Shawn E. Draney


Shawn Draney’s practice focuses on water resources law.  Utah includes both temperate and semi-arid regions and the challenge is to store water and move it around – from where it is abundant to where it is desperately needed.  In this effort, Shawn’s clients include cities, special districts, developers, irrigation companies and ranchers.  He assists these water law clients with advice, planning, transactions, negotiations and litigation.

Since 1955, the firm has served as general counsel to the Metropolitan Water District of Salt Lake and Sandy.  In all of this time, Shawn is only the second SCM lawyer to hold this general counsel position. In this capacity, he is responsible for all aspects of the water district’s legal work – transactions as well as litigation.  The firm’s knowledge of the district is deep and broad.

Shawn has also developed a special focus in the area of condemnation law.  Moving water from one place to another requires pipelines – and pipelines often require condemnation of land and the resulting litigation.  As a result of the experience gained in pipeline projects, Shawn also assists clients with non-water real estate and land use issues and litigation involving condemnation.

Water resources are heavily regulated by state and federal laws and agencies and Shawn is actively engaged in these efforts.  He has drafted state and federal legislation, and lobbied for its passage.  He has an extensive administrative and regulatory practice before the Utah State Engineer, the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Forest Service.


  • J.D., University of Utah, S.J. Quinney College of Law, 1983
  • B.S., University of Utah, 1979

Bar & Court Admissions

  • Utah Bar Association
  • United States Supreme Court

Legal Services

  • Water and Natural Resources
  • Speaker, Aces, Deuces, Stream Decrees and Diligence Claims – What Trumps in This Game?, Utah Water Law Conference, 2015
  • Utah Bar Association
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America® for Water Law
  • Rated by Martindale-Hubbell® Peer review as AV® Preeminent™ 4.3 out of 5.0*
*Peer review Rated Lawyer of AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 out of 5.* *AV® Preeminent™ and BV® Distinguished™ are certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the Bar and the Judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.

Outside of the office, Shawn likes to collect and restore old hot rods – a hobby he shares with other SCM lawyers.  Among his current projects are a Model A, a 1932 roadster, a 1953 Ford F 100 and a 1953 Studebaker Coupe; his wife drives a 1952 MGTD.