Professional Biography

Paul B. Smyth Senior Counsel



Paul Smyth’s practice centers on federal permitting and compliance issues, including permitting for solar and wind energy facilities, electric transmission lines, telecommunications facilities, water discharges and oil and gas pipelines. His practice also includes Southern Nevada public land sales 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, and is currently serving as a Trustee of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation.

His nearly 40 years of experience have earned him many accolades, including the 2010 Environment, Energy, and Resources Government Attorney of the Year Award from the American Bar Association. Paul has broad experience in water, public land, offshore oil and gas, onshore and offshore renewable energy resources, Indian and environmental law. While Associate Solicitor of the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), Paul supervised all the legal work 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. Paul retired from the DOI in 2010 and joined Perkins Coie shortly thereafter.

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





Areas of Focus

Bar and Court Admissions

  • District of Columbia

  • Connecticut


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