Tribal Legal Development Clinic

Welcome to the Tribal Legal Development Clinic. The clinic connects law students directly with tribal leaders, officers, and attorneys, to provide legal development services to Indian tribes. The clinic hosts non-litigation, tribally-driven projects that cover a wide cross-section of subjects. Students work in teams, consult regularly with the tribal liaison, and produce a work product under the supervision of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Tribal Legal Development Clinic Director.

The clinic is designed to foster the next generation of tribal lawyers. Students are exposed to the complexities, historical contexts, and professional and ethical responsibilities of tribal lawyering. Whenever possible, clinic students travel to Indian country to meet with tribal clients to collaborate, deliver work products to governing bodies, and participate in relevant meetings and hearings.

Clinic projects have included drafting statutes and other governing documents, researching and drafting appellate bench memorandums, building court infrastructure, and developing training materials. Prior projects have spanned the subject-matter spectrum and have included repatriation and cultural resource protection, family law, restorative justice, civil procedure, criminal procedure, non-profit development and more.

The clinic welcomes all inquiries and project proposals from interested tribes. The clinic seeks potential projects that are ripe for student contribution and accommodating to a semester timeframe.

The clinic is a part of UCLA Law’s Native Nations Law & Policy Center, a national resource for the support of Native Nations. The center successfully works to enhance Indian nations' laws and governmental institutions while advancing cultural resource protection.

Who We Are

  • TLDC Director

    Mica LlerandiMica Llerandi
    San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Tribal Legal Development Clinic Director

    Mica Llerandi (Diné/Navajo) is the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Director of the UCLA Tribal Legal Development Clinic at UCLA School of Law.  She previously worked as a Senior Attorney at California Tribal Families Coalition where she worked on Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), tribal child welfare, and California dependency matters.

    Llerandi was a staff attorney at California Indian Legal Services where she worked on a variety of legal matters, including American Indian Probate Reform Act wills, ICWA cases, administering tribal elections, and code development. Llerandi also previously worked as a domestic violence attorney on the Navajo Nation with DNA-People's Legal Services, as a deputy prosecutor with the Gila River Indian Community, and as a guardian ad litem on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.  She also served as an attorney with Children’s Legal Services of San Diego where she represented minors in dependency cases.

    Llerandi received her B.A. at Yale University and her J.D. at University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law.

    More Information

  • Program Administrator

    Rue CepedaRue Cepeda
    San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Tribal Legal Development Program Administrator

    Rue Cepeda (Querétaro Hñöhñö) is Program Administrator for the Native Nations Law and Policy Center and the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Tribal Legal Development Clinic at UCLA Law.

    As an alumna of California State University, Long Beach, she brings with her a B.A. in Psychology, and a Certificate in American Indian and Indigenous Studies. During her time at the university, she served as the Coordinator for the Puvungna Cultural Resource Center, serving all of the program and event needs for American Indian students; as well as the school's five cultural identity centers, through the Office of Multicultural Affairs. Rue was an Audience Researcher for educational programs at Rancho Los Alamitos; an archaeological site for the Gabrielino-Tongva; where elementary students learn from tribal elders.

    Rue also serves as a recurring workshop leader for International Indigenous Youth Council - Los Angeles, and Esperanza Community Housing Center.

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