Craig Kaufman had spent many years practicing construction-related litigation, but he also possessed a fairly rare level of knowledge about Native American housing matters — there may be no more than a few dozen attorneys of comparable focus and experience in the entire country. Because of his singular understanding of tribal law in the housing context, Craig had taken pains to make his handling of those matters as efficient as possible, allowing him to make progress as quickly as a whole team of attorneys. Nevertheless, he also worked regularly and cooperatively with other attorneys in the area, regardless of the firms for which they work, in order to serve better his clients.
Lobbying Congress and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on behalf of Arizona-based tribes, Craig had regularly taken the lead counsel role in cases involving several area law firms, acted as “editor-in-chief” for all written documents and took the lead on oral arguments. His most recent cooperative experience included representing Tribal Designated Housing Authorities in Federal District Court and Federal Claims Court, in connection with disputes with HUD involving the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act, and successfully defended against an injury claim brought against a Native American tribe on sovereign immunity grounds. Beyond that example, his practice experience spanned a variety of areas, including Indian gaming compacts as well as title insurance, financial institutions, heavy highway construction, industrial construction, franchisors, semiconductor manufacturers, and various other types of manufacturers.
Some see the glass as half-empty, while others see it as half-full, but Craig saw it both ways. The practice of law had taught him to look at things differently than many others do, and to think critically about issues that others might consider settled. It is often in vaguely mistaken assumptions that he found solutions, but Craig always took the time to think through each aspect of the case. He cared deeply for fairness and enjoyed coming to the aid of the unfairly treated.
Representative Experience Included
- Prosecuted a financial recapture case on behalf of a large Native American tribe against HUD
- Prosecuted a multi-million dollar change order request on the behalf of a national heavy highway general contractor against a municipality
- Prosecuted a multi-million dollar damages case on behalf of a regional municipal water company against its equipment manufacturer
Education and Honors
- Washburn University School of Law (J.D., summa cum laude, 1982)
- University of Kansas (B.S., 1978)
- U.S. Court of Federal Claims, 2009
- U.S. District Court, District of Colorado, 2004
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit, 1983
Professional and Civic Activities
- State Bar of Arizona (Member, Construction Law Section)
- American Bar Association (Member)
- Pima County Bar Association (Member)
- Law clerk to the Honorable Mary Anne Richey, U.S. District Court, District of Arizona (1982–1983)
- Law clerk to the Honorable Richard Chambers, U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit (1983–1984)
- Formerly primary outside counsel to a national lawn and garden equipment manufacturer and to a publicly traded biotechnical/medical instruments manufacturer.
- Faculty member in numerous trial advocacy programs sponsored by the National Institute of Trial Advocacy.
- TMM Family Services, Inc. (Former board member)
- TMM Foundation (Former board member)
- Listed in Arizona’s Top Lawyers list by AZ Business Magazine (2014: Construction Litigation)
- Recognized as Best Lawyers® 2013, 2015, 2019 Tucson Bet-the-Company Litigation Law "Lawyer of the Year"
- Selected for inclusion in the 2007–present Southwest Super Lawyers® lists (Business Litigation)
- Listed in The Best Lawyers In America® (2001–present: Bet-the-Company Litigation / Commercial Litigation)
- Martindale-Hubbell AV® Peer Review Rated