In ICWA cases, the tribe has a right of intervention in whatever state court is hearing the case of the tribal child. While it is true that the “tribal representative” does not have to be attorneys, when they are attorneys, there may be concerns about practicing without finding local counsel or using the local “pro hac” rule. Michigan has proposed a court rule that would waive those requirements for tribal attorneys representing the tribe in a state court where the attorney is not barred. This proposed rule is in direct response a number of requests from tribal ICWA attorneys nationwide. We are hopeful other states will consider a similar rule (though in Nebraska this is right is guaranteed by statute, which is another great fix). This rule was proposed by the Michigan Tribal-State Judicial Forum.
Also, if you are an out of state attorney who would benefit from this proposed Rule (or in state) please send in comments by March 1.