Sherman & Howard Hires James Eklund, a Leading Water Lawyer in Western U.S.; Adds Deep Water Rights, Infrastructure, & Quality Experience

DENVER, Colo. (April 7, 2022) – Sherman & Howard announced that James Eklund, the former director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board, has joined the firm as a member of its Business and Real Estate Group. Eklund brings nearly two decades of public and private sector water law and infrastructure experience across the government, natural resources, and energy sectors, and is considered the “architect of Colorado’s Water Plan.”

“James is a talented and highly respected attorney, and we are delighted that he has joined Sherman & Howard,” said Stefan Stein, CEO of Sherman & Howard. “James’ experience in water rights and land use issues will be of great value to clients and furthers our goal of expanding practice areas critical to business in the Western United States.”

“James’ background as one of the preeminent water lawyers in the American West enables us to help our clients address what is and what will be in the future some of the most challenging issues facing both public and private sectors,” said Lyle Wallace, leader of the Business and Real Estate Practice Group. “Water rights, infrastructure, and quality will affect the businesses and personal lives of many of our current and prospective clients – they will benefit from James’ experience, including his background as the architect of Colorado’s first strategic water plan.”

Prior to joining Sherman & Howard, Eklund founded and led his own water consultancy, Eklund Hanlon, LLC, that specialized in environmental, public policy, regulatory, and legislative matters. He focused on environmental and natural resources issues and public infrastructure projects, particularly in relation to water, in addition to public-private partnership financing projects. Previously, Eklund led the global water practice, as well as resiliency and sustainability efforts, for an international law firm.

“As one of the oldest firms in the West, Sherman & Howard has a rich legacy in the development of Colorado’s infrastructure, including the Moffat Tunnel bonds,” said Eklund. “As a fifth‑generation Coloradan raised on a working cattle ranch, I understand water from the ‘business end of a shovel’ – the path forward in these times of great uncertainty requires our public and private sectors to develop and implement real solutions. I look forward to harnessing my extensive water law experience to provide comprehensive water counsel to the firm’s current and future clients.”

Eklund has represented the state of Colorado in interstate and international water matters, including on the Colorado River. In this role, he worked with representatives from other states, along with members of Congress, federal agencies, and American Indian tribes to protect the health of the Colorado River system. He also previously served as legal counsel to former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and was an Assistant Attorney General specializing in interstate and international water issues.

“Given climate change and water use, the Colorado River is in a current state of emergency that will impact more than 40 million people in seven states across the Southwestern U.S. and Mexico,” said Eklund. “The good news is that we can address this and other water challenges with immediate public‑private cooperation, and the primary focus of my work will be working with entities that have a vested interest in the outcomes of solving this very real threat to the long-term prosperity of the American Southwest.”

About Sherman & Howard

Sherman & Howard L.L.C. is an Am Law 200 law firm with ten offices in Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, Missouri, and New Mexico. Our attorneys provide high-quality legal and business solutions to a broad range of clients, including private, public, and government entities. We have extensive experience in aerospace and government contracting, infrastructure and construction, financial services, natural resources, telecommunications, technology, manufacturing, consumer products and retail, and nonprofit entities. With over two dozen attorneys who focus exclusively on estate and tax planning and family and matrimonial law, Sherman & Howard also boasts one of the nation’s most respected private client practices. For more information, visit