First Assistant Attorney General – Water Resources Unit


Natural Resources
Position Number:
LAA 09196
Salary Range:
$135,680.00 - $180,000.00 Yearly
Apply By:
Friday, December 22, 2023, 11:59 pm
Work Unit:
Water Resources
Job Location:
1300 Broadway, Denver, CO 80203
Release Date:
Thursday, December 7, 2023
Employment Type:
Position Type:

The Colorado Department of Law, Natural Resources & Environment Section is recruiting for the First Assistant Attorney General to lead the Water Resources Unit and to represent the Colorado Division of Water Resources. This is a rare opportunity for an attorney seeking high-level government experience leading a legal team in advising administrative agencies, adjudicating water rights in Colorado’s seven water courts, litigating water use issues of statewide importance, and enforcing judicial and administrative orders for water rights administration. For this position, we are looking for a leader with deep water rights experience, who is interested in developing and coaching the attorneys in the unit.


The Water Resources Unit represents the Colorado Division of Water Resources (DWR), including the State Engineer’s Office, Colorado’s seven Division Engineers, the Colorado Ground Water Commission (GWC), the Board of Examiners for Water Well Construction and Pump Installation Contractors (BOE), and DWR’s Dam Safety Section. The work focuses largely on representing the State and Division Engineers in the adjudication of water right matters in Colorado’s seven Water Courts; representing the GWC’s staff in designated groundwater proceedings before the GWC and District Courts; providing general counsel to DWR, the GWC, the BOE, and their staffs; and seeking administrative and judicial enforcement of orders of the water courts and the agencies relating to the use of surface water and groundwater, as well as dam safety and BOE’s licensing and regulation of contractors. This position requires frequent appearances before the GWC, the BOE, Colorado Water Courts, other District Courts, and the Colorado Supreme Court.


The First Assistant Attorney General (“First”) is responsible for leading a team in ways that are consistent with the values of the Department of Law that recognize that members of the Department of Law are public servants, principled, innovative, and better together. The First reports to the Deputy Attorney General for Natural Resources & Environment Section and participates in management and leadership teams for the Section and the Office.

The First facilitates the work and operations of the Unit, promoting collaboration, engagement, integrity, and exceptional legal service. The First assigns and oversees cases and other legal responsibilities, coordinates workflow, and carries an independent workload. In addition, the First has management responsibilities that include making hiring and salary recommendations; coaching and evaluating the attorneys and paralegal; providing professional development through mentoring; and reporting to senior management on legal, operational, and personnel matters. The First also leads the Unit in the development and maintenance of strong client partnerships; monitors legislative and legal developments related to client representation; and ensures the delivery of high-quality, cost-effective legal services to clients while maintaining the highest standards of professionalism.

As the First Assistant Attorney General in Water Resources Unit you will have the opportunity to:

  • Lead the Unit and supervise a staff of 6-9 employees, including assistant attorneys general, paralegals, administrative assistants, and temporary attorneys.
  • Coach those staff members on professional development and perform annual goal setting and quarterly reviews.
  • Report regularly to Department of Law and Section leadership on significant matters; identify and report issues that may impact the work of other Units within the office and coordinate work with those Units.
  • Partner and collaborate with the First Assistant Attorneys General in the other water units in the Section.
  • Provide general counsel to the client agencies.
  • Represent the client agencies in administrative and judicial proceedings.
  • Draft and file pleadings in Colorado’s Water Courts, other District Courts, and the Colorado Supreme Court.
  • Work closely with the State Engineer, Deputy State Engineers, and Division Engineers, and other DWR staff as they administer all the waters of the state and carry out their statutory duties.

Firsts at the Department of Law ensure the unit consistently provides high-quality legal representation. The First is expected to handle a caseload which may include high profile or complex cases in the unit and to supervise other staff performing similar work. The First serves as a frontline leader and is responsible for employee performance management activities and assisting the Deputy Attorney General with personnel, budget, and various administrative duties affecting the work of the Unit and the Department of Law.

Salary Note: The Department of Law uses a wage progression compensation model. Although a salary range is listed, salary will be set commensurate with the successful candidate’s qualifications and in compliance with the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act.

Salary will be paid on a biweekly basis.


The First is part of the Office of the Attorney General/Department of Law leadership team. As such, the strongest candidates will demonstrate excellence in the following competencies.

Communication & Listening – Inspires confidence through active listening and effective communication with clients, leadership, colleagues, and staff.
Flexible & Adaptable Management – Accepts, adapts, and contributes positively to change; leads with new concepts and ideas; and encourages others to be equally adaptive and flexible.
Coaching & Developing People – Invests in our talent through coaching and sponsorship and by pushing individuals outside of their comfort zones to grow as professionals.
Creative & Strategic Problem Solving – Takes a result-oriented, open-minded, and innovative approach to overcoming challenges and dealing with crises.
Enterprise & Growth Mindset – Balances the goals of clients, leadership, colleagues, and staff with the broader interest of the enterprise.
Client Service, Interpersonal Skills, and Emotional Intelligence– Demonstrates and models self- awareness, self-regulation, empathy, and sensitivity in working with clients, colleagues, and staff.

Applicants for the First Assistant Attorney General – Water Resources Unit position must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be admitted to the Colorado bar or be clearly eligible to waive into the Colorado Bar and be in good standing at the time of application. Candidates eligible to waive into the Colorado Bar will be required to submit proof of their completed application and application for Practice Pending Admission before the first day of employment. For more information about admission to the Colorado bar please review information on the Colorado Supreme Court Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel.
  • Demonstrated expertise in Colorado Water law.
  • Have outstanding writing and analytical skills.
  • Have outstanding oral communication skills.

The ideal candidate will also have:

  • A minimum of 10 years of experience in water right adjudications and related litigation under Colorado’s Water Right Determination and Administration Act of 1969 and the Colorado Groundwater Management Act of 1965.
  • A minimum of 3 years of experience with the State Administrative Procedure Act and the Colorado Open Records Act.
  • Prior experience providing general counsel to public agencies.
  • Prior management or supervisory experience leading a diverse workforce.
  • Desire to coach and mentor employees in the unit.
  • Ability to collaborate and work as part of a team.
  • Commitment to and values diversity, equity, inclusion, and public service.

Conditions of Employment: 

  • The final candidates for employment must successfully pass a thorough criminal background investigation.


Please view the full job announcement for more information, including information about compensation and benefits, and to apply online.

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