Who We Are
Abigail Rivenbark Brown
Founder, Attorney, Facilitator, Mediator
Abby practices primarily in the area of water law, including adjudication proceedings in the Montana Water Court, enforcement proceedings in Montana district courts, and transactional water right matters. Abby is also listed a mediator with the Montana Mediation Association, offering mediation and conflict coaching services to water users, environmental and water user groups, or Montana’s tribal governments who are in conflict as an alternative to litigation or in connection with potential settlement discussions for existing litigation. Abby is a certified conflict resolution facilitator as well, often partnering with other organizations to facilitate various community dialogues and stakeholder meetings.
Abby offers mediation, facilitation, and conflict coaching services for non-water right related disputes, including (but not limited to) creating or amending parenting plans, facilitating community or neighborhood disputes, and addressing business, organizational, or local government conflicts.
After moving around the southeastern United States for most of her childhood, Abby earned a B.S.Ed. from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She then served in the United States Peace Corps, living and working for two years in a rural village in Malawi, East Africa. It was in Malawi that Abby developed a deep appreciation for, and interest in, the fundamental and complex relationship between water use and a community’s health and food security.
When she returned from Malawi, Abby made her way to Montana where she obtained a Master’s of Arts focused on cross-cultural conflict resolution and mediation from the University of Montana in Missoula, Montana. Eventually, Abby went on to earn a J.D. with honors from the University of Montana School of Law. Prior to entering private practice, Abby clerked for the Honorable Patricia O. Cotter at the Montana Supreme Court.
In addition to her private water law and mediation practice, Abby believes strongly in giving back to the community through pro bono legal work. Abby currently partners with Trust Montana to provide independent, pro bono consultations to home buyers purchasing homes in as part of a Community Land Trust project. Abby is a member of the State Bar of Montana’s Water Law Section and Standing Committee on Self-Represented Litigants for the Montana Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission, having recently completed terms as an executive officer for both organizations.
Outside of her legal career, Abby, her husband Collin, and their two young sons, enjoy the great outdoor life Montana offers, especially fly-fishing, hunting, cross-country skiing, and hiking with the family dogs. Abby is also a yoga instructor at a local studio and volunteers her time teaching yoga(ish) movement and mindfulness in local preschool and elementary school programs.
Ever the student, Abby is currently pursuing her L.L.M. in Water and Environmental Law through an online program at McGeorge Law School in Sacramento, California. She will complete the program in December 2021 with a focus on international water law and diplomacy. Taking advantage of the emergence of virtual trainings being offer as a result of the global pandemic, Abby is also augmenting her legal studies with ongoing trainings in transformative mediation (April 2020 with Ken Cloke at Center for Dispute Resolution in Santa Monica, CA) and conflict resolution facilitation (August 2020 with Brave Conversations LLC in Helena, MT).