National Law Journal Appellate Lawyer of the Week — Chrissi Ross Nimmo

An excerpt (the full article text is available on the Cherokee Nation website):

Nimmo was born in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, the capital of Cherokee Nation. She was raised in Warner, Oklahoma, which, she likes to say, is probably the only town in the country with a college and no stoplight. “It’s that small,” she said. She has a master’s in business administration from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah and a law degree from the University of Tulsa College of Law.

The Cherokee Nation’s attorney general’s office is midsized “by Oklahoma standards,” 10 attorneys. Nine are tribal citizens and one is an “honorary” Cherokee. They are prosecutors in Cherokee court and in-house counsel to Cherokee Nation by advising its departments, handling contracts and appeals before administrative boards, among other duties.

Nimmo joined the attorney general’s office right out of law school in 2008. “I was in the top five percent of my class and did some internships at some big law firms in Tulsa,” she recalled. “I quickly realized that was not what I wanted to do when I graduated. Part of it was I wanted to be in a courtroom. I also didn’t want to do solo. This is a great place to work. As an attorney, I’m salaried and don’t do billable hours. Why would you ever leave that?

“Indian law is a tight knit group of attorneys. Whether you work in-house for a tribe or represent a tribe, every Indian law decision in an appellate court can affect all tribes.”