Michelle Sheldon becomes first Tulalip tribal member to pass state bar exam

TULALIP – In a historic moment, Michelle Sheldon on April 25 became the first Tulalip tribal member to pass the state bar exam.

She was sworn in at a courtroom in the new Tribal Law and Justice Center where she worked as a court clerk, and is now the newest lawyer in the Tribes’ Office of Reservation Attorney (ORA).

Family members, including parents Greg and Heidi, sister Megan and brother Joe, the Tulalip Board of Directors and court staff were among those who attended the ceremony to show their support.

“We’ve had other people go to law school, but Michelle is the first to pass the bar,” court director Wendy Church said. “I’ve never had any doubt she would excel in her academic goals and now that she’s passed the bar, the sky is the limit.”

Church said Sheldon managed to work full time while completing her law degree, adding, “She serves as a role model to our next generation of students with aspirations of careers in law.”

Sheldon said she is proud and humble that she accomplished her long-term goal to become an attorney, and while professors told her to keep an open mind about where she might practice, “Keeping Tulalip at heart was always at the forefront of my inspiration and goals.”

She told Tulalip News that she lived on the reservation for most of her life, felt an integral part of the community, and wanted to return to work in Tulalip where she could bring her accumulated knowledge and skills back where she could make a difference.

Sheldon said she hopes to inspire young tribal members to pursue their degrees and encourage them to not give up on their journey when the waters get rough.

She earned her associate’s degree from Northwest Indian College, and finished as that year’s valedictorian. She worked full time at her family’s restaurant while pursuing her bachelor’s degree, then went to work for tribal government as a file clerk.

That position led to working with Tribal attorneys, children and the families, and eventually a position as a court clerk, which fueled her interest in the legal field.

She added a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Columbia College in Smokey Point, completed a Boston University distance program to gain her paralegal certificate, then pursued her law degree in the evenings at the Seattle University School of Law, eventually being accepted during a period when she had been promoted to ORA Department Manager.

More in News

Fences have been put up around Marysville playgrounds to keep kids off. (Steve Powell/Staff Photos)
Marysville leaders concerned as (almost) everything’s closing

By Steve Powell spowell@marysvilleglobe.com MARYSVILLE – Within hours of Gov. Jay Inslee’s… Continue reading

DOUGLAS BUell/Staff Photos
                                Lead cook Keina Gowins with Presidents Elementary hands out free grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches to students and parents outside the school Wednesday. Presidents and AHS serve as central kitchen sites for preparing meals, which starting next week will expand to 12 delivery sites from Silvana to Oso. Right, Arlington Food Bank executive director Carla Gastineau and Mike Simpson, food bank board president and owner of Arlington Grocery Outlet, partnered with the district with their Meals Til Monday program, and gave a woman a box of donated food while at Presidents.
Arlington students won’t go hungry during the COVID-19 school closures

ARLINGTON – Arlington schools are closed through April 24 to help fight… Continue reading

People gather to pick up special allergy meals before leaving Lakewood High School on Wednesday in Marysville. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Districts taking meals to students since schools are closed

By Stephanie Davey The Herald LAKEWOOD — Children wearing pajamas stood outside… Continue reading

Jon Nehring
Letter about coronavirus from Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring

This is an edited version of a letter Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring… Continue reading

Jennifer Thompson, left, and her father Ron Thompson secure a new remembrance plaque to the Oso slide site gate on Sunday, near Oso. Ron Thompson handcrafts a new plaque for the gate every year. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Community remembers Oso slide victims, survivors

By Ben Watanabe The Herald OSO — The power of remembering the… Continue reading

Crews will blow garbage into the street and sweep it up over the next few weeks. The city is asking people to move their cars, trash cans and recycle bins when they come around to help them do a thorough job. (Courtesy Photo)
Marysville shuffles workers due to virus, seeks public’s help for sweepers next week

By Steve Powell spowell@marysvilleglobe. MARYSVILLE – From working from home to teleconferencing… Continue reading

Inslee: Stay home for 2 weeks

By Jerry Cornfield and Zachariah Bryan The Herald OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay… Continue reading

Scott Beebe hands out Chromebooks to people in their cars. (Steve Powell/Staff Photos)
Marysville parents anxious to pick up school materials for kids

By Steve Powell spowell@marysvilleglobe.com MARYSVILLE – A few days ago Marysville schools… Continue reading

Most Read