Tim De Young, a highly regarded water lawyer who spent 19 years with Modrall Sperling, succumbed to brain cancer on Dec. 13, 2009. He was 61.
De Young represented both public and private sector clients with respect to due diligence, administrative and judicial proceedings pertaining to water rights transfers, stream adjudications and alternative dispute resolution. As a litigator, he represented both plaintiffs and defendants in complex litigation involving natural resources, environmental and commercial disputes.
“With the force of his intellect, his integrity and the skill with which he represented his clients, he earned the esteem of those who practiced with him and of those who opposed him,” said George McFall (`87), a Modrall shareholder. “As a friend he challenged us, made us laugh and showed us how to live life with true gusto.”
That gusto began after he earned his undergraduate degree from Chapman College in 1970. He spent several years with the Semester at Sea program, where he mentored college students while traveling the world. Next came the Peace Corps and a project in Nepal building water delivery systems. This spawned a life-long interest in water resources.
He earned a Ph.D. in government from the Claremont Graduate School and began an academic career at Pennsylvania State University in 1977. Two years later, he joined the faculty of the University of New Mexico. Seeking a mid-life career change, De Young enrolled in the UNM School of Law, graduating with honors in 1990. He then joined Modrall Sperling, where he practiced water law for the next 19 years.
Music was an ongoing passion; De Young played guitar and mandolin and was a founding member of the Adobe Brothers, an Albuquerque bluegrass band. He also enjoyed sports, from baseball to basketball to fly fishing to golf.