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Tribal Defense Attorney - NEW 

Category Administration  

Tribal Defense Attorney

SUMMARY:  The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe is dedicated to fully exercising its sovereignty to prevent and reduce criminal activity and victimization on the Reservation.  At the same time, pursuant to the Lower Elwha Constitution, Article VII, Bill of Rights, the Lower Elwha Judicial Code §§ 1.2, 6.11(3)(c), and the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968, 25 U.S.C. § 1302(a)(8), the Tribe is dedicated to affording due process to all persons subject to the Tribe’s authority. 

In order to facilitate due process, the Tribe employs the Tribal Defense Attorney to represent defendants/respondents in proceedings initiated by the Tribe in the Lower Elwha Tribal Court.

LOCATION:  Lower Elwha Klallam Justice Center; office site to be determined.

SUPERVISOR:  Executive Director.

WORK SCHEDULE:  Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

SALARY LEVEL:  To be determined, depending on experience.

POSITION STATUS:  Regular, fulltime, with benefits.

OPENING DATE:  January 23, 2023

CLOSING DATE:  February 17, 2023


  • Represent defendants in adult criminal cases.
  • Represent youth in delinquency and status offense cases.
  • Represent parents or other legal custodians in child dependency cases.
  • Represent Elwha Tribal members in contested traffic, housing, and civil regulatory cases.
  • Advise clients on rights and responsibilities, choices and consequences; maintain contact with clients; communicate effectively; respond promptly to questions and messages.Meet with clients in person as necessary, sometimes at off-Reservation locations such as lockup facilities; maintain regular office hours at locations on both the Lower and Upper Reservation.
  • Perform case preparation, including review of discovery materials, investigation, interview of clients and witnesses, evaluation of evidence, legal research, and development of case strategy.
  • Prepare written pleadings, motions, legal memoranda and briefs, proposed orders, proposed jury instructions, sentencing recommendations, appellate notices and briefs, and other legal documents and forms as appropriate.
  • Appear and argue cases in the Lower Elwha Tribal Court at all stages of proceedings, including pre-trial, trial, post-trial, and appeal.
  • Communicate, coordinate, and negotiate with the Tribal Prosecutor and with counsel simultaneously representing the Public Defender’s clients in other jurisdictions.
  • Assist clients to comply with court orders and to obtain assessments and services related to drug/alcohol, mental health, domestic violence, and other psychosocial issues.
  • Assist in improving the Tribe’s justice system, including development of codes and court rules, participation in meetings and trainings, and preparation and implementation of grants.
  • Maintain 24-hour availability to address urgent matters.
  • Attend continuing legal education programs, seminars, and trainings, as necessary to perform the duties of Public Defender and to maintain professional licensing.
  • Maintain confidentiality and adhere to all professional and ethical standards required by the Washington State Bar Association and any other bar associations of which the Public Defender is a member.
  • Other duties and responsibilities as assigned.


Position Requirements



  • Active member in good standing of the Washington State Bar Association.
  • Knowledge of tribal, state, and federal law relevant to proceedings in the Lower Elwha Tribal Court.
  • Willingness to learn about and to respect the culture and traditions of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe.
  • Ability to employ tact, courtesy, positivity, flexibility, and healthy perspective in the workplace.
  • Ability to maintain professionalism while interacting with a wide variety of people in a fast-paced, emotionally-charged, crisis-oriented environment.
  • Ability to pass pre-employment UA drug/alcohol screening and comply with drug-free workplace policy thereafter, subject to random testing.
  • Ability to pass pre-employment background check demonstrating no felony conviction in tribal, state, or federal court, and no misdemeanor conviction within one year of hire.
  • Must be licensed driver with private, insured vehicle for use during workday.


  • Experience working in Indian Country, particularly in a tribal legal system.
  • Experience working in criminal law and in child dependency matters.
  • Experience in negotiation and mediation, alternative dispute resolution, and problem-solving courts.
  • Knowledge of the culture and traditions of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe.


  • Ability to sit for an extended period, as well as stand, bend, reach, and climb stairs.
  • Ability to lift up to 25 pounds.
  • Ability to operate standard office equipment, including computer, printer/copier/scanner/fax, calculator, tape recorder, landline phone, cell phone.


Mail:  Human Resources Department
Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe
2851 Lower Elwha Road
Port Angeles, WA 98363

As with all positions at the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, this position is subject to Indian preference in hiring, in accordance with the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe Employee Handbook.

Full-Time/Part-Time Full-Time  
Shift -not applicable-  
Close Date  
Number of Openings 1  
Open Date 2/2/2023  
Location Justice Center  
About the Organization Information ---- about Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe  

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