Utah Law welcomes Native law students for Cutting Sign event

Oct 03, 2023 | Belonging & Access

A group of Native American men and women sit and stand together near circular tables with red tableclothsS.J. Quinney welcomed more than 60 Native law students from across the country Sept. 29-30 for Cutting Sign to the Legal Profession, a free two-day program featuring panels, workshops and networking with legal professionals, many of whom are also Native.

Alma Buena, who participated in the 2022 Cutting Sign program, recently shared her gratitude for what she learned with Assistant Dean of Career Development Arturo Thompson.

“[Cutting Sign] not only helped me expand my horizons but also played an important role in my professional growth. Through it, I had the privilege of connecting with some remarkable Indian law firms, including Barnhouse, Keegan, Solimon & West (BKSW) and Ziontz Chestnut,” Buena said. “I have successfully passed the bar exam and will soon be sworn in as an attorney in New Mexico. Perhaps even more thrilling is the fact that I will serve as a judicial law clerk.”

Buena said that while she still intends to practice within Indian law, destiny shifted her path slightly for the time being.

“As I step into this exciting new phase of my career, I carry your encouragement with me, knowing that it will continue to inspire and guide me,” she said. “Thank you for being a mentor to Native students like me. I wish this year’s Cutting Sign incredible success.”

“Cutting sign” refers to the ancient Indigenous practice of using focused attention, understanding of surroundings, and clear intention to track and find people and animals. Learn more about the first Cutting Sign event held in early 2023.

Thanks to the University of Idaho College of Law, the University of Washington School of Law, Ballard Spahr, the American Indian Law Center, and the University of Utah American Indian Resource Center for partnering with S.J. Quinney on this Cutting Sign program.