Ron Waterman received his B.A. in Philosophy and his Juris Doctorate at the University of Montana. After law school, he was a law clerk to the Hon. W.J. Jameson in Billings. Following his clerkship, Waterman worked at Gough, Shanahan, Johnson & Waterman as an associate and then partner from 1970 to 2015 and Hunt Law Firm from 2016 to 2019 before retiring in 2019.
Together with Peter Neufeld, the co-founder of the Innocence Project, Waterman represented Jimmy Ray Bromgard in the civil litigation following his exoneration. At the time, there was no Montana Innocence Project, but after the Bromgard case, Peter worked with Dan Weinberg to set up MTIP. Waterman followed MTIP’s activities since the beginning; he joined the board in 2016 and was chair from 2018 to 2020.
Waterman has always been an advocate for equal justice. Starting in 1991, in addition to his civil practice, he worked as a cooperating attorney with the ACLU, first in conjunction with the Department of Justice in addressing policy and program failures at the Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge following the 1991 riot. He then affiliated with the ACLU in addressing the inadequacies of the Public Defender system, ending with the passage of legislation creating the current system. Thereafter, he worked with the ACLU again in addressing numerous injustices in the prison system, affecting incarcerated Indigenous peoples.
“Since 1995, I have been involved in litigating against capital punishment, resulting in a temporary and then permanent injunction, from 2009 and to 2015, which continues through today,” Waterman said. “I have witnessed all aspects of how the prison system is inadequate and unfair and catches up both the guilty and innocent in the criminal justice system. I have tried to assure that the promise of justice means justice for all.”
Waterman enjoys traveling, hiking, fishing, playing golf, gardening, and spending time with his family.