Skip to main content

Carolyn Elefant

Energy and utilities Attorney

5.0   10 reviews

Call and speak with several attorneys to find best fit for your specific legal issue.
Can't find what you are looking for?
Avvo has 97% of all lawyers in the US.
Find the best ones near you.
Find Nearby Lawyers

About Carolyn

Learn Carolyn’s areas of practice.

Practice areas
  1. Energy and utilities
    I handle matters before FERC and state utility commissions, emerging renewable energy matters and federal siting cases as well as federal eminent domain. Also legal issues related to social media in regulated industries.

    35 years, 100 cases

  2. Appeals
    I've handled at least 30 appeals of FERC, energy and engineering malpractice cases in federal district courts

    35 years, 45 cases

  3. Litigation

    30 years, 30 cases

  4. Ethics and professional responsibility
    I've written a book, Social Media for Lawyers and track legal issues related to lawyers and ethics of starting a law firm

My name is Carolyn Elefant. I am the founder of the Law Offices of Carolyn Elefant, . To learn more about me, you can visit my website, or my blogs, and .

Licensed for 33 years
State MD
Status Active
Acquired 2002
Updated 11/12/2022
State DC
Status Good Standing
Acquired 1990
Updated 06/08/2022
State NY
Status Currently Registered
Acquired 1989
Updated 11/17/2022

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

Contact Carolyn

No contact information available for this lawyer


5.0 / 5.0
  10 customer reviews
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Posted by Thelma | November 28, 2015
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Attorney Elefant Outstanding Attorney for a group of citizens struggling to protect our small Town from an Energy Company.
During my career as an Administrator in a large urban School District I had many occasions to engage with Attorneys. My work with Attorney Carolyn Elefant however was as a member of small association of property owners trying to overcome a major challenge to our rural Massachusetts Town by a Major Energy Company seeking approval from FERC for a huge gas Pipeline Project through our land. Her help, advice, and skill were of the highest caliber. She masterfully encouraged our participation in the process of researching the details being proposed. She listened to our findings of fact and our proposals regarding objections to the actions and proposals of the energy company and our criticisms of the findings of the government agencies and commissions. She read the documents and created a plan of action that has given us hope in spite of the overwhelming odds in favor of the energy firm.
Read less
Posted by Carolyn | November 13, 2012
Carolyn Elefant has been an exceptional attorney for my New York community. Her extensive experience with FERC policy is well known among other prominent attorneys. Without a doubt the progress and successes my community has achieved is due to her hard work, commitment to our case, and expertise in NEPA Law and the FERC process. She keeps a constant open line of communication and answers any questions her clients may have promptly. She is extremely thorough and the reason my community has a fighting chance!
Read less
Posted by Deborah | September 13, 2012
Very knowledgeable, capable, hard working lawyer
Our case against the Millennium pipeline would, in my opinion, be lost or at best hanging on by a thread if we hadn't found Carolyn. We had retained a lawyer earlier who did very little except offer advice about what we should be doing early in the process. We were at a key point in our case, she jumped in, figured out what had to be done, worked long hours to put together a comprehensive document explaining all of the information/arguments we had raised, citing past decisions that clearly supported our position, and pointed out the procedural errors in FERC's handling of our case to that point. She's responded to every question we've asked, setting up a clear communication system, telling us exactly what she would like to do and why, or what she doesn't think is either worth our time or could backfire. She's never missed a deadline or not had time to get our feedback on anything that she does or submits - and often sends emails in the middle of the night so we have time to get back to her the next day. We now feel that we have a decent chance of winning against the tremendous odds any group faces when they try to stop a gas company from doing something. In my opinion, that is only because we were lucky enough to find her when we badly needed a lawyer who knew what to do and got going on it immediately.
Read less
Posted by michaelmojica | September 1, 2012
Knowledgeable and thorough legal counsel!
I am a resident in Minisink, NY. A 12,260 hp compressor station was proposed to be sited on my road, which is zoned agricultural/residential. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has federal jurisdiction over the project. Our community sought expert counsel from a number of law firms and chose Carolyn Elefant. One, generally, does not need an environmental lawyer to get the Commission to mitigate a simple portion of a project. However, if the intent is to win or mitigate key portions of the project, then one needs a more than capable environmental attorney. One needs an able and knowledgeable environmental lawyer for difficult issues. Carolyn Elefant knows how FERC works from the inside because she is a former FERC attorney. Her expertise with the Natural Gas Act, NEPA, APA, and the Commission Policy Statement have been crucial in our fight. Additionally, her expertise with FOIA, Privileged, and CEII material regarding due process rights has also given us an edge in our docket. Carolyn has been very flexible with us in handling our particular situation and the various resident political and business backgrounds has been a challenge but yet she has kept us working as a cohesive team for a common goal. I've been up past 2AM working on responses to Environmental Assessment (EA) and other documents and she has been working on our main response document past 4AM. She does what is needed to get the job done! Recently, we needed Carolyn to file a comprehensive Motion for Stay on our behalf to FERC with only a few days notice; we needed to be nimble with a quick response. Carolyn's quick and thorough motion response shows her agility to respond to the given situation. Only a person, like Carolyn Elefant, with intimate knowledge and expertise on how to respond with appropriate legal cases that backup the key arguments can deliver when it matters most. Another reason we chose Carolyn was in anticipation of a challenge before the U.S. Court of Appeals. Our case is setting precedent at FERC. Due to Carolyn's legal responses our case has drawn a rare FERC 3-2 split decision. Whatever the outcome of our case in the next few weeks, I would whole-heartedly recommend Carolyn Elefant to anyone (and, in fact I have).
Read less
Posted by John | August 31, 2012
Amazing Lawyer
My name is John O. I reside in Minisink, New York. Last year our community became outraged at the proposal of a gas compressor station, by Millennium Pipeline, smack in the middle of our residential neighborhood. Upon hearing about this proposal members of our community came together to try and fight this project. After months of fighting and educating ourselves we knew it would be impossible for this small community of regular people to be able to take on this enriched gas company without the help of a lawyer who was knowledgable and has had proven expertise in this area. After researching lawyers we unanimously agreed upon the services of Carolyn Elefant as the only clear and obvious choice. Carolyn has helped put our community is a position where we stand a fighting chance of beating this gas company. We wouldn't have a chance without her and Im forever grateful for her service to our community. I highly recommend Carolyn Elefant as your choice for a lawyer as she will certainly increase your chances of success dramatically.
Read less
Posted by Karen | August 30, 2012
A Client's Dream Attorney
Carolyn Elefant has been a tireless advocate on behalf of our citizens group in certificate proceedings at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in a compression station siting case. Not only is she extremely knowledgeable about the Natural Gas Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, she is a brilliant strategist, and a superb writer and speaker. Most importantly, she exhibits a passion for her work that I have rarely seen in my many dealings with attorneys. I am an attorney myself, and have been a client of several different attorneys over the course of my lifetime. In my opinion, Carolyn is the kind of lawyer that all lawyers should strive to be like. She truly is a client's dream attorney. She is trustworthy and ethical. She is responsive, returning phone calls and E-mails promptly. She takes the time to answer questions thoroughly, and keeps us informed of developments in the case. Moreover, she cares about obtaining justice for our group, and has shown her willingness to go the extra mile or two to aggressively represent our interests. If you need a FERC and/or NEPA attorney, you could not go wrong with Carolyn Elefant. I wholeheartedly recommend this outstanding attorney.
Read less
Posted by Lynda | August 29, 2012
Lynda Farrell, former client, Executive Director Pipeline Safety Coalition
Carolyn brings the expertise of having worked internally at FERC to the public realm aiding clients in a time and cost efficient means only achieved by experience. When I first met Carolyn I asked her why she left FERC and went into private practice. Her response has proven to be a characteristic of Carolyn that any client would benefit from; she replied, "I just got so tired of seeing people disenfranchised that I had to leave and use my experience and knowledge to help them." Carolyn took our case against Williams Transco in eminent domain with sensitivity, passion and success. She fended off eminent domain in a federal court. As the judge closed the proceedings, he acknowledged Ms Elefant in her defense of "The Brandywine 5" Carolyn continues to be a steadfast advocate for the people and a valued resource for Pipeline Safety Coalition (PSC). With the knowledge that is a fledgling nonprofit, she is willing to help whenever we need her expertise.
Read less
Posted by Laurie | August 28, 2012
Minisink Residents / Compressor Station
Carolyn Elefant has worked countless hours on behalf of our community. She has had outstanding communication with our group and has made an effort to learn about the details of the problem (big gas company putting a compressor station in the middle of a residential area). Her experience with FERC gives her insight and knowledge that has become invaluable to us. Although we don't yet know the outcome of our case, I can say with absolute confidence that if we lose, it will have nothing to do with any lack of talent or effort on her part. She has fought this project from every angle, all the while taking our comments and suggestions very seriously. We interviewed - and worked with - other attorneys earlier in the project and hiring Carolyn Elefant has made a world of difference in our cause.
Read less
Posted by anonymous | July 15, 2009
The Brandywine 5... Edward E. Kirkbride
Carolyn Elefant, Esq. was a courageous, principled and outstanding counsel in defense of us and our environment before a federal judge in federal court. She carefully prepared each of us with background and information so that we understood and could testify with confidence. She helped us as defendants in an Eminent Domaine case for the taking of our land to stand tall before the judge against "a nautural gas giant" to plead our rights and to obtain a fair hearing. At this moment we do not know how our case will resolve but I feel we could not have had a better operson and better lawyer represent us at the bar. Thank you, Carolyn Elefant, Esq. Edward E. Kirkbride, Architect & Planner
Read less
Posted by anonymous | February 16, 2008
Regulatory Advocate
I have worked with attorneys of all types and find Ms. Elefant to be a tireless and brilliant intellect willing to go the extra mile to provide the best counsel to her clients. She combines experience, intelligence and desire in her advocacy on behalf of her clients, never settling for anything other than excellence.
View less reviews


We have not found any cost information for this lawyer


AVVO RATING 9.9 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • Principal Attorney
  • Law Office of Carolyn Elefant
  • 1993 - Present
  • Of Counsel
  • Law Offices of Scott Hempling
  • 1996 - 2006


  • Cornell Law School
  • JD
  • 1988
  • Brandeis University
  • BA - Bachelor of Arts
  • 1985


  • DC Bar
  • Law Practice Management Steering Committee
  • 2006 - 2008
  • Ocean Renewable Energy Association
  • of counsel
  • 2005 - 2008
  • Energy Bar Association
  • Member
  • 1994 - 2008

Honors and Awards

  • Featured on cover of Washington Legal Times
  • Washington Legal Times/ALM publications
  • 2008
  • Ocean Energy Pioneer Award
  • Energy Oceans Conference
  • 2007
  • ABA Top 100 Law Blawg
  • American Bar Association
  • 2007
  • Featured in Maryland Daily Record
  • Maryland Daily Record
  • 2007
  • Featured in ABA Journal on small law practice
  • American Bar Association
  • 2004
  • Featured on cover of Washington Legal Times
  • Washington Legal Times
  • 2003
  • Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless Volunteer Award
  • Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless
  • 1994
View all awards


  • Solo by Choice: How to Be The Lawyer You Always Wanted To Be
  • Solo by Choice - book
  • 2008
  • Legal Times Intellectual Property Magazine
  • Don't Copy That Brief (can legal briefs be copyrighted?)
  • 2001
  • Washington Legal Times
  • How Much Privacy Do Litigants Deserve in E-Filing
  • 2000
  • Washington Legal Times
  • Saved by the Web: How I Researched A Brief Online for Free
  • 2000
  • Energy Law Journal
  • Ocean Energy Development in the 1990s
  • 1993
  • Alabama Journal of the Legal Profession
  • Can Law Firms Do Pro Bono: A Skeptical View
  • 1991
  • Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics
  • When Helping Others Is A Crime: 18 USC 205's Restrictions on Federal Attorneys Seeking to Do Pro Bono
  • 1990
View all publications

Speaking Engagements

  • Ocean Energy Update
  • update on marine renewables siting and permitting
  • 2008
  • Los Angeles Solo and Small Firm Conference
  • How to Start A Business Networking Group to Build Referrals, Relationships and Reputation
  • 2008
  • Hydrovision National Conference
  • Federal and State Benefits and Subsidies for Marine Renewable and Hydrokinetic Technlogies
  • 2008
  • Global Marine Renewable Energy Conference
  • A Snapshot of Marine Renewable Energy Regulation in the United States
  • 2008
  • From Biglaw to Yourlaw: Starting A Law Firm
  • How to start a law firm; webinar
  • 2008
  • ABA Tech Show 2008
  • Technology to Retain Clients, Technology for Start Up Firms
  • 2008
  • Alterative Energy Symposium
  • The Third Wave: Marine Renewable Energy Development in the United States
  • 2007
  • Ocean Energy in Oregon
  • Oceans Apart? Is National Ocean Energy Policy Consistent With Oregon's Goals?
  • 2006
  • Capitol Hill Briefing on Marine Renewables
  • Obstacles to Marine Energy Development in the United States
  • 2004
  • American Wind Energy Association National Conference
  • What Offshore Wind Developers Can Learn from the Hydroelectric Industry
  • 2004
  • What Lawyers Can Learn About Blogging
  • why lawyers should blog
  • 2003
  • Offshore Wind Consortium
  • National energy policy and offshore wind
  • 2003
  • Ocean Energy Overview
  • Wave Energy Development in the United States and Regulatory Uncertainty
  • 2003
  • Energy Resources on the World Wide Web
  • Energy resources on the web
  • 1996
View all speaking engagements

Attorney endorsements

Received (11)
Given (14)
Endorse Carolyn
Energy and utilities Attorney | Jul 11
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Carolyn exemplifies the best tradition of helping other lawyers excel for their clients. Anyone would be most fortunate to have her as their attorney."
Unknown Attorney | Mar 02
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
Energy and utilities Attorney | Jun 04
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I always enjoy Carolyn's comments on a listserv to which she and I belong. She displays a fine grasp of many attorney issues. I endorse this lawyer."
Ethics and professional responsibility Attorney | Mar 25
Relationship: Other
"Carolyn’s blog, My Shingle, is one I turned to when I started my solo practice. It provides a wealth of information and resources on issues affecting the solo practitioner. I have appreciated how generous she has been with sharing her time, knowledge and encouragement with me and so many others in the legal community. It’s my pleasure to endorse her."
Ethics and professional responsibility Attorney | Sep 02
Relationship: Other
"I have gotten to know Carolyn through a solo-attorney listserve and through her website. She is a phenomenal resource for those who wish to embark on a solo legal career. Her book, Solo By Choice, is in my library, and I routinely use it as a reference."
Appeals Attorney | Jul 23
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I have followed Carolyn's work with interest for a few years now. Aside from a successful career handling FERC-related issues and federal appeals, she is a highly recognized leader in solo and small firm practice management. Anyone facing these sorts of issues would do well to have Carolyn's counsel."
Energy and utilities Attorney | Jul 23
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer's work. Knowledgeable, responsible, energetic, and effective. A leader. Happy to endorse."
Energy and utilities Attorney | Jul 22
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I recommend Carolyn for any of your Energy Law needs and also for assistance in building your solo law practice."
Environmental and natural resources Attorney | Jul 18
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"Carolyn Elefant is widely recognized throughout the legal community as an expert in how to practice law to deliver the best possible services to clients, not just today, but over an entire career. She has been generous with her time, her knowledge, and her assistance to me and hundreds, if not thousands, of other lawyers. That has paid back, not only to her, but to her clients."
General practice Attorney | Jul 15
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"Carolyn Elefant is a true pioneer. Her wonderful blog, was among the very first attorney blogs, and years later it continues to be among the very best. Carolyn is a fine lawyer in the energy field, but she is more famous for her gift of inspiration to the many solo practitioners and small-firm lawyers throughout the country. From her award-winning blog to her new book, Solo By Choice, Carolyn has given more help to more lawyers than almost any other practicing attorney. I wholeheartedly endorse her work both as a lawyer and as a consultant."
Litigation Attorney | Apr 08
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I know Carolyn from a lawyer discussion group. Carolyn is a pioneer in the legal blogging field and has been shining example and spokesperson for solo and small firm practitioners. Carolyn is also a veteran litigator who has fought the good fight in federal and state courts and is a fearsome advocate. I endorse this lawyer's work."
View more endorsements
Estate planning
Personal injury
Lawsuits and disputes
Personal injury
Lawsuits and disputes
General practice
Employment and labor
Estate planning

Avvo Contributions

This attorney hasn't created any legal answers in Q&A or legal guides recently on Avvo.

Energy and utilities Lawyer Carolyn Elefant
Carolyn Elefant
Energy and utilities Attorney
Licensed for 33 years