Mr. Givens has practiced law for over 30 years. Born, raised and educated in Idaho, Mr. Givens attended law school at the University of Idaho after serving in the Army during the Viet Nam era.
Ray Givens' law career has had three distinct phases. After law school Mr. Givens worked in and ran legal services offices for four years, providing free civil law representation for low-income clients. For 11 years Mr. Givens had a civil rights/public interest private practice, litigating high-profile voting rights, utility, water rights and employment rights cases. Since the late 1980's Mr. Givens represented the Tribal Nations interests in many areas including lake ownership, pollution cleanup, gaming, taxation, treaty rights, and breach of trust cases.
Mr. Givens has appeared at all court levels, including the U.S. Supreme Court, which recently confirmed the Coeur d’Alene Tribe’s ownership of Lake Coeur d’Alene. He has appeared before the 9th, 8th, District of Columbia and Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal and many times before the Idaho Supreme Court. He has also litigated extensively in federal, state and tribal trial courts. Mr. Givens was one of six Commissioners on Idaho’s Redistricting Commission which determined that state’s Congressional and Legislative boundaries in 2002.
Mr. Givens has been married to the former Jeanne Iyall (Coeur d’Alene Tribe) since the late 1970's. Mrs. Givens was the first American Indian woman elected to the Idaho Legislature, serving four years. She was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Institute of American Indian Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico by President Clinton, and served as Chair of the Board for several years. Mrs. Givens has also served on the Board of Directors of Americans for Indian Opportunity. She has taught, written, and consulted on Indian issues. The Givens have two teenage children —Maria, (Coeur d’Alene Tribe), and Joe (Coeur d’Alene Tribe).