Mari Hulbutta CC ’14, LAW ’20: The Briefcase Warrior

As they wrapped up their final semester from their homes because of the COVID-19 crisis, six members of the Class of 2020 shared their most memorable Law School experiences and what’s next.

Hometown: Edmond, Oklahoma

Why the law? Mari Hulbutta, who is a Citizen of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, was awarded the Udall Foundation congressional internship for Native American students when she was an undergraduate and interacted with Native people serving in high-level government positions. She also became aware of the idea of a “briefcase warrior” and realized that as a Native person with a law degree, she could help the Native American community and bring about change. Over spring break in 2019, she led a caravan of Columbia Law students to Oklahoma to provide pro bono legal work to low-income Native American people.

Why Columbia? “Columbia sits at the crossroads of the world and uses New York City as a classroom,” she says. Many of the attorneys she admires are Columbia Law School alumni.

Fun fact: Hulbutta is an avid fan of stand-up comedy; she even included stand-up in a benefit she organized for a spring caravan. She also loves baseball and tries to attend opening day at Yankee Stadium every year. 

Outside the classroom: President of the Columbia Law School Native American Law Students Association, staff editor for the Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts, and a finalist in the National Native American Law Students Association moot court competition.

Career plans: Hulbutta will join Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP’s intellectual property litigation practice group in Century City, California, as an associate. She will also work with the firm’s Native American law practice group.