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Graham J. Gilbert

Graham J. Gilbert

Associate| Salt Lake City


Graham Gilbert's practice focuses on water, land use and environmental law. He regularly works on issues related to appropriation, management and sale of water rights; acquisition, entitlement, development and disposition of commercial and residential real estate; purchase, sale and cleanup of environmentally impaired properties; and wetlands and water quality permitting.

Before becoming an attorney, Graham worked as a hydrologist with water conservation district, municipal, ski resort, agricultural and energy clients in Colorado. He prepared technical information in support of water rights applications and change applications; developed technical information to support NEPA review of ski area expansion and reservoir development; designed and managed water quality monitoring programs and completed water quality analyses; and prepared and managed stormwater pollution prevention plans. Graham's background as a hydrologist helps him to understand technical issues, to effectively communicate with regulators, engineers and scientists and to develop practical solutions for clients.

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  • Assisted clients with appropriating new water rights, changing existing water rights and securing related approvals (e.g. requests for reinstatement, requests for extension, reports of conveyance, etc.)
  • Completed due diligence for acquisition of water rights, including tribal water rights, for industrial, commercial, ski resort, golf course and residential developments in Utah, Nevada and California
  • Managed water rights portfolios for agricultural and commercial landowners
  • Assisted lenders with securing an interest in water rights as loan collateral
  • Secured and defended easements for water diversion and conveyance infrastructure
  • Completed due diligence regarding the design, construction and capacity of a wastewater reclamation facility
  • Obtained land use entitlements for commercial and residential developments
  • Completed due diligence on behalf of developers, lenders and a receiver for acquisition or sale of commercial, golf course, residential and school properties
  • Worked with counties, cities and local districts on issues related to water supply, land use, zoning enforcement and development agreements
  • Advised developers regarding impact fees
  • Participated in administrative proceedings before the Utah Division of Water Rights; Utah Division of Water Quality; Utah Board of Oil, Gas and Mining; and the Utah Office of the Property Ombudsman
  • Served as outside general counsel for a large wastewater treatment facility 
  • Replied to notices of violation from the EPA and Utah Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste
  • Assisted oil and gas and commercial clients with voluntary disclosure of permit violations
  • Analyzed hazardous waste contamination, explored cleanup alternatives, completed corrective action and negotiated contribution claims
  • University of Utah, S.J. Quinney College of Law (J.D., highest honors, 2011)
    • Quinney Award Recipient (5th Ranked Student)
    • The Order of the Coif
    • Articles Editor, Utah Law Review
  • Lewis & Clark College (B.A., Environmental Studies, with honors, summa cum laude, 2002)
  • American Bar Association
    • Planning Committee, Annual ABA Water Law Conference (2013-present)
    • Environment, Energy, and Resources Section
  • Salt Lake Chamber, Water Steering Committee
  • Utah State Bar
    • Energy, Natural Resources, and Environmental Law Section
    • Appellate Practice Section
  • Salt Lake County Bar
    • Young Lawyers Division
  • Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation
  • Constitution Day, Volunteer (2016)
  • Street Law Clinic, Volunteer (2012-present)
  • Choose Law Project, Volunteer (2012)
  • Smith Hartvigsen, PLLC, Associate
  • Utah Supreme Court, Judicial Clerk to The Honorable Jill N. Parrish
  • Resource Engineering, Inc., Staff Hydrologist
  • Utah
  • Supreme Court of Utah
  • United States District Court, District of Utah