Our services include all things legal related to water and local government. And since both are often tied to commercial and/or residential development, we also bring to bear our extensive expertise in real estate, contracts, business formation, corporate and partnership affairs, general civil litigation, and appellate practice.
Through our extensive litigation practice, we provide highly effective advocacy in state courts throughout Colorado, the United States District Court, and appellate practice before the Colorado Supreme Court and United States Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.
When it comes to water and local governments, legal experience matters, and our team has a proven track record of successfully guiding clients through the daunting world of water courts and in dealing with the ever-changing aspects of local government law and policy. With unsurpassed navigational skills of Colorado’s legal system, we know how to protect our clients while respecting their timeframes and budgets.
The firm has specialized in water law since the day, decades ago, that James Petrock started the firm based solidly on the knowledge and experience he gained from his tenure with the Denver Water Board. For over four decades we have built exponentially on that knowledge and experience as water law has become infinitely more complex, due inevitably to factors such as population growth that places an ever increasing demand on finite water resources, and the ever-evolving sophistication of government mandated environmental and regulatory law designed to protect both consumers and the water resources they depend on.
Perhaps no other area of the law has as much impact on the entirety of the community as water rights adjudication that affects every aspect of the lives of Colorado’s citizens; from serving business and commerce to keeping clean water flowing abundantly for residential users and leisure applications like parks and recreation.
While an intimate and comprehensive understanding of the ins and outs of water law is crucial to any firm specializing in the procurement and protection of water rights, our firm recognizes the crucial necessity of working knowledgeably and seamlessly with local government, water, health, and taxation authorities, as well as state and federal water regulators to effectively and fairly balance the needs of water rights holders with that of the general public.
Accordingly, our firm’s broad-based areas of expertise include, but are not limited to, the following:
Investigate title to water rights and prepare title opinions
Prepare closing documents and share transfers for ditch company shares
Adjudications of groundwater
Groundwater well permitting
Contract negotiations for private or governmental entities
Obtain raw-water contracts
Negotiate acquisition of water rights to include ditches, ditch company shares, new appropriations, storage rights, groundwater rights, effluent leases, and treated and raw water service agreements
Negotiate intergovernmental water service agreements
Negotiate ditch operations agreements, license agreements, relocations, and crossing agreements
Obtain water court approval for water right changes, adjudication of new conditional water rights, groundwater rights, exchanges, and augmentation plans
Represent clients at Colorado’s Water Quality Control Commission hearings
Offer legal assistance with water quality regulatory matters, including use of reclaimed effluent (Colorado Regulation 84)
Assist with preparation of documentation to support federal grants and loans
Negotiate augmentation water leases and obtain substitute water-supply plans for construction de-watering
Local governments serve important and crucial needs of local communities. Successfully navigating government law is, therefore, crucial for local governments and their communities. We have assisted both local governments and those affected by local governments and understand the perspectives of all involved. We are quite proud of our expertise in government law that enables us to serve our clients in all of the following areas and beyond:
Representing local government and special districts in all governmental matters
Contract drafting, negotiations and related matters for large public projects and other governmental business
Representing government in litigation and administrative hearings in which the governmental entity is a party
Assisting in pre-litigation protocols involving notice of claims and governmental immunity matters
Legal assistance to local government boards in their capacity as administrative tribunals in hearings before them (i.e. Board of Adjustment, Board of Equalization, Board of Public Health, Board of County Commissioners)
Board of Assessment Appeals tax appeals
Public Trustee matters
Assisting local governments in collaborating and working with other governmental entities including through the creation of intergovernmental agreements, MOUs, and other types of contracts and relationships
Assisting in election matters
Assisting in all matters involving Colorado Open Meetings and Open Records laws – CORA and CCJRA
Legal review and assistance regarding matters affecting or creating public policy
Assisting in day-to-day governance, administration, employment, and personnel matters of local government
Legal assistance in all zoning, building code, and wastewater treatment development and enforcement actions and in administrative drafting, revision, and implementation of zoning, building, and OWTS regulations
Real Estate Law
The crucial issues that are involved in water law and water rights are almost invariably tied, in one way or another, to issues of accountability in ownership and the lawfully responsible use of the land, from federally owned open forests and fields to state, municipal, and private property. Offering decades of dedicated legal expertise in real estate, our firm continues to represent clients in matters ranging from real estate contracts to zoning and subdivision issues to share transfers and more. Our litigation practice includes advocacy in state courts throughout Colorado, the United States District Court, and appellate practice before the Colorado Supreme Court and United States Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. From counties and cities to private entities, our firm has helped with many different aspects of real estate legal services to include:
Real estate sales and acquisitions, conveyances, contracts, deeds, easements, title work, closings
Ditch and utility rights of way
Zoning and land-use planning
Subdivisions and subdivision water supplies
Investigating title to water rights at the clerk and recorder’s office and at ditch company offices, and preparation of legal title opinions
Preparing closing documents and share transfers for ditch company shares