U of A IPLP: “In Memoriam: Judge Lawrence Huerta 1924 – 2022”


Among his many accomplishments Judge Huerta, a member of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, was the first Native American to graduate from University of Arizona Law and the first to be licensed to practice law in Arizona. Throughout his illustrious career, he worked tirelessly to increase access to education for Indigenous communities and promote tribal sovereignty. During his time as chancellor of Navajo Community College (now Diné College), Huerta helped to expand its reach and impact within the Navajo community, establishing the institution as a pillar of the nation-building activities of the Navajo Nation.

Huerta was also instrumental in the drafting of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe’s constitution and played a pivotal role in the tribe’s successful effort to gain federal recognition, extending significant rights to the tribe and its members. Today, the Pascua Yaqui Tribe has one of the most robust governments and tribal court systems in the nation.

Committed to a life of public service, Huerta worked in various capacities for the state of Arizona including as the assistant attorney general, as a member of the State Industrial Commission and as a judge on the Maricopa County Superior Court. In recognition of the countless lives he impacted, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from University of Arizona Law in 2015, the highest honor bestowed by the college.