U.S. Department of Justice - Office of Tribal Justice Internship Exceeds Expectations

March 13, 2013 | By Tyler Fish, JD Class of 2013

This semester I have had the amazing opportunity to work at the U.S. Department of Justice - Office of Tribal Justice (OTJ) in Washington, D.C. OTJ is the primary point of contact between the Department of Justice and all of the 566 federally recognized American Indian tribes. OTJ maintains liaison with those tribes while promoting the internal uniformity of the Department on policies and litigating positions on matters relating to Indian Country.

Since my background and legal education has focused on American Indian law and policy development, OTJ was a natural fit for my goals and interests. And, the opportunity to receive full-time credit for such an amazing experience is precisely why I chose the University of Oklahoma College of Law over others.

The bulk of my efforts this spring have focused on a case recently granted certiorari before the United States Supreme Court. It has been simply amazing to watch the process work from the "inside" of the federal machine. It's even more significant that a party to the case is the American Indian nation of which I am citizen myself. The gravity of every task related to the case intensifies when I realize the implications it has for Indian Country, the U.S. federal government and all of the respective state regimes.

My time here has been a moving and substantial factor in my personal and professional development in the legal profession.

My externship at OTJ has left nothing to be desired and is an exemplary reason why I will be proud to call myself a "Sooner Lawyer."

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