Site icon Salmon, Lewis & Weldon P.L.C.

Richard N. Morrison – Retired


Richard N. Morrison



  • Northern Arizona University, B.S.,
    with honors, High Distinction, 1970
  • University of Houston, J.D., 1977
  • San Francisco Theological Seminary,
    M.A., Values, 1991


Bar & Court Admissions

  • State Bar of Arizona
  • United States District Court,
    District of Arizona
  • United States Court of Appeals,
    Ninth Circuit
  • United States Tax Court
  • United States Supreme Court

Richard Morrison’s practice has historically been focused on water law, environmental law, and issues facing special districts and agriculture.  From 1985 through 2003 much of his work fostered negotiated settlements of Indian water rights claims.  He worked on four completed settlements in Arizona.  At the end of his career, he was Special Water Counsel to the Town of Gilbert, negotiating water leases with Native American tribes.  His commitment to water law and policy extended well beyond his practice into the work of universities, non-profit groups, and charitable trusts.  As an example, he was a Trustee of the Farm Foundation in Chicago, Illinois, and a member of the Executive Committee of the Arizona Agribusiness and Water Council.  He has served for 37 years on the Board of the Morrison Institute of Public Policy at Arizona State University, advising the Institute on matters of water policy, and was currently chairman of that board.  Similarly, he was on the external advisory board to the Arizona Water Resources Research Center at the University of Arizona.  Richard taught water resources management at Arizona State University in the Morrison School for Agribusiness, where he was faculty member for the school’s water resources management professional development program; he taught agricultural law at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of law as an Adjunct Professor.  In addition to his legal work, Richard was an Episcopal priest.  In that context Richard frequently speaks about the global water challenge and its relationship to food insecurity, as well as its corresponding cause of social and military conflicts.

Representative Professional Experience

  • Negotiated settlement of four central Arizona Indian water rights settlements representing local irrigation districts.
  • Advised irrigation districts on compliance with surface water quality standards and environmental issues associated with groundwater pumping.
  • Advised irrigation districts and electrical districts on matters of governance, insurance, voting rights, and fiduciary responsibilities.
  • Represented interests of university receiving public benefit conveyance of land at former Williams Air Force Base.
  • Advised university on environmental law issues associated with use of land at former Williams Air Force Base.

Honors & Awards

  • Doctor of Humane Letters (Honorary Degree), University of Arizona
  • Doctor of Humane Letters, Northern Arizona University
  • Honorary Canon, Episcopal Diocese of Arizona
  • Arizona’s Finest Lawyers, 2014 to present
  • Martindale-Hubbell, AV rating
  • Who’s Who in American Law
  • Who’s Who in Religion
  • Who’s Who in America
  • American Jurisprudence Labor Law Award
  • Order of the Barons, University of Houston School of Law
  • Distinguished Achievement Award, Arizona State University
  • Phi Kappa Phi, Northern Arizona University

Professional & Civic Activities

  • Water Resources Research Center, University of Arizona, Advisor
  • East Valley Partnership, Director (1984-1996, 2005-2007)
  • Electrical District No. 5 of Maricopa County, Director (2000-2012)
  • CW & Modene Neely Charitable Foundation, Director (1987-2012)
  • Morrison Institute of Public Policy, Arizona State University, Board Chair
  • Arizona Town Hall, Executive Committee
  • Arizona Agribusiness and Water Council, Executive Committee
  • Arizona Water Resources Research Center, University of Arizona, External Advisor
  • Trustee, Farm Foundation, Chicago, IL
  • Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Board Chair
  • Maricopa County Pollution Control Corporation, Board Member (1999-2003)
  • American Agricultural Law Association, Board Member (1999-2003)
  • Valley Leadership Class I


  • “State and Federal Law Conflicts Over Indian and Other Federal Reserved Water Rights,” Drake University Agricultural Law Review, Vol. 2., No.1, Spring 1996.
  • “The Evolution of Environmental Ethics,” University of Denver Water Law Review, Volume2/Issue 1/Fall 1998.
  • “Virtue Ethics and Sustainability Policies.” Drake Journal of Agricultural Law, Volume 12, No.1, Spring 2007.

Speaking Engagements

  • “Ethics and Sustainability Policy,” School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Spring 2013
  • “Lessons Learned from the Central Arizona Project Experience,” 2012 Drylands, Deserts & Desertification Conference, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Sede Boqer, Israel, November 2012
  • “Monitoring Global Agricultural Productivity,” Agribusiness Council of Arizona, May, 2012
  • “Water Politics, Economics, and Science,” American Soybean Association, Colorado Springs, CO, August, 2011
  • “Who is Responsible for Arizona’s Vulnerable Population?” Arizona Town Hall Annual Meeting, June 2011
  • “Ethics of Sustainable Agriculture,” Farm Foundation Forum, Winnipeg, Canada, Spring 2011
  • “Lessons Learned: Changing Paradigms in Leadership,” Verde Valley Leadership Forum, April, 2011
  • “Ethical Behavior and Public Virtue” Project Civil Discourse, Arizona State University, 2008.
  • “A Call for Public Virtue” Philosophy Colloquium, Northern Arizona University, 2008.
  • “Culture and Global Water Crisis” Jesuit Alumni of Arizona, 2008.
  • “Fundamentals of Water Law in Arizona: Protecting Water Rights, Use and Quality” National Business Institute, 2002 and 2003.
  • “Recent Developments in Arizona Water Law” National Business Institute, 2001.
  • “Negotiating Conflicts Over Indian and Other Federal Reserved Water Rights” American Agricultural Law Association Symposium, 2001.
  • “Organization and Governance of Irrigation Districts” Roosevelt Water Conservation District workshop for engineers and resource managers from Uzbekistan, 1999.
  • “Environmental Ethics” CLE International, August 1998.
  • “Water Law Impacts on Land Use” Land Use Seminar, CLE International, 1997.
  • “Fundamentals of Water Law in Arizona: Protecting Water Rights, Use, and Quality” National Business Institute, 1997.

Other Professional Experience

  • Jones, Teilborg, Sanders, Haga & Parks, Associate (1979-1983)
  • Ryley, Carlock & Applewhite, Associate and Partner (1983-1994)
  • Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, Partner (1994-2000)

Memberships & Affiliations

  • State Bar of Arizona
  • American Bar Association
Exit mobile version