Kaythee Hlaing is a second-year student at UNM School of Law. She expects to graduate in the spring of 2019. Currently, a staff member of the Tribal Law Journal, she will start her new position as the Multimedia Editor. Having worked as a photojournalist in a prior life to law school, she looks forward to contributing to the journal’s work with her past experience.
Kaythee initially “discovered” the completely new (to her) and fascinating world of tribal law when she took “Legal Research” – a mandatory class. Wanting to learn more and do more, she applied to join the Tribal Law Journal. Her experience at the Journal has been all that and more—it has been a challenging yet nurturing environment within which to learn. The editors and faculty advisors have made being a staff of the Journal like being in a family, an experience not everyone is lucky enough to get, especially in law school!
This semester, the Journal was heavily involved in making UNM’s symposium on the 50th Anniversary of ICRA a reality. The symposium was truly a case-in-point exercise of the Journal’s work in that it holds a forum in which scholars, academics, and community members come together to talk frankly about the issues and forward solutions. Next semester, Kaythee is hoping to use her skills as a journalist and law student to highlight and provide exposure to tribal legal issues.
Kaythee is not a member of a North American tribe but is originally from Burma, where her mother was a member of the Karen Tribe. Prior to law school, she was a photojournalist working for an international aid agency working inside Burma. Her favorite TLJ blog article is “Sounds that Heal the Soul,” an article about when TLJ brought a drum circle to the law school. The article highlights the Journal’s work: the Journal does things out of the “mainstream” box, things that are not expected but are really older than the mainstream itself. The Journal is a kind of conduit to remind and inform people of the traditions and solutions tribal cultures possess. Because of the way our country is structured, the study and practice of law is crucial to the protection and perhaps even better understanding of tribal law and cultural practices.
Kaythee feels very fortunate to have this family and experience at the Journal. She is scheduled to begin the clinical experience in the Southwest Indian Law Clinic. While she is not sure what area of law she will be practicing after graduation, the varied and rich experience with the Journal has given her a wider perspective on the practice of law. Because of these experiences, she will not graduate with tunnel-vision of what it is to be a lawyer. And for these things, she is grateful.
Fun Facts: Kaythee’s favorite Supreme Court Justice is Ruth Bader-Ginsberg. Her favorite New Mexico Supreme Court Justice is Mary Walters.