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Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) Update 2023

Total Credits: 1 CLE

Average Rating:
Juvenile Law |  Indian Law |  Family Law
Kathryn Fort |  Doreen Nanibaa McPaul |  Virjinya Ruth Adair Torrez
56 Minutes
Audio and Video
Original Program Date:
May 24, 2023


Join us for our annual update on litigation concerning the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) with Professor Kate Fort.  Provides a concise, comprehensive overview of what’s happened in the past year regarding ICWA.

Kathryn E. Fort, Director of Clinics, Director of Indian Law Clinic, Academic Specialist, Michigan State University College of Law

Doreen McPaul, Esq.; President, Tribal In-House Counsel Association
Virjinya Torrez, Assistant Attorney General, Pascua Yaqui Tribe; Secretary, Tribal In-House Counsel Association



Kathryn Fort Related seminars and products

Director of Clinics

Michigan State University College of Law

Kathryn (Kate) E. Fort is the Director of Clinics at Michigan State University College of Law and runs the Indian Law Clinic, where she teaches the Clinic class and other classes in federal Indian law. In 2015, she started the Indian Child Welfare Act Appellate Project, which represents tribes in complex ICWA litigation across the country. She is the author of American Indian Children and the Law, published by Carolina Academic Press. Prof. Fort has written articles on laches and land claims and has researched and written extensively on the Indian Child Welfare Act. Her publications include articles in the Harvard Public Health Review, George Mason Law Review, Saint Louis University Law Journal, and American Indian Law Review. She co-edited Facing the Future: The Indian Child Welfare Act at 30 with Profs. Wenona T. Singel and Matthew L.M. Fletcher (Michigan State University Press 2009). She contributes the popular and influential Indian law blog, TurtleTalk. Prof. Fort is a popular guest lecturer and speaker at conferences, trainings, and law school classes around the country. Prof. Fort graduated magna cum laude in from Michigan State University College of Law with the Certificate in Indigenous Law and is licensed to practice law in Michigan. She received her B.A. in History with honors from Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia.

Doreen Nanibaa McPaul Related seminars and products

Attorney General

is Navajo (Kinyaa'áanii) and grew up on the Navajo Reservation in Chinle, Arizona. She is a 1991 graduate of Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, Massachusetts. She is also a 1995 graduate of Princeton University and earned her Juris Doctorate in 2001 from the ASU College of Law, where she also received a Certificate in Federal Indian Law and served as a staff writer for the ASU Law Journal. After law school, Ms. McPaul clerked for the Honorable Jefferson L. Lankford (retired) at the Arizona Court of Appeals in Phoenix. She has worked as a staff attorney for the Navajo Nation Judicial Branch, as an associate attorney at the Nordhaus Law Firm in Albuquerque, and as a visiting clinical law professor and Interim Director of the Indian Legal Clinic at ASU. Since 2008, Ms. McPaul has worked as an in-house tribal attorney for several Arizona tribes, and currently serves as the Attorney General for her own tribe, the Navajo Nation. As Attorney General, Ms. McPaul is the Nation's Chief Legal Officer and is responsible for representing the legal interests of the Navajo Nation as well as overseeing the Navajo Nation Department of Justice. Ms. McPaul has over 20 years of experience practicing Indian law, and is admitted to practice law in Arizona and New Mexico, as well as before several tribal and federal courts.
Ms. McPaul is a 2013 graduate of the State Bar's Bar Leadership Institute (BLI) and remains active in the State Bar and Indian legal community. In January of 2018, Ms. McPaul was one of the first American Indians appointed to serve on the State Bar of Arizona Board of Governors. The Supreme Court of Arizona re-appointed Ms. McPaul to serve on the Board in 2019 and again in 2020. Ms. McPaul is a founding board member and current president of the Tribal In-House Counsel Association (TICA), a growing national organization to support tribes in the exercise and protection of their sovereignty by providing informational networking and other support services and programming to in-house tribal attorneys and federal Indian law practitioners. She also currently serves on the Board to the American Indian Law Center and was most recently elected to membership in The American Law Institute.
Ms. McPaul is a proud military spouse and mom. She is married to SFC Mark McPaul (retired) and they have three sons.

Virjinya Ruth Adair Torrez Related seminars and products

Pascua Yaqui Tribe

is an Assistant Attorney General for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, a federally recognized Indian tribe located in Arizona. Virjinya earned both her J.D. and her M.A. in American Indian Studies at the University of Arizona, and she earned her B.A. in Political Science (specializing in International Relations) and East Asian Studies at the University of Iowa, with certificates in International Business and American Indian and Native Studies. She is admitted to practice in both the federal and state courts of Arizona, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Tohono O’odham Judicial Court, and the Pascua Yaqui Tribal Court. She is also an accredited Veteran Affairs attorney. Virjinya started her legal career as an associate at Vingelli & Errico, a small general practice firm in Tucson, Arizona; was a solo practitioner for a brief period of time; and served five years as an Assistant Attorney General for the Tohono O’odham Nation. Virjinya is a 2016 graduate of the State Bar of Arizona's Bar Leadership Institute; is the Immediate Past Chair of the Executive Council for the State Bar of Arizona’s Indian Law Section; serves as the appointed State Bar of Arizona’s representative on the Arizona State, Tribal & Federal Court Forum; and is a member of NABA-AZ, the Arizona Minority Bar Association, and the Tribal In-House Counsel Association. She is also active in the community and serves on TUSD’s Native American Education Advisory Committee, the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona’s Community Investment Team, the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona’s Governance Committee, and the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona’s Board of Directors. Virjinya's work for the Tribe is varied, but she primarily represents the Tribe’s Public Safety, Human Resources, Education, and Facilities Management Departments and programs. Virjinya is Cherokee/Seminole/Muscogee Creek, and is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. 10/18



Overall:      4.6

Total Reviews: 13


Daniel S

"Impactful presentation"

Joan B

"I find this topic fascinating and relevant to my practice. The case law update and the narrative were extremely helpful!"

Tiffany K

"I enjoyed this CLE; however, please do not make the assumption "we've heard this before". The speaker said this several times. This is the first time I've attended any ICWA CLE so I was a bit offended that I should just "know" what she's talking about. "

Shawn F

"The speaker seemed a bit rushed and flustered."

Alexandra M

"because they are all amazing!"