Rory Wheeler, a senior political science major and pre-law student at Niagara University, has been selected to participate in the California India Law Association’s third annual Pathway to Law Program, a two-day pre-law workshop that prepares each participant for the law school application process and beyond. Supported by California Change Lawyers, National Native American Bar Association, and the Tribal Justice Project at UC Davis School of Law, the program will take place virtually over Zoom March 5-6, 2021.
As a member of the 2021 cohort, a diverse, talented group of indigenous young people pursuing a legal career, Wheeler will learn about the LSAT, law school admission process, and opportunities for financial aid. He will also be matched with a Native attorney mentor who will be available to provide support through the law school application and enrollment process, and receive free registration to CILA’s annual conference in October 2021, where he can attend panels and network with Native attorneys, attorneys practicing Indian law, and Native law students.
Wheeler, who resides on the Seneca Nation Cattaraugus Territory in Irving, N.Y., aspires to become an attorney focusing on American Indian law and policy. Serving his community and helping Indian Country grow and succeed has been his passion since he was 12 years old, he said, when he first started volunteering with the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation Volunteer Fire Department. Service in the Seneca Nation’s executive, legislative, and judicial governmental branches followed, leading to national service as a White House Tribal Nations Youth Ambassador under former President Barack Obama, during which he represented his community and peers to share his perspectives on critical issues in Indian Country. From Oct. 2018 until Nov. 2020, he served as the youth commission co-president for the National Congress of American Indians, which provides tribal youth leaders with the tools needed to be successful in their endeavors. He also interned as summer law clerk/judicial intern for the Seneca Nation’s Surrogate Court Judge, the Honorable Luana Jimerson, in 2019.