Kirsten M. Kurath

Practice Areas

  • Water Law
  • Real Estate
  • General Practice
  • Estate Planning and Administration

Bar Admissions

  • Colorado, 1994
  • U.S. District Court, District of Colorado, 1997


  • University of Arizona, B.S., Cellular/Developmental Biology, 1985, with high distinction
  • University of North Carolina, J.D., 1994, with high honors

AV® Distinguished™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell® for professionalism and ethics

Biographical Details 

Kirsten’s practice focuses on water law and she represents clients on water related issues from ditch disputes to water court applications to adjudicate and protect water rights.  She assists energy companies, gravel pit operators, irrigation districts, ditch companies, water users associations, domestic water providers, farmers and ranchers, subdivision developers and individuals with their water related needs.

Kirsten also maintains a general civil practice that includes real estate, estate planning and administration contracts, special district law, construction, and employment law.  

In addition to her office in Grand Junction, Kirsten is available to meet with clients in the North Fork Valley.

Professional Memberships and Activities

  • Member, Mesa County Bar Association
  • Member, Colorado Bar Association
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, Colorado Bar Association Water Law Section
  • Member, Colorado Water Congress


Community Activities

  • Member, Board of Directors, Colorado Water Trust (October 2022-present)
  • Member and Vice Chair, Colorado River Basin Roundtable (May 2022-present)
  • Member, Advisory Council for the Hutchins Water Center at Colorado Mesa University (2015-present)
  • Member, Board of Directors, Colorado Legal Services, Inc. (2020-present), (2006-2012)
  • Member, Board of Directors, Hi Fives Robotics, Secretary/Treasurer (2014-June 2016)
  • Member, Board of Directors, Colorado Discover Ability (2012-2014)
  • Member, Board of Directors, Colorado Lawyer Trust Account Foundation (1999-2005); President (2002-2004)
  • Member, Board of Directors, Mesa County Bar Association Pro Bono Project, Inc. (1998-2000); President (1999-2000)
  • Citizen Advisor, Grand Valley Air Quality Planning Committee (1997-2000)
  • Chair, Mesa County Bar Association Public Relations Committee, Call-A-Lawyer (1998-1999)


Presentations and Publications

  • “Does a River Run Through It?”, Colorado Mesa University Water, People and Environment, Guest Lecturer (April 2019)
  • “Colorado Water Law”, Colorado Mesa University Milestone Class-Rivers, Guest Lecturer (February 2018)
  • “Colorado Water Law: Overview and Recent ‘Adjustments’”, Colorado Mesa University Water Center’s 2018 Water Course (February 2018)
  • “New Development and Cases”, CLE International Colorado Water Law Conference (June 2017)
  • “Strategies for Avoiding the Courtroom”, Ditch and Reservoir Company Alliance (February 2017)
  • “Practical Legal Issues Affecting Ditch and Irrigation Companies”, Ditch and Reservoir Company Alliance (November 2016)
  • “Colorado Water Law Basics and Challenges and Changes for Agriculture”, Colorado Mesa University Water Center’s 2015 Water Law Course (February 2015)
  • “Colorado Water Law Basics and Grand Valley Water Rights”, Colorado Mesa University Water Center’s 2013 Water Law Course (February 2013)
  • “From a Drop in the Bucket to a Colorado River Compact Call: Some Things to Know about Water in Western Colorado”, Mesa County League of Women Voters (April 2012)
  • “Legal Liability for Ditch Breaches” presented at the Bureau of Reclamation, Water District Workshop (February 2012)
  • Co-lecturer for six Lorman Education Services.  Employment law presentations and materials prepared by Kirsten were included in the published course materials (2001-2002)
  • Presenter for a seminar on Negotiating and Writing Better Contracts at the Business of Law conference, sponsored by the Colorado Lawyers for the Arts and the Grand Junction Commission on Arts and Culture (2000)
  • In her past life, Kirsten co-authored scientific publications appearing in Journal of Cell Biology, Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology, Carcinogenesis, Radiation Research Society, Journal of Biological Chemistry, and the ICN-UCLA Symposia on DNA Replication and Recombination


Reported Cases

  • Grand Valley Water Users Association v. Busk-Ivanhoe, Inc., 386 P.3d 452 (Colo. 2016).
  • Pagosa Area Water & Sanitation District v. Trout Unlimited (In re Pagosa Area Water & Sanitation District), 219 P.3d 774 (Colo. 2009) (amicus brief).
  • Hall v. Hartley, 948 P.2d 539 (Colo. 1997).



Kirsten was born in Pensacola, Florida while her father was stationed there in the Navy, but grew up in a small town in Connecticut and spent lots of time in New Hampshire and Vermont as well. Her parents uprooted her as a sophomore in high school and moved the family to the Sonoran Desert in Tucson, Arizona. There, after the initial shock, Kirsten fell in love with the desert and her husband, Derall.

Kirsten obtained her undergraduate degree in cellular and developmental biology from the University of Arizona in 1985, with high distinction, and was a research technician and manager of a cancer research lab for several years before deciding to go to law school. She received her law degree from the University of North Carolina in1994 with high honors and graduated as a member of the Order of the Coif. Prior to joining the firm, Kirsten completed a one-year judicial clerkship with the Judge Roxanne Bailin in the Twentieth Judicial District in Boulder, Colorado.

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