Professor Shoemaker

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Jessica A. Shoemaker

Assistant Professor of Law

211 LAW UNL 68583-0902
(402)472-0420 | Email

Areas of Expertise
  • Community Economic Development
  • Federal Indian Law
  • Natural Resources (Energy & Agriculture)
  • Property I
  • Property II
  • Rural Studies
  • J.D., summa cum laude, University of Wisconsin Law School (2004)
  • B.A., summa cum laude, University of Iowa (1999)


  • Assistant Professor of Law, 2012


Professor Shoemaker joined the law faculty in 2012.  She received her B.A. degree in English, summa cum laude, from the University of Iowa, and graduated first in her class from the University of Wisconsin Law School, where she also served as an editor of the Wisconsin Law Review and was active in a range of student organizations. 

After law school, Professor Shoemaker clerked for the Honorable David M. Ebel on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.  Following her clerkship, Professor Shoemaker was awarded a prestigious Skadden Fellowship to work for Farmers’ Legal Action Group, Inc. in Saint Paul, Minnesota, on a range of legal issues affecting farmers and rural communities.  Professor Shoemaker then spent five years as an attorney with Arnold & Porter LLP in Denver, Colorado, and worked on litigation in several different courts, including the United States Supreme Court.  She has experience in nearly every phase of dispute resolution from pre-complaint counseling to appeal, and over the course of her career, she has represented Indian tribes, energy developers, entrepreneurs, farmers, and others. 

Professor Shoemaker teaches Federal Indian Law and a seminar in rural development.  Her research focuses on rural land tenure (including Indian land tenure), community economic development, agriculture, and energy.  She will also be participating in the University of Nebraska’s efforts to establish the Rural Futures Institute.

Prior to her legal career, Professor Shoemaker was a writer, a VISTA volunteer, and a community organizer. 

Native American Law

(Law 796/G; 3 cr hr) Investigation of the federal statutory, decisional, and constitutional law that shapes the interactions of Indian tribes, the states, and the federal government.  The course includes an overview of the history of federal Indian policy and emphasizes the unique legal principles that inform the modern federal trust responsibility, tribal sovereignty, and complex civil and criminal jurisdictional issues that arise in Indian Country.  Current topics including tribal water rights, tribal justice systems, reservation economic development, and tribal religious rights will also be addressed.  Students who have previously taken Native American Law Seminar (Law 797) may not enroll in this course.

Property I, II

(Law 505/G-506/G; 6 cr.-3 cr. each semester) Depending upon the section, the course may include problems in possession, gifts of personal property, bona fide purchasers of personal property including recording and priorities, estates in land, landlord and tenant, the modern land transaction, controlling the use of land, easements, licenses and equitable servitudes and constitutional limitations on the power of government to restrict individual economic liberties.

Rural Development & Energy Law Seminar

(Law 706; 3 cr hr) This course will cover specific laws and regulations, as well as business and policy considerations, that inform efforts to develop rural infrastructure, stimulate jobs, establish community-based financial and non-profit institutions, and encourage rural entrepreneurship. Particular emphasis will be placed on how energy law and policy may be shaping the rural future. This course will also include a comparative element, with literature from the Law and Development movement, international development, and the affordable housing and urban renewal contexts considered in conjunction with current rural development concerns.


  • Like Snow in the Spring Time: Allotment, Fractionation, and the Indian Land Tenure Problem, 2003 WIS. L. REV. 729 (2003). 
  • Negotiating Wind Energy Property Agreements (FLAG, 2006).
  • Farmers’ Guide to Wind Energy: Legal Issues in Farming the Wind (FLAG, 2007).    
  • Community Wind: A Review of Select State and Federal Policy Incentives (FLAG, 2007).


  • “Probate Reform and the Problem of Indian Land Ownership,” presented at Who Owns America? VI, national conference at the University of Wisconsin (May 2004) (invited speaker)
  • Multiple Presentations on Federal Disaster Assistance for Farmers and Rural Landowners following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, presented at grassroots meetings in Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana coordinated by Federation of Southern Cooperatives, Rural Advancement Foundation International, and Farm Aid (October 2005 to February 2006) (invited speaker)
  • “Native Strategic Land Planning: Update on Indian Land Consolidation Act Amendments of 2000 and the American Indian Probate Reform Act of 2004,” presented at Indian Land Working Group’s 16th Annual Indian Land Consolidation Symposium in Cabazon, California (October 2006) (invited speaker)
  • “AIPRA Consolidation Options,” presented at Indian Land Working Group’s 16th Annual Indian Land Consolidation Symposium in Cabazon, California (October 2006) (invited speaker)
  • “Preventing Heir Property Loss,” presented at annual meeting of Arkansas Land and Farm Development Corporation in Brinkley, Arkansas (November 2006) (invited speaker)
  • “Farm and Ranch Issues in Indian Country,” presented at This is Not Your Grandpa’s Farm Law, continuing legal education seminar in Saint Paul, Minnesota (June 2006) (invited speaker)