Water Law Institute

Speakers & committee

Program Co-Chairs

WENDY BOWDEN CROWTHER has practiced water resource law since 2000. She is currently a shareholder at Parsons Behle & Latimer and member of the firm’s Environmental, Energy and Natural Resources practice group. Her practice focuses on natural resources and environmental law with an emphasis on water law and related litigation. Ms. Crowther represents water conservancy district, special service districts, municipalities, water companies and individual water right holders.  Ms. Crowther regularly appears before the Utah State Engineer, the District Court, and the Federal Court. She has completed numerous water right transactions and is experienced in both reclamation law and condemnation litigation. Ms. Crowther has also represented clients in matters dealing with the Clean Water Act.

CRAIG WILSON, K&L Gates, Harrisburg, PA

Program Committee

DAVID A. BAILEY, Law Office of David A. Bailey, Westminster, CO

REED D. BENSON holds the Don L. & Mabel F. Dickason Endowed Chair in Law at the University of New Mexico School of Law, where he teaches natural resources classes and serves as Faculty Editor-in-Chief of the Natural Resources Journal. Prior to coming to UNM, he spent six years on the faculty of the University of Wyoming College of Law, where he taught courses in environmental law, legislation, water law, and administrative law, and served as faculty adviser to the Wyoming Law Review. He previously worked as executive director of WaterWatch of Oregon, a staff attorney for the Land and Water Fund of the Rockies, an attorney for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and an associate at the Colorado law firm of Hutchinson, Black & Cook. Benson’s writing focuses on water law and environmental issues facing the West. His most recent publications examine such topics as the application of the Endangered Species Act to federal water projects, the efforts of western cities to ensure adequate water supplies for recreation, and the scope of federal deference to state laws governing water allocation and management. He is co-author of the 7th edition of the Water Resource Management casebook published by Foundation Press.

PAM BUSH, Attorney, Delaware River Basin Commission, West Trenton, NJ

ROBIN KUNDIS CRAIG is the James I. Farr Presidential Endowed Professor of Law at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, and affiliated faculty of the Wallace Stegner Center for Land, Resources, and the Environment and the Global Change and Sustainability Center. She also serves on the Executive Board of the University of Utah’s Water Center. Craig specializes in all things water, including the climate change and water; the food-water-energy nexus; water quality and water allocation law; and marine protected areas and marine spatial planning. She is the author, co-author, or editor of 11 books and over 100 law or science articles and book chapters. Craig is an elected member of American Law Institute and a member of the IUCN’s World Commission on Environmental Law. Her comments on contemporary marine, water, and climate change issues have been quoted in National Geographic, The Atlantic, The New York Times, and many other news outlets. At the University of Utah, she teaches Environmental Law, Water Law, Ocean & Coastal Law, Toxic Torts, Property, and Civil Procedure.

ADAM W. GRAVLEY, Partner, Van Ness Feldman LLP, Seattle, WA

RAMSEY LAURSOO KROPF is a shareholder with Somach Simmons & Dunn P.C., a leading firm shaping water law throughout the West. Before joining the firm, she served as Deputy Solicitor, Water Resources, Office of the Solicitor, in Washington, D.C. As Deputy Solicitor, she was the lead water lawyer at the U.S. Department of the Interior from January 2015 - January 2017. Before her appointment, Kropf practiced water law in Colorado for 17 years and was a shareholder with Patrick Miller Kropf Noto, P.C. From 1995 to 2014, she served as the Special Master for the Fifth Judicial District Court in Wyoming’s Big Horn River General Adjudication. Ms. Kropf received her joint J.D./M.B.A. degree from the University of Colorado in 1991 and her B.S.B.A. from the University of Denver in 1984. She is admitted to the bar in Arizona, Wyoming, and Colorado, to the U.S. District Court of Colorado, and to the United States Supreme Court. She loves skiing, biking, soccer, art, travel and enjoying those things with her family.

Speakers

DR. KARRIGAN BÖRK is a scientist and lawyer whose research concerns environmental law, natural resources law, and administrative law, focusing on the interplay of science and law. He seeks to produce scholarship that will be useful to practicing lawyers, judges, and policy makers in the environmental field. His most recent publications explore the Anthropocene and environmental governance. Prof. Börk will begin as an Acting Professor at the UC Davis School of Law in July, and he is currently finishing a Visiting Assistant Professorship with McGeorge School of Law. He previously taught at the University of Kansas. He teaches courses in environmental law, water law, administrative law, environmental field courses, and property. Professor Bork graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Kansas in 2002 and then spent three years working as a Truman Fellow in the Secretary's Office at the U.S. Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C. Prof. Börk graduated with Distinction and Pro Bono Distinction from Stanford Law School in 2009 and completed his PhD in Ecology at UC Davis in September 2011. He received the Shapiro Family Award in 2011 as the Outstanding PhD Graduate in Ecology at UC Davis. After graduate school, he clerked for Tenth Circuit Chief Judge Mary Beck Briscoe, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Julie Robinson, and Judge Janice Karlin on the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Kansas. 

ANNE J. CASTLE is a senior fellow at the Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy, and the Environment at the University of Colorado Law School, focusing on western water policy issues, including Colorado River management, integration of land use and water planning, and alternatives to permanent agricultural dry-up. From 2009 to 2014, she was Assistant Secretary for Water and Science at the U.S. Department of the Interior where she oversaw water and science policy for the Department and had responsibility for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Geological Survey. While at Interior, Castle spearheaded the Department’s WaterSMART program, which provides federal leadership on the path toward sustainable water supplies and was the driving force behind a multi-agency MOU addressing sustainable hydropower. Castle also provided hands-on leadership on Colorado River issues and was the Chair of the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Work Group and a champion of Minute 319 between the US and Mexico. Castle is a recovering lawyer, having practiced water law for 28 years with the Rocky Mountain law firm of Holland & Hart.

BARBARA COSENS, Professor, University of Idaho College of Law, Moscow, ID

BARRY H. EPSTEIN, Partner, Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis, San Francisco, CA

JUGE GREGG, Senior Corporate Counsel, Amazon, Washington DC

BURKE W. GRIGGS is an associate professor of law at Washburn University. He specializes in American water law, and has published articles on groundwater law, surface water-groundwater issues, interstate water litigation, and water policy. In his prior capacity as an assistant attorney general for the State of Kansas, Mr. Griggs represented the state in Kansas v. Nebraska & Colorado (2009-2015), an original action before the Supreme Court to enforce the Republican River Compact. Professor Griggs also served as counsel of record in Kansas’s first reserved tribal water rights settlement, with the Kickapoo Tribe of Kansas. As Senior Legal Counsel to the Chief Engineer of the Kansas Division of Water Resources, he defended DWR in court and drafted legislation enabling the formation of Local Enhanced Management Areas for high-stress regions of the High Plains-Ogallala Aquifer in Kansas. Professor Griggs is a fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University, where he contributes to its Water in the West Project. He holds a B.A. from Stanford, a Ph.D. from Yale, and a law degree from the University of Kansas.

AMY I. HAAS is the Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel for the Upper Colorado River Commission.  Previously, Amy worked as General Counsel for the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission.  From March 2015 through May 2017, Amy served as New Mexico’s Upper Colorado River Commissioner and its Colorado River Basin States Representative.

CHRIS HARRIS, Executive Director, State of California Colorado River Board, Glendale, CA

DREVET HUNT, Senior Attorney, NRDC Nature Program, San Francisco, CA

JEFF B. KRAY is an environmental litigator at Marten Law LLP in Seattle, Washington. Over a 28 year career, Jeff has conducted numerous trials, litigated administrative hearings, and appeared in federal and state appeals. He is consistently ranked by his peers as a top environmental lawyer and has been recognized as a leader in the environmental field by inclusion in Chambers, Best Lawyers, International Who’s Who of Environmental Lawyers, and other publications. Before joining Marten Law in 2003, Jeff spent over a decade in the Washington Attorney General’s Office. Jeff’s practice focuses on the neighborhood in which PFAS has become an urgent environmental issue; the intersection between water quality, water resources, and complex environmental litigation, including Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act permitting and regulatory compliance, and CERCLA (Superfund) site remediation. He is a frequent speaker and writer on PFAS. Jeff has represented public and private clients throughout the country, including municipal water suppliers and municipal waste operators impacted by PFAS contaminants.

RICHARD J. LAZARUS, Howard and Katherine Aibel Professor of Law, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA

TINA CANNON LEAHY is a Staff Counsel IV with the State Water Resources Control Board Office of the Chief Counsel. Her primary areas of focus are the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan updates and Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) implementation. Before coming to the State Water Board, she was the Principal Consultant for the California Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee where, from 2010 through 2015 she served as the Assembly's water law and policy expert, including helping to draft SGMA. Prior to the Assembly, Ms. Leahy was Senior Staff Counsel at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife specializing in Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta water operations and management, endangered species, and other water-related issues and permitting and an associate attorney with the law firm of Somach, Simmons, and Dunn counseling clients and litigating on water and natural resources matters including California Environmental Quality Act compliance. She is Chair of the California Lawyers Association (CLA) Governance Committee, an Advisor to the CLA Environmental Law Section, and Co-Chair of the Alumni Advisory Board for the California Environmental Law and Policy Center at her alma mater, the UC Davis School of Law.

MARIA O’BRIEN, Shareholder, Modrall Sperling, Albuquerque, NM

DAVE OWEN, Professor of Law, UC Hastings College of Law, San Francisco, CA

PAUL REIG, Former Director, Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas and Corporate Water Stewardship, World Resources Institute, Washington DC

KIM SAGER-FRADKIN, Wildlife Biologist, Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, Port Angeles, WA

BARTON H. “BUZZ” THOMPSON, JR., Robert E. Paradise Professor of Natural Resources Law, Stanford Law School, Stanford, CA

HILARY C. TOMPKINS is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Hogan Lovells. She has expansive experience in natural resources and environmental law at the highest levels of government. Most recently, she served in the presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed position of Solicitor for the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) – the agency responsible for the management and conservation of public lands, natural and wildlife resource programs, and the trustee for Native American tribes. In that role, she led over 300 attorneys in 16 offices nationwide and acquired significant experience in onshore and offshore energy development (conventional and renewable), the administration of federal water projects, conservation and wildlife legal requirements, and public land law. Before serving as DOI Solicitor, Hilary was counsel to New Mexico's governor, acting as his chief legal adviser on all matters from appointment of judges and interpretation of constitutional authority to enactment of legislative initiatives. She was also a special assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of New York. Hilary began her legal career as an honors program trial attorney in the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, where she handled civil prosecutions in environmental cases nationwide. Hilary is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation.