Michael Daugherty represents public and private parties in complex natural resources matters. He blends his experience as a Colorado water lawyer in private practice with a unique perspective gained through his work in Indian country as a public defender and in-house counsel for a tribal government.
Michael advises clients regarding water court litigation, state and federal water agreements, municipal water supplies, property law, and agency decision-making. He has successfully secured water rights for clients (including municipalities, private corporations, and individual landowners), defended against appeals, and negotiated favorable settlements.
His legal career spans work for both public interest groups and public agencies, as well as experience as a water lawyer in private practice in Denver. Most recently on the public side, Michael worked as an in-house natural resources attorney for the Navajo Nation, providing legal representation to the Navajo Departments of Land, Fish and Wildlife, and Historic Preservation, as well as the Navajo Environmental Protection Agency’s water programs. Key matters he worked on include the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project, landmark legislation that increased tribal authority over telecommunication leasing and permitting on tribal land, and formal negotiations with the National Park Service regarding wilderness designations and the State of Utah regarding off-reservation hunting rights.
Michael’s first position after law school graduation was with DNA-People’s Legal Services, as a public defender for the Hopi Tribe and a civil legal aid attorney on the Navajo Nation. While in law school, he interned for several environmental non-profit organizations, served as a student attorney in the Getches-Green Natural Resources, Energy, and Environmental Law Clinic, and worked as a research assistant for the American Indian Law Program.
He has prior experience representing private individuals and public entities on water law matters in Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. He has litigated cases in water court, handled transactional matters, and participated in administrative proceedings for local governments and ranching interests.
Beyond his law practice, Michael enjoys skiing, tennis, speaking Spanish, and trail running with his dog, Rosie.