Somach Simmons and Dunn, Attorneys at Law Somach Simmons & Dunn | Attorneys at Law

Areas

Education

  • Lewis & Clark Law School (J.D., 2010)
  • Whitman College (B.A., 2002)

Admissions

  • Colorado

Leila C. Behnampour
Associate

Leila Behnampour is a water rights attorney with nearly a decade of experience representing public and private sector clients in water rights and related matters across the state of Colorado. Her clients include municipalities, special districts, groundwater management districts, ditch companies, non-profit entities, private companies, and individuals.

Leila began her career in the highly sought after position of law clerk for the Water Judge and Chief Judge of the 19th Judicial District in Colorado. Over her years of practice, she has developed expertise in both litigation and transactional matters. In Water Court, she has successfully defended municipal client-water rights on numerous occasions, including successfully arguing a motion to dismiss. Although she has significant litigation experience in numerous complex water resources cases in Water Court, Leila is settlement-minded given the uncertainty of trial. Leila has demonstrated success in working collaboratively to reach agreeable solutions, having negotiated numerous settlements, often involving multiple parties and complex water resources engineering issues.

In Leila’s transactional practice, she assists clients in understanding how they can use and protect their water rights. She regularly conducts due diligence investigations for water rights, and assists clients with the purchase and sale of water rights. She also is active in the real estate community, teaching water law classes to real estate professionals to help educate the public about water in Colorado.

Leila has been actively involved in efforts to develop policy to conserve designated groundwater in eastern Colorado. She organized outreach efforts between members of the Ogallala Water Coordinated Agricultural Project team and water users in eastern Colorado to provide tools and strategies effective at improving water use efficiency, water conservation, and farm operation profitability. She also participated in a panel with the Colorado State Engineer to discuss water policy opportunities and constraints related to water conservation with members of the Water Preservation Partnership, a group in eastern Colorado concerned about the declining Ogallala Aquifer.

Outside of work, Leila enjoys spending time outside with her husband and two young children. Some of her favorite activities include mountain biking, skiing, and exploring nature with her kids.

Representative Matters

Conducted due diligence and title examinations for numerous water rights acquisitions.

Advocated for easement and ditch rights for several ditch companies.

Jim Hutton Educ. Found. v. Rein, 2018 CO 38, 2018 – Represented seven groundwater management districts and successfully defended an appeal in the Colorado Supreme Court of a decision in Water Court protecting designated groundwater rights in the Ogallala Aquifer.

Prosecuted numerous Water Court applications in Water Divisions 1 and 2, which involved leading a team of clients, engineers, and consultants through a years-long process of motions practice, settlement negotiations involving complex water resource engineering issues, and preparation for trial.

Represented groundwater management districts in state agency rulemakings involving designated groundwater.

Insights and Activities

  • Speaker, Water Law for Realtors, Boulder Area Realtors Association, April 2020
  • Speaker, American Ground Water Trust Conference, 2016, 2017, 2019
  • Chair, Content Subcommittee, Northwest Water Law Symposium, 2009
  • Co-Chair, Natural Resources Section, Boulder County Bar Association, 2018
  • State Affairs Committee, Colorado Water Congress, 2017-2018
  • Member, Colorado Bar Association, Water Law Section, 2010-Present
  • Author, Reforming a Western Institution: How Expanding the Productivity of Water Rights Could Lessen Our Water Woes, 41 ENVTL. L. 1 (2011)

Education

  • Lewis & Clark Law School (J.D., 2010)
  • Whitman College (B.A., 2002)

Admissions

  • Colorado