Legal Experience

Trout Raley, Colorado
Shareholder. Natural resources firm with emphasis in water and environmental law and litigation (1996 to Present).

Deborah Freeman has over 30 years of experience in the areas of natural resources and environmental law. Her work focuses on permitting and regulatory compliance under the National Environmental Policy Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, National Historic Preservation Act, Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, and Reclamation and Public Lands laws.

Ms. Freeman has substantial experience in the scoping and legal sufficiency review of environmental impact statements under NEPA for individual projects as well as system-wide water supply and other programmatic EIS analyses. She has served as lead counsel for governmental entities in securing environmental compliance under section 404 of the Clean Water Act and related laws for multiple complex infrastructure projects.
Ms. Freeman also has significant experience in negotiation and development of programmatic solutions to resolving resource conflicts. She represented the Platte River Project in negotiations culminating in establishment of the Federal/Tri-State Platte River Recovery Implementation Program for the federally endangered species in Nebraska. She also represented a local government in development of the first regional habitat conservation plan in Colorado approved under Section 10 of the ESA, which received a Local Government Collaboration Award by the Denver Regional Council of Governments. Ms. Freeman was also a key negotiator and drafter of a cooperative plan involving diverse stakeholder interests that serves as an alternative to designation of river segments under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.  

Attorney and Shareholder, Saunders, Snyder, Ross & Dickson, P.C., Denver, Colorado (1982 to 1994).

Awards and acknowledgments
AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®
Lawyer of the Year for Environmental Law in Denver by Best Lawyers® in America (2023)
Environmental & Natural Resources - USA legal award Lawyer Monthly (2022)
Listed in Best Lawyers® for Environmental and Water Law (2018 - 2023)

Friend of the Platte - Awarded by the South Platte Forum (2021)

Publications & Teaching
  • Co-Author, The Need for Constructing Endangered Fish Habitats that Conform to Climate-Driven Flow Changes in a Western U.S. River (Journal of the American Water Resources Association 2023).
  • Co-Author, New Clean Water Act Rule Defining Waters of the United States, The Colorado Lawyer (Colorado Bar Association 2015), selected for inclusion in Journals & Law Reviews WESTLAW database. 
  • Co-Author, New Federal Guidance on Identifying Waters Protected by the Clean Water Act, The Colorado Lawyer (Colorado Bar Association 2011). 
  • Author, Reinitiation of ESA Section 7 Consultation Over Existing Projects, Endangered Species Act Deskbook - Law, Policy & Perspectives (American Bar Association 2002). 
  • Author, Against the Flow: Emerging Conflicts Between Endangered Species Protection and Water Use, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation (1994 Proceedings of Institute). 
  • Contributor, Water Law in the Fifty States and Territories (American Water Works Association 1998). 
  • Contributor, Primer on Eastern Water Rights (American Water Works Association 1998). 
  • Contributor, Acquiring, Using and Protecting Water in Colorado (3rd ed. 2011). 
  • Co-Author, Alternative Approaches to HCPs for Aquatic Species - The Upper Colorado River and Central Platte Recovery Programs. 16th Annual Water law Conference (American Bar Association 1998). 
  • Co-Teacher, University of Denver Graduate Studies - Environmental Law (1991-1993). 
  • Co-Lecturer, University of Denver Continuing Legal Education Series, Water Law Course (1989 - 1992). 


Colorado Courts
United States District Court for the District of Colorado
United States District Court for the District of Arizona (pro hac vice)
United States 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States 10th Circuit Court of Appeals

Law School Attended

University of Denver, Class of 1982, with honors

University Attended

Stanford University, Class of 1976, with distinction

Associations and Memberships

American Bar Association (member of Natural Resources and Administrative Law Sections)
Colorado Bar Association (Chair of Environmental Law Section 1991-1992; current member of Environmental and Water Law Sections)
Denver Bar Association (Executive Council, Young Lawyers’ Division, 1985-1988).


Trout Raley Montaño Freeman Sinor Thompson P.C.


1120 N Lincoln Street,
Suite 1600,
Denver, Colorado 80203-2141