About Jennifer R. Leal

My passion for working with tribal courts developed when I was a 22-year-old undergraduate student at UCLA. Throughout college, I worked on tribal court-related projects and eventually got hired at my first job as a tribal court administrator. During this time, I developed my experience operating a court partially from a PL-280 state and worked with general civil, family, juvenile dependency, juvenile delinquency, traffic, animal control, and criminal cases. My court record includes clerking for over 2,000 hearings and 30 jury trials. I built working relationships with local jurisdictions and developed a working relationship with a state court association. My experience also includes working with new attorneys coming to practice before the tribal court and processing ICWA cases transferred from state court to tribal court. Throughout my tribal court career, I contributed to California’s Court Toolkit for Tribal/State/Federal Administrators and Clerks and developed a passion for teaching. I have given presentations to tribal communities on tribal court administration and to international judicial delegations from Egypt, Morocco, Jamaica, and Ukraine on tribal courts in the United States.

Tribal Affiliation

Descendant of the Washoe and Mono Lake Paiute communities from northern California.


M.A. American Indian Studies, UCLA
B.A. American Indian Studies, UCLA

HutiweɁ mašašesi pumwaɁešɨpheligi T’anu Ɂiwi Guwa mašašes ɁetiɁi

Vision Statement: To create a more knowledgeable and informed community on tribal courts.