Indians on the Bench

Seattle Indian Lawyer Gabe Galanda Named a "Difference Maker" by the American Bar Association

Gabriel “Gabe” Galanda was honored with the “Difference Maker Award” by the American Bar Association at the Fall Leadership Meeting and National Solo & Small Firm Conference in Seattle on October 12, 2012. Gabe, an enrolled member of the Round Valley Indian Tribes of California, was honored for his twelve years of bar leadership and pro bono service, primarily in helping recruit more Native American lawyers to the profession in the Pacific Northwest through scholarship fundraising; promoting mainstream legal understanding of Indian legal issues through state bar examination in Washington and elsewhere; and leading the effort to restore the religious freedoms of Native American prisoners in Washington State (See “Native Son,” Bar Bulletin, August 2012).

Washington Supreme Court Justice Steven Gonzalez, King County Superior Court Judge Mary Yu, and U.S. District Court Bankruptcy Judge Karen Overstreet were also named Difference Makers by the American Bar Association (ABA) – the country’s largest voluntary association of lawyers, with over 400,000 members, with a stated mission of “defending liberty and delivering justice as the national representative of the legal profession."

Gabe recently authored a widely discussed article, “Off-Color State Judicial Elections: Voting and Race” in Washington State (Bar Bulletin; Crosscut).  He currently sits on the National Native American Bar Association (NNABA) Board of Directors, chairing the group’s “Include Indian Law on State Bar Exams” Initiative, and co-chairing its “Increase Natives and Tribal Court Judges in the Judiciary” Initiative.

He is a founding Partner of Galanda Broadman, PLLC, an American Indian-owned law firm with office in Seattle and Bend, Oregon, dedicated to advancing tribal legal rights and Indian business interests.  Gabe’s practice focuses on complex, multi-party litigation and crisis management, and economic diversification and tax strategy, representing tribal governments and businesses and Indian citizens.  He also serves as a tribal appeals court and administrative law judge, and mediates and arbitrates Indian Country-related disputes.

Selected to The Best Lawyers in America® from 2007 to 2013, Gabe was also named as one of the best lawyers in Washington State by Puget Sound Business Journal in 2011.  He was named to the Puget Sound Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” list, as well as to the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development’s “Native American 40 Under 40” list in recognition of his status as an emerging leader in the legal industry, in 2009. Washington Law & Politics/Super Lawyers magazine named Gabe a “Rising Star” for ten of the last twelve years, most recently this year, and Washington Law & Politics named him one of Washington’s four Leading Edge Litigators in 2003.  In 2004, he was awarded both the Washington State Bar Association Young Lawyers Division’s Outstanding Young Lawyer Award, and the Northwest Indian Bar Association’s Native Justice Award.

Gabe was born and raised in Port Angeles, Washington.  In 1995, he received his A.A. from Peninsula College, where he served as Associate Student Body President.  He received his B.A. in English Literature from Western Washington University in 1997, and his J.D. from the James E. Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona in Tucson, in 2000.  At Arizona, he served as President of the Native American Law Students Association.

Gabe Galanda Publishes "Off-Color State Judicial Elections: Voting and Race"

Gabe Galanda published an article, "Off-Color State Judicial Elections: Voting and Race," in this month's King County Bar Association Bar Bulletin. The article is available online here (abbreviated; login required) and in reprint here (full). A couple excerpts:

Because African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans are disproportionately poor, they contribute significantly less money to political campaigns than European Americans. Knowing this reality, candidates, including judicial candidates, generally care less about ethnic minorities’ electoral interests. In turn, racial minorities may feel further marginalized such that they disregard judicial elections altogether and, if or when in court, they disproportionately fear that a judge is more accountable to majority or corporate ideology than to stare decisis or the rule of law. Add finally into this debate the utter lack of elected representation for minorities in most areas of the state. The combined Latino population for 10 counties in Central and Eastern Washington, for example, is a bit higher than 33 percent. Yet, Latinos hold only 4% of those regions’ elective offices and not a single Latino lawyer has ever been elected to the bench in Eastern Washington. The same goes for Native Americans, who have yet to see an Indian judge elected to the state bench anywhere in Washington.

Gabriel "Gabe" Galanda is a partner at Galanda Broadman PLLC, of Seattle, an American Indian owned law firm.  He is an enrolled member of the Round Valley Indian Tribes of Covelo, California.  Gabe serves as a Quinault Nation Court of Appeals Judge and a tribal administrative law judge for other tribes, as well as mediates and arbitrates Indian Country-related disputes. Gabe can be reached at 206.691.3631 or