Claire Tucker, in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences Office of Advancement, recently interviewed Ms. Dunn; excerpts are below.
Partner, Balcomb & Green, P.C., Glenwood Springs, Colo.
Ms. Dunn earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental health at CSU, followed by a law degree at the University of Colorado. She began her legal career as a clerk for the Honorable Jonathan W. Hays in the 19th Judicial District. She also served as a part-time Water Referee in Water Division 1. Her passion for water rights developed while working on complex water cases. Before joining Balcomb & Green, Ms. Dunn developed a specialized water practice with clients throughout Colorado.
My clients appreciate my agricultural roots and scientific training. My background allows me to better understand their problems. I appreciate how deeply they value their natural resources and how dedicated they are to their operations.
From wheat farm to water law
I grew up on a wheat farm in southeastern Colorado, which fostered an appreciation for natural resources. I became interested in the environment and understanding how modifications to that environment affect people and animals. I took George Radosevich’s Water Law class in the College of Agriculture, inspiring my future. Then, in Ken Blehm’s Environmental Health class, I learned how science, environment, and society could be bridged.
Applying science in a legal career
I transitioned from scientist to lawyer successfully because of the strong critical thinking and communication skills I developed at CSU. Every day, I use the scientific education I received at CSU – biology, chemistry, physics, environmental engineering, and mathematics. The breadth of my educational experience fuels my career now. My advice to new students is to develop a love of learning, strong written and oral communication skills, and to not preclude any opportunities during their time at CSU.
Working for people and places
Practicing water law allows me to use my love of science to help my clients understand and solve complex natural resource issues. I started out adjudicating water rights on the South Platte River. From there, I moved into private practice on the Western Slope of Colorado. I help my clients maximize their natural resources and preserve and protect those resources for future generations. My clients include developers, farmers and ranchers, mutual ditch companies, and oil and gas companies. Most of my time is spent at my clients’ properties working one-on-one to evaluate and formulate solutions for their individual challenges.