Carnegie Mellon University

Kim Smaczniak

Kim Smaczniak

Lecturer, Institute for Politics and Strategy


Kim Smaczniak serves as Special Counsel at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Prior to her current role, Kim was the Managing Attorney of the Clean Energy Program of Earthjustice, a public interest environmental law firm. Kim directed advocacy to accelerate the power sector’s transition to clean energy and oversaw the program’s litigation strategy at the state and federal levels. In addition to teaching for the Semester Abroad Program, Kim also teaches as an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland School of Law.

Under the Obama Administration, Kim served as lead mitigation negotiator for the US Department of State climate negotiations team, shaping strategies to ensure rapid implementation of the Paris Agreement and deepen US engagement in support of climate mitigation. Prior to joining the State Department, Kim served as counsel at the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, providing legal advice and supporting federal oversight relating to a variety of environmental laws, and as a Trial Attorney with the United States Department of Justice Environmental and Natural Resource Division. At the US Department of Justice, Kim had a diverse practice litigating on behalf of federal agencies under federal environmental laws, including defending EPA greenhouse gas rules in the DC Circuit. Kim was nominated for her work at the Department of Justice for the John Marshall Award, DoJ’s highest awards offered to attorneys. 

Kim is an alumna of Carnegie Mellon University Dietrich College (BS 2002). She received her JD from Harvard Law School, a Masters of Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and additionally studied international law at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland.