Forman, Wayne F.

Wayne Forman is highly regarded for his expertise in water law, advising on both contentious and non-contentious mandates. Peers say: "He's a good lawyer with good judgment and a broad practice. He has lots of experience and knowledge." - Chambers USA, 2018

Thirty-five years navigating complex land use and water issues. Facilitated hundreds of millions in water rights deals. Respected authority on water, land use and environmental law matters.

Few can rival Wayne’s experience handling high-profile land use, water, environmental and condemnation matters. Public entities and private companies throughout the Rocky Mountain region have counted on his experience to handle challenging land use and water issues, including water rights litigation and transactions, defense of land use entitlements, easement litigation, federal and state permitting, oil and gas disputes, and eminent domain proceedings.

Wayne’s experience includes a multi-year negotiation with the EPA and Department of Justice over alleged storm water violations, precedent setting litigation before the Colorado Supreme Court on oil and gas regulation, all aspects of Colorado water law and defense of land-use entitlements on behalf of landowners and developers throughout Colorado.

Wayne’s passion for the Rocky Mountain’s land and water resources extends beyond his legal practice. In his free time, he volunteers as a board member of the Colorado Water Trust, which has restored nearly 12 billion gallons of water to 444 miles of rivers and streams across the state.

Previous Experience

Wayne Forman is highly regarded for his expertise in water law, advising on both contentious and non-contentious mandates. Peers say: "He's a good lawyer with good judgment and a broad practice. He has lots of experience and knowledge." - Chambers USA, 2018

Representative Matters
  • Won a major ruling in Adams County District Court on behalf of client, Colorado Oil & Gas Association (COGA) and the American Petroleum Institute (API). COGA and API jointly filed suit in October to overturn a number of oil and gas regulations adopted by the City of Thornton. Colorado District Court Judge Edward Moss ruled that many of Thornton’s regulations, including its setback regulations, were illegal and operationall preempted by state law.

  • Represented the Colorado Oil and Gas Association in litigation against Lafayette, Fort Collins, and Longmont regarding bans or moratoria on hydraulic fracturing activities, prevailing on summary judgment in each matter. This litigation involved precedent-setting issues pertaining to state versus local preemption of oil and gas activities.

  • Won summary judgment dismissing neighboring rancher’s claim of right to store water in client’s reservoir.

  • Successfully defended Rule 106 court challenge to the rezoning of Sterling Ranch development in Douglas County involving necessary showing of water adequacy.

  • Represented metropolitan district as applicant in a five-day trial in Division 1 Water Court over a change of ditch company shares.

  • Represented a sand and gravel operator in a state court challenge to the denial of a county special use permit, in its defense against a challenge to its MLRB permit, and in obtaining a water augmentation plan to offset evaporative depletions.

  • Represented a national homebuilder in defense of a nationwide enforcement action concerning alleged violations of construction storm water requirements under the Clean Water Act. Successfully negotiated a consent decree entered in federal district court in Virginia which resolved all claims.

  • Successfully defended the Town of Minden, Nevada in federal and state courts against challenges to its change of water rights mounted by the Pyramid Lake Piute Tribe of Indians.

News & Events

Board Member, Colorado Water Trust

Board Member, Children's Diabetes Foundation

Former Chairman, Jefferson County Open Space Advisory Committee

Former Board Member, Jeffco Outdoors Foundation

Former Chair and Board Member, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Rocky Mountain Chapter

Former Green Circle Volunteer, National Sports Center for the Disabled

Former Board Member, Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute Regional Advisory Board

Publications & Presentations
  • J.D., 1984, University of Colorado Law School, Order of the Coif
  • B.S., 1980, Cornell University
  • Colorado
  • Wyoming
  • U.S. District Court, District of Colorado
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit

Law Week Colorado, Barrister’s Best “Best Agriculture Lawyer,” 2020

5280 Top Lawyers, Natural Resources – Water, 2015-2020

Who's Who in Energy, Denver Business Journal, 2014

Chambers USA, 2005-2020

Colorado Super Lawyers, 2009

University of Colorado Law Review, University of Colorado School of Law

University of Colorado School of Law, American Jurisprudence Book Awards: Contracts, Torts, Criminal Procedure, Property, Civil Procedure

University of Colorado School of Law, William Arthur Award

University of Colorado School of Law, Wolf Law Review Scholarship


American Bar Association

Colorado Bar Association

Denver Bar Association