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Joanne Willis Newton

Joanne Willis Newton operates her own law practice, Law Offices of Joanne Willis Newton, APC, in San Diego and specializes in federal Indian law and tribal law, with a particular emphasis on Indian child welfare and gaming regulation. She is also a panel attorney for Appellate Defenders, Inc. and the California Appellate Project Los Angeles. After serving as the first Chief Judge of the San Manuel Tribal Court, Ms. Willis Newton was appointed in 2010 as a Pro Tempore Judge of the Intertribal Court of Southern California and of the Superior Court of California for San Diego County. She was also appointed as an Appellate Judge to the Redding Rancheria Tribal Court in 2015. 

Before establishing her own law practice in 2005, she was employed for seven years with California Indian Legal Services and held the positions of Directing Attorney and Senior Staff Attorney during that period. Prior to that she worked for several years in Canada as a consultant on matters of Aboriginal law to a number of First Nations’ entities and federal agencies. She served on the Board of the California Indian Law Association for five years in the positions of President, Vice-President and Secretary. Ms. Willis Newton received an LL.M from the University of San Diego (1998), an LL.B. from the University of Ottawa School of Law (1992), and a Certificate in Judicial Development Tribal Judicial Skills from the National Judicial College (2011). She is admitted to practice in several tribal courts as well as the following jurisdictions: California (1999) and Quebec (1998). Ms. Willis Newton and her two daughters are members of the Cree Nation of Chisasibi, located in northern Quebec. For more information see

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