Wilkinson Walsh partner Lori Alvino McGill was featured this week on two podcasts. On Legal Talk Network’s “Lawyer 2 Lawyer,” Lori is featured in an episode entitled “Tribal Law, Indian Child Welfare Act, and Custody.” Lori discusses her pro bono representation of a California family fighting to adopt their six-year-old foster child, Lexi, who they have raised for more than four years. Lexi is a multiethnic child who is 1/64 Native American and a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. She was removed from her foster parents following a lower court’s decision to place her with relatives in accordance with the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), a federal law which was designed to help Native American families and communities remain intact. Lori has twice successfully appealed lower court rulings in the case, and the case is now pending on appeal for a third time, before the California Court of Appeal, Second District, in Los Angeles. (No. 270775, In re Alexandria P.)
Lori is also featured on the inaugural episode of the Radiolab spinoff, “More Perfect,” a podcast series devoted to the ways in which Supreme Court decisions impact American lives. Lori discusses the high-profile Supreme Court case, Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl (2013), in which she represented the birth mother of a little girl known as “Baby Veronica.” At issue in that case was whether Veronica’s biological father, a member of the Cherokee Nation who had voluntarily forfeited his parental rights, could later invoke ICWA in order to block the mother’s decision to place the child with adoptive parents she had chosen. Reversing orders of the South Carolina state courts, the Supreme Court held that the biological father had no right to thwart the adoption, because he had forfeited his parental rights. Veronica was reunited with her adoptive parents in September 2013.