Michael Daugherty represents public and private parties in complex matters involving water and other natural resources throughout the West. He provides advice regarding water rights, water quality, and land use to a variety of clients, including public entities, ranches, resorts, and universities.
Michael combines his experience as a Colorado water lawyer in private practice with a unique perspective gained through his prior work in Indian Country, as in-house counsel to a tribal government and as a public defender. Prior to joining the firm, Michael worked in the Navajo Nation’s attorney general office, providing legal advice and representation to the Navajo Nation departments of land, fish and wildlife, historic preservation, and environmental protection. Key matters worked on include the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project, landmark legislation that increased tribal authority over 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. His first position after law school graduation was with DNA-People’s Legal Services, as a public defender for the Hopi Tribe and civil legal aid attorney in rural Arizona.
Beyond his law practice, Michael enjoys exploring the outdoors in Colorado and around the world.
Prosecute water court applications seeking new and changing existing water rights on behalf of a variety of clients.
Represent parties to rulemaking proceedings before the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission.
Litigate appeals of water court and agency decisions, including before the Colorado Supreme Court.
Assist with moving forward state and federal water related legislation.
Draft agreements involving water rights for public entities and private landowners and developers.
Provide general counsel advice to Colorado ditch companies.