Law in Action Profile

Amanda Rockman '05

Portrait of Amanda Rockman

"At UW Law School, I found an
amazing community of individuals that
led to very meaningful and important experiences."

Read the full interview

Hometown:  Grand Forks, North Dakota
B.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison (Anthropology and French; American Indian Studies Certificate)
Associate Trial Judge, Ho-Chunk Nation
Law School Activities & Awards:

  • Treasurer, National Native American Law Student Association
  • Co- President, Indigenous Law Student Association
  • National Native American Law Student Association Moot Court
  • Awards for Leadership – ILSA “3L of the Year”; NNALSA “2L of the Year”
  • Highest Achievement in Advanced Indian Law
  • Conversant in French

Amanda Rockman believes in hard work. And that hard work and her commitment to excellence are what helped her become one of her nation’s youngest judges — and one of the leaders of the Ho Chunk Indian Nation.

In college, Amanda held two part-time jobs and immersed herself in campus life. She became actively involved in college activities, holding leadership positions in several student groups, while maintaining a triple major. Amanda’s involvement with Wunk Sheek, the Native American student group, deepened her connection with members of many different tribes. Her interest in law, especially Indian law, arose at this time through an American Indian History course. After graduation, she worked for a Native lawyer, managing the law office and seeing the practice of law up close.

Amanda knew that she wanted to attend law school, and the UW Law School in particular. She was drawn to the UW by the inviting community of students and their reputation of support for one another, and fellowships helped make it a reality. Following her undergraduate path, she worked hard as a student and as a student leader, juggling her studies, her leadership activities, and her new responsibilities as the parent of two children, both born during law school. Even with these many commitments, she graduated from law school in three years and was the recipient of numerous student awards.

Amanda’s goal and focus in law school was to become a tribal attorney and perhaps one day a judge or even a law professor.  Her first job was as a staff attorney for the Ho-Chunk Nation Judiciary, her second as a tribal attorney. But even Amanda did not envision how quickly things would happen to move her toward her dream of becoming a judge with her tribe. After 15 months with the Ho-Chunk Nation, there was a vacancy on the court and at age 27, she was appointed to serve a three-year term as an Associate Judge of the Ho-Chunk Nation Trial Court.

Today, Amanda presides over her own courtroom and also works with Native judges across the state and nation to create intertribal legal networks and revive American Indian legal systems. Her case load ranges from family law and constitutional questions to inter-governmental disputes.

In the courtroom, Amanda brings respect and patience to the process of hearing and deciding cases. Outside of the courtroom, she’s an active parent, community leader, and even a community band member. Who knows what the future has in store for this UW Law alum? Whatever it is, she’ll work hard at it and succeed.

Read more in "An Interview with Amanda Rockman"

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