Gabe Galanda Via Above The Law Re: Indian Lawyer Authenticity, Passion & Relentlessness


Leading lawyer blog, Above The Law, has published the transcript of Ari Kaplan's recent interview of Gabe Galanda, the co-founder and managing lawyer of Galanda Broadman. Aimed at young lawyers and students, the interview is titled: "How To Find And Pursue Your Passion In the Law."

A few excerpts: 

  • "First, be authentic. Second, be relentless. By authentic, I mean you have to be yourself. Folks don’t want to associate with somebody who is trying to be something other than himself or herself. . . . And, being yourself is the only way you’ll ever find passion in the law and without passion, I suggest that a lawyer is simply mediocre. Unless you’re passionate, you will never play to your ultimate strengths."
  • "In terms of our focus and choosing cases, we watch and listen very carefully to what’s happening throughout Indian country. We look for opportunities that will help us advance budding social justice causes that will eventually benefit all of Indian country."
  • "[W]e took on tribal disenrollment before any other law firm would do that in any concerted way, and took on Indian prisoner religious freedoms seeing the rise in religious discrimination throughout state and local prisons. We’ve now taken on federal state and local law enforcement officers and agencies [who are killing Natives]."
  • "[W]e place a lot of emphasis on our social media marketing, which is a 24/7/365 effort. The hallmark of my career and now my law firm’s business development is and always has been writing....[W]hether it is a Tweet or an occasional blog post that one of my partners or associates is writing, we share and allow our ideas to reach as far and wide as we can in Indian country."

Gabe also addresses disenrollment, taking the opportunity to educate Above The Law's Big Law readership about the troubling subject:

Tribal disenrollment is a process designed by the United States over the last 200 years, but unknowingly, co-opted by tribal governments and tribal officials that leads to Indians being exiled from their own tribal communities. Since the advent of Indian gaming and its success over the last couple of decades many Indians losing their identities, livelihoods, and sense of belonging by way of this process. Indian gaming represents relatively new wealth in Indian country that has, unfortunately, has caused greed to grip certain tribal politicians, who create cohorts of tribal members or factions or tribal members to then get rid of their own relatives. Over the last five years, we have represented about 600 Indians from Washington, Oregon, and California, among other areas, in these matters.

In the process, we have re-educated ourselves about what it really means and does not mean to belong to a tribal community, and have also tried to help re-educate Indian country about those ideals before it’s too late because what we’re witnessing really is Native Americans self-terminating or self-annihilating with devices created by the federal government.

Gabriel S. Galanda is the managing lawyer of Galanda Broadman, PLLC, in Seattle. Gabe is a descendant of the Nomlaki and Concow Tribes, belonging to the Round Valley Indian Tribes of Northern California.