Staff Attorney

Staff Attorney

Legal Department

Reports To:
Director of the Legal Department

FLSA Status:

TS Range:

Approved By/Date:
Kevin Lyon, March 27, 2017

Opening Date:
March 31, 2017

Closing Date:
The position will remain open until filled, but first review of applications will occur after April 17, 2017.

Nature of Practice:
The Legal Department advises and represents the Squaxin Island Tribe in Federal, Squaxin Island and State courts and in administrative proceedings.  The Department’s practice includes legal advice; document drafting and collaboration with a wide range of Squaxin Island policy committees, departments and entities; contract preparation and review; drafting ordinances; economic development; intergovernmental issues; treaty hunting and fishing rights and management; reservation lands governance and management; water rights; environmental protection; Indian gaming; and housing and utilities.

Minimum Qualifications:
To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each of the essential duties and responsibilities and meet the minimum education and experience qualifications described below. The requirements listed are representative of the knowledge, skill, and ability required for a Staff Attorney. It does not restrict the Director’s right to assign or reassign duties and responsibilities for this job at any time. The successful candidate must be able to comply with the Squaxin Island Tribe’s employment policies, including pre-employment drug screening.

 Candidate must have graduated from an accredited law school; be licensed to practice in Washington or have the ability to become licensed through reciprocity or be eligible for and register for the next scheduled Washington Bar Exam; must be able to be licensed to practice before the Squaxin Island Tribe’s courts within 90 days of hire; and must have a valid Washington State Driver’s License and be insurable per Tribal standards; have three or more years’ experience as a practicing attorney; have excellent written, oral, research and analytical skills; have strong interpersonal communication and negotiation skills; have the ability to thrive in an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural work environment; work well and bring flexibility to a fast-paced and dynamic work setting; enjoy and excel at creative problem-solving; have a demonstrated commitment to working with Native or other minority communities and/or restorative justice; and a commitment to reside on or near the Reservation (located near Olympia, Washington).

 Qualified applicants must have experience or demonstrated expertise in one or more of the following subject-matter areas: human resources; drafting and negotiating contracts; drafting statutes, policies and procedures; civil litigation, preferably in Federal Court; gaming regulation and/or operations; health care and/or social welfare programs; employment benefits; taxation; or Indian law, including protection of treaty rights.

 The qualified applicant must be able to handle high pressure situations and have demonstrated experience handling confidential matters. The qualified applicant must have excellent organizational skills, independent thought, and strong research and writing skills.

 The qualified applicant must be able to efficiently utilize and demonstrate proficiency with Microsoft Office tools and Westlaw.

 Candidate will be evaluated based on skills, experience, temperament and collegiality.

 Position Description:
The Legal Department is a team of 7, with 5 attorneys, one recently retired.  In general, the director and four attorneys each emphasize two or more practice areas and work with the related department or entity.  Assignments or priorities may vary or change depending on the client’s needs and requests.  The retiring attorney’s work emphasized human resource matters, casino gaming oversight, tribal housing, and real estate matters, particularly fee-to-trust transactions.  In the short term, the remaining attorneys will reallocate that work load amongst themselves, until an incoming attorney is selected.  The incoming attorney will be expected to take on that work, with the assistance of the current staff.  In the longer term, depending on skill, capacity, and interest, the assignments are likely to be reallocated. 

 Ultimately, the incoming attorney will have responsibility for a portfolio of legal and policy issues.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Provides a full range of legal services on behalf of the Squaxin Island Tribe’s Legal Department.
  • Prepares and reviews contracts and other documents.
  • Negotiates agreements on behalf of the Tribe.
  • Represents the Tribe in administrative proceedings and in litigation.
  • Conducts legal research concerning tribal, state and federal law.
  • Participates in planning and strategy sessions.
  • Researches, evaluates, and analyzes laws, court decisions and authorities.
  • Prepares and presents complaints, motions and other pleadings for civil proceedings.
  • Prepares and maintains legal and administrative records and reports.
  • Responsible for developing and maintaining cooperative and collaborative working relations with Tribal staff, staff from other tribal and state agencies, and community members.
  • Cognizant of policies expressed by Tribal Council.
  • Responsible for working effectively, efficiently, and with wide latitude for independent judgment and action, and remaining accountable to the Director.
  • Responsible for understanding and applying sovereignty, aboriginal and treaty right issues as they relate to representing the Squaxin Island Tribe.
  • Responsible for working independently and managing a diverse and demanding case or assignment load.
  • Responsible for crafting well-thought, well-articulated writing.
  • Legislative and legal analysis and drafting.
  • Researching background information related to tribal issues.
  • Drafting memoranda.
  • Abide by applicable disciplinary rules and maintain a high level of professionalism and ethics at all times.
  • Assist in all other matters as assigned by the Director.

Supervised by:
Director of the Legal Department.

 Supervisory Responsibilities:

Language Skills:
Ability to read, analyze, and interpret the most complex documents.  Ability to respond effectively to the most sensitive inquiries or complaints.  Ability to write talking points, speeches and articles using original or innovative techniques or style.  Ability to make effective and persuasive speeches and presentations on controversial or complex topics to top management, public groups, courts, and/or boards of directors.

Continued Personal Professional Development:
Participate in applicable job related trainings, including maintaining CLE requirements for state licensure.   The Department funds tuition, travel and per diem for job related CLE sessions.

Work Environment:
Work is generally performed within an office environment with standard office equipment available. Work is generally sedentary in nature, but may require standing and walking for up to 10% of the time. The working environment is generally favorable. The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate. Lighting and temperature are adequate and there are no hazardous or unpleasant conditions caused by noise, dust, etc. Work may include highly stressful situations at times.  The employee will regularly lift up to ten pounds and occasionally up to 25-50 pounds.  Requires the ability to operate a personal computer, multi-line telephone, and to use common electronic media. Requires the ability to read, write, communicate, and interpret information accurately in English.  Requires the ability to concentrate and consistently produce accurate work.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to sit, reach with hands and arms, talk and hear.  The job requires an ability to read and work at a computer with ease.  The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.

The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Native American Preference:
The Squaxin Island Tribe strives to be an equal opportunity employer dedicated to the policy of nondiscrimination based on race, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, age, physical disability, veteran status or any other non-job related factor. Among qualified applicants, the Tribe will give preference to a qualified Squaxin Island member then to the qualified native applicant.

Drug Testing Policy:
The successful applicant for employment must submit to and pass a drug test for illegal substances prior to employment being confirmed.

Background Check:
Some positions require candidate(s) to successfully pass a criminal background check prior to beginning employment, used solely for employment related purposes.

The Tribe would like to hire an attorney for this position as soon as possible.  Applicants must submit letter of interest, resume, supporting documents (certificates, degrees, licenses), three professional references, together with two writing samples, and proof of native preference eligibility (Status Card or letter) by email to Niki Ho at or by mail to Human Resources at Squaxin Island Tribe 10 SE Squaxin Lane, Shelton, Washington 98584 with a copy addressed to the Director, Legal Department 3711 SE Old Olympic Highway, Shelton, Washington 98584.  Applicants must clearly outline that they meet the qualification requirements on their resume.

 Salary and Benefits:
This is a salaried position that offers competitive compensation and benefits including generous paid leave, health insurance, dental, vision and disability, and a 401(k) plan (to begin after 1 year of employment). Salary to be negotiated based on experience.

Human Resources Department at (360) 426-9781 or visit