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Trout Raley is one of the leading small law firms in the Rocky Mountain region specializing in water rights, environmental, natural resources and infrastructure law. The shareholders regularly publish, present, and advocate on cutting edge issues in water and environmental law. Trout Raley has 3 partners who have been awarded the highest possible “AV Preeminent” rating in the Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ . The AV Preeminent status of our firm's attorneys helps distinguish our firm as a leader in water, environmental and infrastructure law.
BENNETT W. RALEY, admitted to bar, 1983; Colorado, U.S. Court of Claims. His practice specializes in state and federal court litigation, and federal administrative and legislative strategy. Mr. Raley has practiced in the fields of water law and related federal environmental laws since 1983. He served as the Assistant Secretary for Water and Science, Department of the Interior, for the years 2001-2004. His responsibilities as Assistant Secretary included the development and execution of legal strategies relating to the operation of federal water projects throughout the West. He has both state and federal court experience, as well as extensive experience in working with state and federal agencies. PRACTICE AREAS: Water Rights, Water Quality, Environment, and Public
PEGGY E. MONTAÑO, admitted to bar, 1981, Colorado and U.S.
District Court, District of Colorado; U.S. Court of Appeals, 10th
Circuit (1989) and 11th Circuit (2011); U.S. Supreme Court (2002);
U.S. Court of Claims (2008). Education:
Colorado Women’s College (B.A.,1977); University of Colorado (J.D., 1980).
Her practice specializes in state and federal court litigation, and federal
administrative and legislative strategy. Ms. Montaño has practiced for over 40
years including defense against massive federal water right claims in Colorado
by the U.S. Forest Service, numerous water rights adjudications, interstate
water issues including compact issues, and water-related administrative and
federal and state legislative matters. She spent three years representing the
State of Colorado as an Assistant Attorney General assigned to the Department
of Natural Resources and principally represented the Colorado State Engineer
and the Colorado Water Conservation Board. She is General Counsel to the
Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District. Ms. Montaño is also a Special
Assistant Attorney General for the State of New Mexico. Ms. Montaño was also a Presidential Appointee
and the Chairman of the Sabine River Commission. She has practiced water and
environmental law in private practice since leaving the Attorney General’s
Office and has represented major clients in complex litigation, and numerous
county and district governments in Colorado in water right protection and
defense. Ms. Montaño has been
recognized over the years by The
Best Lawyers in America, Colorado
Super Lawyers and 5280 Magazine,
and has an AV Preeminent rating through Martin Hubbell. Member:
Denver (Trustee, 1997-1999), Colorado and American Bar Associations;
Colorado Hispanic Bar Association (Past President, 1995); Great Outdoors
Colorado (Board Chair); and, Board of Directors of the National Audubon
Society. LANGUAGES: Spanish,
English. PRACTICE AREAS: Natural Resources, Water, Real Property, Municipal
DEBORAH L. FREEMAN, admitted to bar, 1982, Colorado. Education:
Stanford University (B.A., with distinction 1976); University of Denver (J.D.,
1982). Order of the Coif. Articles Editor, University of Denver Law
Review (1981-1982) and Administrative Law Journal (1980-1981). Her practice is concentrated in the fields of
water and natural resources law and environmental and regulatory
compliance. She represents a number of
governmental and corporate clients in the acquisition and defense of rights to
surface and ground water, and assists resource users in the process of
negotiating permits and securing agency approvals under a broad range of
federal, state and local environmental laws.
The majority of Ms. Freeman’s work involves federal permitting and
compliance under the Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act,
and Clean Water Act. Ms. Freeman
represented the Platte River Project water users’ coalition in negotiations
that culminated in the establishment of a basin-wide Platte River Recovery
Program for federally endangered species in Nebraska, signed by the Department
of Interior and the States of Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming in 2007. Ms. Freeman also represented Douglas County
in development of a regional habitat conservation plan that was approved as the
first countywide HCP in Colorado in response to the listing of the Preble’s
meadow jumping mouse as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. She has also served as environmental and
water counsel for Snowmass Water and Sanitation District in connection with its
Ziegler Reservoir water storage project and mastodon dig. Member:
Denver and Colorado Bar Associations (past Chair of CBA Environmental Law
Section). PRACTICE AREAS:
Natural resources and environmental law, with emphasis on federal Endangered
Species Act, Clean Water Act, public lands management, and NEPA compliance.
DOUGLAS M. SINOR, admitted to bar, 1999, Colorado. Mr. Sinor has experience in all aspects of water rights litigation and transactions, including trial and appellate work, title work, due diligence, and contract drafting. He also has extensive experience with litigation of applications and statements of opposition in Colorado water courts, as well as experience with administrative proceedings in front of the Colorado Ground Water Commission and the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission. He has filed briefs and made oral arguments in the Colorado Supreme Court concerning a variety of water matters. He represents private individuals, companies, municipalities, and water districts in water matters.
LISA M. THOMPSON, admitted to bar, 2004, Colorado, U.S. District Court for Colorado, 2004. Ms. Thompson has practiced water and environmental law for 7 years including federal reclamation litigation and state water rights adjudications. Ms. Thompson has significant experience representing the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District and the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District before the state and federal courts on issues ranging from water adjudications, to federal standing, and contractual repayment obligations. Ms. Thompson also represents other public clients including a Colorado ground water management district, with extensive experience in administrative proceedings before the Colorado Ground Water Commission.
MICHAEL A. KOPP, admitted to the bar 2011, Colorado. Education: Eastern Illinois University (B.A. 2000 cum laude); St. John’s College, Santa Fe (M.L.A. 2003); University of Colorado (M.S. 2010); University of Colorado Law School (J.D. 2010). Order of the Coif; University of Colorado Law Review, Associate Editor (2008-2010); Outstanding Student Note (2008-2009). Experience: Judicial Clerk for the Hon. Timothy M. Tymkovich, Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals (2012); Judicial Clerk for the Hon. Laurie Booras, Colorado Court of Appeals (2011).
W. DAVIS WERT, admitted to bar, 2015, Colorado. Education: Colgate University (B.A., 2011 magna cum laude); University of Denver Sturm College of Law (J.D., 2015), Order of the Coif /Order of St. Ives. University of Denver Water Law Review, Editor-in-Chief, Editorial Board (Court Reports Editor), Staff Editor (2012–2015). Experience: Law Clerk for the Honorable Brian D. Boatright, Colorado Supreme Court (2015–2016).
Mirko L. Kruse, admitted to bar, 2018, Colorado. Education: Boston College (B.A., 2014 magna cum laude); University of Colorado Law School (J.D., 2018), Order of the Coif / Barrister’s Counsel, Moot Court Division. Experience: Law Clerk for the Honorable Nathan B. Boats, Colorado Supreme Court (2018–2019).