The man whose Ho-Chunk name is Hakikóx Walu Piga (“Makes his way”) is certainly making his way into the world in a highly accomplished way.
Alexander Mallory has been high achieving since his school days at the South Sioux City Community School District and hasn’t eased off since then. In fact, speaking in an interview from where he lives in Phoenix, Alexander shared that he is now working in his dream job.
“My dream was to clerk for a federal district court. I achieved what I thought was impossible…I still have to pinch myself,” he said.
Alexander has nearly completed his two-year post as a Judicial Law Clerk for the Honorable Diane J. Humetewa of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona.
Landing that position came with long odds since each U.S. District Judge gets about 500 applicants for the two law clerks hired for each two-year cycle.
Humetewa was appointed to the federal bench in Arizona in 2014 by President Barack Obama, and she is the first Native American to be appointed as a federal judge. Therefore, Alexander said, “As someone who is Native to serve with someone who is Native herself, it is extraordinary” to be in this specific post.
Growing up in the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, Alexander said he got inspiration from many people around him, citing uncles and his paternal grandfather.
“My Choka (Kenny Mallory) served on our Tribal Council for over two decades and taught me that true fulfillment comes from serving a cause greater than yourself,” Alexander said. “He showed me that government can be a force for good… The law allows me to serve others in a greater capacity than I could otherwise.”
He added that he enjoys seeing first-hand how the courts are doing good work to serve equitable justice.
The legal tasks done by the federal court in Phoenix are a big challenge, he said, since it is the fifth busiest docket in the U.S. The work of Alexander as one of the two Judicial Law Clerks is essentially to advise Judge Humetewa concerning all of her civil and criminal docket of cases.
“We are basically her adviser. We help her make her decision…You sit down and write orders,” he said, based on the merits of the case at hand.
Alexander received his undergraduate degree from the University of Nebraska. The first summer in college, in 2012, Alexander had an internship through Ho-Chunk Inc., with then-named law firm Fredericks, Peebles & Morgan, currently Big Fire Law.
He said of that internship, “It solidified my desire, my career aspirations, to be an attorney. Being there helped me see how attorneys draft and write pleadings.”
Finishing his work at UNL included the 2016 honors thesis “The Plight of Punishment: Incarceration in Indian Country.” From there, Alexander attended the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, and in 2019 he earned a law degree with Highest Pro Bono Distinction for giving legal assistance at no cost.
That time at ASU included the fall 2018 semester attending the Bocconi University School of Law in Milan, Italy.
“It was here where I developed a deeper appreciation of the United States’ respect for and adherence to the rule of law. Each day, I strive to protect and preserve those foundations,” he said.
Just prior to his current position in Arizona, Alexander worked as an Attorney Advisor for the U.S. Department of Justice Honors Program in Fort Worth, Texas.
Many people who are Judicial Law Clerks for federal judges go on themselves to become federal judges or U.S. Supreme Court Justices. Alexander isn’t sure what comes next once the two-year term ends in September 2023.
One option is private practice, although he adds that he sure has enjoyed federal work. This is a young man who was voted “Most Likely To Be President” by his South Sioux City High School Class of 2011 classmates, so there are options galore in the path ahead for Hakikóx Walu Piga as he makes his way.