Profile: Vena Pointer — Colorado’s first female water lawyer

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At the Colorado Water Congress annual convention a couple of weeks ago Tom Cech spoke about Vena Pointer. Here’s a profile of Pointer from Chris Woodka writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. Click through and read the whole article. Here’s an excerpt:

Vena Pointer was the state’s first female water lawyer, an original member of the Colorado Water Conservation Board and Pueblo’s only woman lawyer when she retired in 1960. She died at a Pueblo nursing home on Dec. 6, 1971, at the age of 91. Her accomplishments recently were recalled by Tom Cech, who is director of the water center at Metro State College of Denver and who has co-authored a history of the CWCB with former CWCB director Bill McDonald. They spoke at the Colorado Water Congress convention last month.

Miss Pointer — she never married — was born in Republic County, Kan., in 1880, and after graduating from high school attended Kansas Wesleyan College business school. She became a stenographer and moved to La Junta in 1911, working for lawyer George Wallis.

She passed the Colorado Bar examination in 1926, and was the last person in Colorado admitted to the bar under “clerkship” — reading the law under a lawyer’s supervision, rather than attending law school. She read the law for seven years in preparation. She was a law partner with Fred Sabin, and they moved their law offices to Pueblo in 1927. When Sabin died in 1931, she became affiliated with A.W. McHendrie, a Pueblo lawyer who also was an authority on water law.

Miss Pointer was secretary of the Arkansas Valley Ditch Association 1919-1959, and was Pueblo County public administrator from 1944-46. In 1933, she was appointed to the Caddoa Commission by Gov. Edwin C. Johnson, and served for more than 20 years on the board of directors. The commission lobbied for and oversaw the construction of what is now John Martin Reservoir.

More water law coverage here.

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