2011 LEO Banquet and Peoples Conference Highlight Alumni Accomplishments

Panelists D. Michael McBride, Dawn Baum, Kevin Wadzinski

Panelists D. Michael McBride, Dawn Baum,
Kevin Wadzinski

Spanning a single weekend, the Coming Together of the Peoples Conference and the LEO Banquet brought together UW Law School students, faculty and alums from around the country to celebrate successes and reaffirm a commitment to maintaining one of the most interesting and dynamic learning environments in the country.

This year marked the 25th annual Coming Together of the Peoples Conference, the oldest student-run conference on Indian law. Participants attended two full days of workshops covering topics like Tribal Debt & Finance and Workers Rights Meet Tribal Sovereignty.

The keynote speaker was Larry Roberts, a member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and General Counsel for the National Indian Gaming Commission. Roberts, a former ILSA leader, spoke about ILSA and 25 years of federal Indian law and policy. In his final presentation slides, he listed the names of ILSA alums who have made significant contributions to the field.

Conference Keynote Larry Roberts
Conference Keynote Larry Roberts

"Check out all of these names," he marveled. Indeed, the list included many distinguished attorneys and policymakers.

Panelists also lauded the work of law professors like Richard Monette for helping push them while they were still in school, setting standards that served them well as they pursued legal careers.

The conference culminated in the Legal Educational Opportunities (LEO) Banquet on Saturday evening, which drew a crowd of 400.


Donald "Del" Laverdure spoke as the evening's keynote, using his own experience as one conceivable path to post-law school success. Using photos, Laverdure narrated his beginnings as a member of the Crow Tribe of Montana and the first in his family to attend college, through his years in law school as a student, LEO leader and professor, to his return home to serve as Chief Legal Counsel for the Executive Branch of the Crow Tribe and his eventual move to Washington, D.C. to serve in the Obama administration.

"We must always remember where we come from," he said.

ILSA members between workshops

The night featured a number of student award winners, presented by each of the LEO organizations: APALSA/SALSA, BLSA, ILSA, LLSA and MELSA. Recipients were applauded for their contributions to the law school community. Also acknowledged were local firms and the law school leadership itself, whose consistent support of the LEO program helps ensure its longevity.

To learn more about ILSA, click here.

To learn more about the LEO Program, click here.

Submitted by UW Law News on June 13, 2011

This article appears in the categories: Alumni, Articles

Submit an Article