Maurice Johnson Photo
Licensed in Iowa and Nebraska
  • Profile
  • Practice Areas
  • Credentials
  • Associations
  • Notable Work
  • Location Information

The Transaction Navigator

Senior Counsel Maurice Johnson has over 22 years’ experience in federal Indian and tribal law and was an Associate Judge of the Meskwaki Tribal Court. In addition, Maurice is a transaction navigator. He works to simplify your company’s complex transactional needs while protecting cash flow and turning your brewing business deals into reality. He represents CEOs, business owners, tribal councils and executives when they are buying, selling, employing and doing deals. With over 28 years of legal experience, Maurice has successfully represented clients in numerous settings including but not limited to; business, real estate, gaming employment, regulatory, municipal, telecom, arbitrations, mediations, tribal, state, and federal civil courts. Maurice’s passion and experience helping businesses and governmental entities land big deals means protected cash flow, more successful companies, and happier clients – worth it.

Prior to becoming an attorney at Goosmann, Maurice was the Attorney General for the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska, in which he and a team of attorneys successfully represented the Tribe before the U.S. Supreme Court in a case involving Reservation Diminishment. Maurice also served for several years as the Attorney General for the Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa (a/k/a Meskwaki Nation) representing the tribal government and its business including the Meskwaki Casino.


Maurice has abundant experience representing clients in business transactions. Over his 22 years advising tribal governments and their businesses, he has negotiated inter-governmental, construction, employment, engineering, entertainment, environmental, financial, leasing, gaming, software licensing, vendor, manufacturing, medical and employment agreements. He has established corporations and LLC’s and advised their boards. Maurice also has considerable experience representing tribes placing land into trust with the federal government and negotiating the myriad of related agreements.


Maurice is a military veteran, having served in the U.S. Navy on the USS Hawkins (DD873) and the USS Eisenhower (CVN69) as an Aviation Ordnance man. It’s only fitting that he helps his clients navigate and sail with ease through rough waters of complex transactions.


Maurice became an attorney so he could continue to evolve, learn, and help people while living a purpose-driven life, and he is doing just that. He is an active member of the American Bar Association’s Business Law Section, Nebraska State Bar Association’s Indian Law and Employment Law Sections, as well as the Iowa State Bar Association’s Real Estate and Title Section.


LICENSED IN: Iowa and Nebraska

Maurice’s “Why”

In Maurice’s free time you will find him with his wife of 38 years, Kathleen, and his two daughters, Katie and Lola. He enjoys traveling, reading, fishing, playing disc golf, exercising, listening intently to music (Maurice has been an audiophile since he was a kid) and collecting vinyl. Maurice has a vast collection of albums and CD’s! It’s safe to say you may lose against him in music trivia. Maurice is active in his church, serving as a youth group leader and volunteer instructor for prison fellowship.

Bar Admissions

  • State: Iowa and Nebraska

Results

  • Served as Tribal Judge
  • Successfully represented the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska before the U.S. Supreme Court as co-counsel in Smith v. Parker, which solidified precedent the Supreme Court follows in reservation diminishment issues.
  • Established successful government-owned Agricultural Business Corporation.
  • Prepared new leasing policies and agricultural resource management plans resulting in increased revenue and more efficient use of land.
  • Established business corporations and acted as Co-Counsel in a bank acquisition.
  • Created In-House Legal Department, reducing client’s use of outside counsel resulting in substantial savings.
  • Progressive, proactive approach to municipal code drafting resulting in enhanced protection of health, safety and welfare of communities.
  • Counseled 17 Native American Tribes and the University of Nebraska on a culturally sensitive issue resulting in an unprecedented, unified historic agreement.
  • Executed several complex “Fee-to-Trust” real estate transactions for Tribes resulting in land added to reservations for gaming and other purposes.
  • Acted as Co-Counsel in lawsuits against the U.S. Government on behalf of 16 Tribes regarding mismanagement of funds held in trust by the U.S. Government, resulting in multi-million dollar settlements for the Tribes.
Education

  • Creighton University School of Law, Omaha, NE J.D., 1990
  • University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha, NE, Bachelors of Arts in International Relations, 1987
Previous Employment

Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa, Tama, IA 

  • Associate Judge of Tribal Court, 2018-2022
    • Responsible for applying relevant Tribal Court Rules, Tribal Law and case law when presiding over trials to the court, pretrial conferences, arraignments, motions and other hearings.
  • Goosmann Law Firm, Sioux City, IA (2017-2018) (Of Counsel, 2018-2022)
    • Transactional attorney overseeing contracts and agreements concerning financial exchanges.
    • Verify all documentation, negotiate on behalf of businesses, and offer legal counsel regarding intellectual property, real estate transactions, and mergers/ acquisitions.

Omaha Tribe of Nebraska: Macy, NE

  • Attorney General, 2014 –2017
    • Established and directed the Office of the Attorney General to serve as legal advisor to the Tribal government.
    • Developed agendas and materials for board and membership meetings; prepared minutes, resolutions and subject matter memos; prepared all required notices. Served on committees, task forces, and special projects.
    • Judged the merits of major court cases filed against or on behalf of the Tribe, worked with the appropriate leaders to define a strategic defense; negotiated/ approved settlements where warranted.
    • Updated and modernized outdated codes, policies, and procedures.
    • Successfully represented the Utility Department in an action filed by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Thompson Law Offices: Omaha, NE

  • Lead Attorney, 2013–2014
    • Responsible for legal representation of firm’s Tribal clients.
    • Areas of practice included gaming, land claims, employment law, taxation, land acquisition, Tribal jurisdiction, construction contracting, code drafting/ revision, and all facets of Tribal operations.
    • Coached, mentored, trained and developed firm’s Attorneys and staff.
    • Utilized construction law expertise to work with FEMA and assist a Tribal client in the rebuilding of a casino and tribal housing destroyed during state-wide flooding.

Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa: Tama, IA

  • Attorney General, 2008–2013
    • Represented the Tribe and its Casino in all aspects of Tribal government and gaming business including commercial transactions, contracts, corporate, economic development, environmental, employment, family, jurisdiction, land use, law enforcement, litigation and tax issues.
    • Supervised the legal department staff and outside legal counsel; managed departmental budget.
    • Enacted corporate business and non-profit codes, resulting in the establishment of a Bank Holding Company and Tribal Economic Development Corporation.
    • Secured a recurring grant for an Office of Child Support Enforcement resulting in increased employment for the Tribe, enhanced enforcement of child support orders and retention of jurisdiction with the Tribe.
    • Overhauled vendor and entertainment contract procedures for the Casino, which improved efficiency, resulting in labor and cost savings.
    • Provided significant litigation support to General Counsel in construction arbitration.

Johnson Thompson LLP: Omaha, NE

  • Senior Partner, 2002–2008
    • Represented the firm’s Tribal clients and their governmental departments, businesses and committees.
    • Litigated in Tribal, State and Federal courts.
    • Interpreted laws and policies, developed Tribal codes, analyzed legal documents, reviewed and drafted contracts.
    • Negotiated on behalf of Tribes with government agencies.
    • Performed pro-bono work on behalf of California Tribe on cultural land use issue.
    • Represented clients in state courts regarding international adoptions.

Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP: Omaha, NE

  • Associate Attorney, 1995- 2002
    • Represented Tribes in the Midwest and California, prepared pleadings and briefs, took and defended discovery, conducted hearings and litigated actions or proceedings through trial.
    • Developed a specialty in federal statutes as they relate to land acquired in trust by the United States on behalf of Tribes, prepared complex Indian land opinions.
    • Communicated with opposing Counsel, Co-Counsel and Federal/State/Tribal agency representatives.
    • Cases of note include Santee Sioux Tribe v. United States, 174 F.Supp.2d. 1001 (D. Nebr. 2001); In Re Desiree F. 2000 Cal. App. Lexis 733 (2000); and, Missouri River Services, Inc. v Omaha Tribe, 267 F. 3d 848 (8th 2001).

Douglas County Nebraska Public Defender: Omaha, NE

  • Assistant Public Defender, 1991- 1994
    • Extensive Juvenile Court experience involving daily courtroom practice.
    • Developed significant experience representing Indian children under the Indian Child Welfare Act.
    • Served as Guardian Ad Litem to children involved in dependency, neglect and/ or abuse cases in the Juvenile Court.
    • Interpreted and applied statutes, case law and legal precedent. Prepared motions, briefs and other pleadings including comprehensive citation of cases, opinions and legal precedent.
Memberships
  • American Bar Association, Business Law Section

  • Tribal In-House Counsel Association

  • Nebraska State Bar Association, Indian Law Section, and Employment Law Section

  • Iowa State Bar Association, Real Estate and Title Section

Community Involvement 

  • Youth Group Leader, Lutheran Church of Hope
  • Volunteer Instructor, Prison Fellowship
     
Publications
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  • Co-author of “Due Diligence in Business Transactions with Tribal Governments and Enterprises” The Nebraska Lawyer, August, 2005
Locations