Published: April 7, 2020

The Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy, and the Environment (GWC) at the University of Colorado Law School is pleased to announce the launch of the GWC Fellows Program, a first-of-its-kind initiative that will train the next generation of natural resource leaders.

The program, which is designed to address the most pressing environmental issues across the core research and practice areas of the GWC including energy, water, public lands, and tribal communities, will commence this month with a national search for the inaugural pair of Getches-Wilkinson Water Law Fellows.

The intensive two-year program will immerse the two fellows in the real world challenges of water law and policy. They will address critical issues affecting western watersheds, conduct reform-oriented research on pressing issues in the field, and interact with public and private sector leaders to inform policymaking. The fellows will be actively engaged in water law reform in the public interest and will hone their leadership, communication, advocacy, and research skills. The overarching objective is to create a matchless educational and mentoring experience that will prepare the fellows to become leaders in the field. 

“Fellows will get training from the most experienced people in the field, and then bring diverse voices and creative energy to the region’s most pressing natural resource challenges,” said Sarah Krakoff, Moses Lasky Professor of Law.

The Colorado River provides water and electricity for people throughout the region, including residents of Denver, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Tucson, Las Vegas and Albuquerque. It also irrigates over 3 million acres of crops and pasture; provides abundant recreational opportunities for rafting, fishing, boating and hiking; and serves as habitat for a multitude of fish and wildlife species, including several endangered native fish. Increasingly, demand is outstripping supply for this important natural resource.

“In Colorado and beyond, there is a rising need for thoughtful policy initiatives at all levels of government to manage water usage throughout the Colorado River Basin,” Krakoff said. “The GWC sees an opportunity to help address this unmet need, and similar ones throughout western watersheds, while training the next generation of outstanding and diverse leaders in water law.”

The GWC Fellows Program is supported by David Bonderman, a lawyer, executive, and significant supporter of conservation initiatives, who contributed a matching grant of $420,000. Additional financial support came from an anonymous donor and the Water Funder Initiative, a collaborative effort to identify and activate promising water solutions through strategic philanthropic investments in the United States, starting in the West.

How to apply

The GWC is seeking two exceptional lawyers early in their careers for the fellows program. The job description, requirements and application instructions are available online. The position is open until filled, and full consideration will be given to applications received by Friday, April 10. 

For more information on the GWC Fellows Program, contact Shaun LaBarre at or (303) 492-1286.