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Would-be lawyers hoping to pass the bar exam in Washington state will need to add Indian law to their list of subjects to master. Washington has become the second state to include Indian law as one of the topics the bar exam covers, and several other states may add the subject to their tests. New Mexico’s bar exam already includes Indian law, and a push is under way in Arizona, Oregon, Idaho and Oklahoma to add it. Proponents of the addition say that it will not only better prepare attorneys for the growing practice of Indian law, but it will also serve as a symbolic gesture in addressing the sovereignty of tribal law. “Federal Indian jurisdiction issues generally are not being spotted in practice and not raised,” said attorney Gabriel Galanda, whose work at Williams Kastner & Gibbs in Seattle involves Indian law matters. “Ultimately, citizens’ rights were jeopardized, waived or outright precluded,” said Galanda, who was part of an effort among Washington attorneys, tribal members and scholars to add Indian law to the bar exam. $16 BILLION IN REVENUE Currently, almost 400 Indian tribe casinos are operating in at least 30 states, bringing in nearly $16 billion in annual revenue. Law firms including Holland & Knight and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld recently bulked up their practices to meet the demand. The subjects that may be tested in Washington include tribal civil and criminal justice, tribal sovereign immunity and the Indian Child Welfare Act. Any questions covering Indian law will be in essay format, part of the exam lasting 2 1/4 days. The process to add the subject area started two years ago, said Ron Ward, president of the Washington State Bar Association. He said that although the board of governors for the bar was receptive to covering the area, it was concerned about composing meaningful questions. Indian law issues on the test may be interwoven in questions covering other subjects or may be stand-alone questions, he said. Legal professionals in Arizona and other states are making a similar push to include Indian law questions on their bar exams. “The importance of the questions are symbolic and practical,” said Jonodev Chaudhuri, an attorney in Snell & Wilmer’s Phoenix office. Chaudhuri, the chair-elect of the Indian law section of the State Bar of Arizona, is part of an effort that is gathering letters and support from practitioners, tribal leaders and scholars in Arizona. The group plans to make a presentation to the Arizona bar’s board of governors calling for Indian law questions on the state’s bar exam. Recognition of Indian law as an important subject for lawyers has grown as tribal economic power has increased, said Robert Anderson, director of the Native American Law Center at the University of Washington. He noted the Quil Ceda Village Business Park, a commercial center outside Seattle operated by the Tulalip tribe. In addition to a 227,000-square-foot casino with four restaurants, the center also has a Wal-Mart and a Home Depot. “These are pretty big economic players,” Anderson said.

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