it means to have voluntary proceedings, how consent is obtained, recurring issues, as well as what due process should look like for parents and families. I have an interest in gaining a greater understanding as to what requirements must be met under ICWA and this event provided me with an understanding that I can refer to as I continue my education. Additionally, tabling at the event allowed me to connect with the larger Indigenous community and legal practitioners, bringing in new connections for students searching for opportunities in Indian law, like me.

One of the goals I had when beginning law school was to work with my fellow NALSA members to present their work and research on Native issues. By attending the conference, I was motivated once more about having my team present in the future. As I step into the role of NALSA Vice President next year, it is important that I lead my fellow students in engaging with the larger community in different ways. I have been inspired by the work they already engage in, such as participating in legal aid clinics on reservations or doing intersectional work regarding the environment.

I am thankful for the fact that this trip was made possible by Ogden Murphy Wallace PLLC. Without such a contribution, my team would not have been able to send 12 students to FedBar. It was amazing to see the conversations it started, as well as reaffirm many of the career aspirations they hold. My fellow members worked hard on raising funds and having this donation helped make the trip possible. By having such a successful venture, further attention is brought to our law school to recognize the interest our students have in Indian law and provide additional classes for the student body. We are excited for what the future has in store for the NALSA chapter at Seattle University School of Law. It is the support that we receive from firms like Ogden Murphy Wallace PLLC and the greater legal community that has helped make so many of these opportunities possible.”