James Kawahara teaches the Tribal Legal Development Clinic and the Tribal Appellate Court Clinic. A graduate of UCLA School of Law, Professor Kawahara has over fifteen years of legal experience in the areas of federal Indian law, litigation, education and environmental law. After spending ten years with two national law firms, he recently opened his own firm, Kawahara Law.
As a member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, Professor Kawahara has pursued a career serving the needs of individual Indians and tribal governments. He represents individual Indians in the area of real estate development on Indian Reservations in the Southern California area, and he provides counsel to tribal governments in the areas of economic development, gaming law, tribal ordinance development, environmental regulation and in federal Indian law and general commercial litigation.
Professor Kawahara's legal experience also includes a broad range of state and federal commercial litigation matters, including appellate matters. He has represented tribal governments in important sovereignty cases and major corporations in multi-party complex litigation under state environmental laws. Recently, he has been counsel of record in cases that involved issues related to Indian sovereignty in the context of tribal enrollment decisions, and tribal regulation of gaming conducted on Indian lands under a tribal-state gaming compact.