Ms. Montaño is an experienced attorney with a focus on state and federal court litigation, as well as federal administrative and legislative strategy.

Legal Experience

Trout Raley, Colorado
Shareholder. Natural resources firm with emphasis in water and environmental law and litigation. General counsel; represents Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District in general policy and numerous matters before agencies of the Department of Interior including transfer of title to facilities, environmental consultations and safety of dams.

Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, P.C., 1997-1999.
Natural resources law, water rights and development, public lands.

Parcel, Mauro, Hultin & Spaanstra, P.C., Of Counsel, 1994-1997.
Practice in natural resources law, water, environmental, zoning and land use.

Saunders, Snyder, Ross & Dickson, P.C., 1989-1994.
Shareholder, team leader for major water development cases; federal water rights litigation.

Assistant Attorney General - Colorado, 1986-1989.
Natural Resources Section, First Assistant - Water; advised Division of Wildlife, State Parks, Division of Water Resources, Water Conservation Board. Advised agencies in the promulgation of rules and regulations, represented agency staff in technical administrative hearings, and litigation. Also advised various Boards and Commissions within the Department of Natural Resources on the legal requirements concerning state action and requirements for the conduct of government business. Briefed and argued numerous cases before the Colorado Court of Appeals and the Colorado Supreme Court.

Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Denver, Staff Attorney, 1981-1985.
Practiced in the litigation of consumer, housing, elder law and utilities matters. Staff supervision.

Awards and acknowledgements
AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®
Listed in Best Lawyers® for Water Law and Environmental Law

5280 Magazine's Denver's Top Lawyers 2024 in Water Law

Non-Indian Federal Reserved Rights Since the Rio Mimbres Decision, 37th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute (1991).
Co-author, Acquiring, Using, and Protecting Water in Colorado (2nd ed. 2005).

Representative cases
Texas v. New Mexico, United States Supreme Court, 2013

Additional experience
Special Assistant Attorney General, State of New Mexico (2001 – present)
Chairman, Colorado State Parks Board (1996 – 1998); member (1994 – 1999)
First Assistant Attorney General, Colorado (1988)
Federal Representative, Presidential Appointment, Louisiana/Texas Sabine River Commission
Advisor, University of Colorado Natural Resources Law Center

Professional memberships

Member, Denver, Trustee, 1997 – 1999, Colorado and American Bar Associations
Member, Colorado Hispanic Bar Association; Past President, 1995


Colorado Courts
United States District Court for the District of Colorado
United States 10th Circuit Court of Appeals
U.S. Court of Claims
United States Supreme Court

Law School Attended

University of Colorado, Class of 1980

University Attended

Colorado Women's College, Class of 1977

Associations and Memberships

American Bar Association
Colorado Bar Association
Denver Bar Association
Colorado Hispanic Bar Association (former President)
Colorado Water Congress
Colorado Women’s Bar Association


Trout Raley Montaño Freeman Sinor Thompson P.C.


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