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Paul B. Smyth


Senior Counsel

Paul Smyth is senior counsel in the firm's Environment, Energy & Resources practice.  His practice centers on federal permitting and enforcement issues, including permitting for solar and wind energy facilities, electric transmission lines, and oil and gas pipelines as well as defending enforcement actions against federal lessees and permittees and their contractors.  He is also an authority in water law and federal Reclamation law.  Paul retired in 2010 as the Associate Solicitor of the U.S. Department of the Interior and was the recipient of the 2010 Environment, Energy, and Resources Government Attorney of the Year Award from the American Bar Association.  He has practiced law for over thirty-seven years and has broad experience in water, public land, offshore oil and gas, onshore and offshore renewable energy resources, Indian and environmental law.  Paul supervised all the legal work for the Department of Interior (DOI) Solicitor's office involving minerals and offshore alternative energy matters for the former Minerals Management Service, now Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and minerals and renewable resources matters for the Bureau of Land Management.  He also counseled the Bureau of Reclamation on water rights and federal Reclamation law.  He has served in numerous other legal capacities within DOI's Solicitor's Office, including acting as the Secretary's interim Director of the Office of Hearings and Appeals and Counselor to the Solicitor and Director of the Indian Trust Litigation Office.

Professional Recognition

  • Selected Government Attorney of the Year, American Bar Association, Section of Environment, Energy & Resources Law,  2010
  • Presidential Rank Awards of Meritorious Federal Executive, 2002,  2007
  • Distinguished Service Award of the Department of the Interior, 2008

Professional Leadership

  • Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, Trustee, 1998 - 2001, July 2013 - present
  • ABA’s Section of Environment, Energy and Resources Law, Section Council Member, 1991 - 1994; Budget Officer,1994 - 1998

Community Involvement

  • EcoVoce, Board of Directors, Secretary & Member, 1998 - present 

Related Employment

  • Office of the Solicitor, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C., Deputy Associate Solicitor, Division of Energy and Resources, 1987 - 1995; Deputy Associate Solicitor, Division of Land and Water Resources, 1995 - 2007; Counselor to the Solicitor, Indian Trust Litigation Office, 2007 - 2009; Associate Solicitor, Division of Mineral Resources, 2009 - 2010
  • Office of Hearings and Appeals, U.S. Department of the Interior, Arlington, VA, Acting Director, 1993 - 1994


  • Boston College Law School, J.D., 1974
  • Trinity College, B.A., Government, with honors, 1971

Bar Admissions

  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia