University of Pittsburgh
July 27, 2015

University of Pittsburgh School of Law Launches Energy Law and Policy Institute

Names Kevin Abbott of Reed Smith LLP as interim executive director
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—University of Pittsburgh School of Law Dean William M. Carter Jr. today announced the formation of the school’s new Energy Law and Policy Institute. Kevin Abbott, senior energy law partner at Reed Smith LLP, adjunct professor, and a 1981 alumnus of Pitt Law, will serve as interim executive director of the institute, which will begin operating in fall 2015 and will host its first major conference on energy law in the spring of 2016.

This interdisciplinary institute draws on the strengths of the University to advance the training of law students to become leaders in providing legal services to the regional, national, and international energy sectors. The institute is a major priority of the School of Law and the University.

The Energy Law and Policy Institute will develop new courses in the field of energy law, with a particular focus on helping students develop practice-ready skills; host major annual conferences that bring together law firms, corporations, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations to address cutting-edge issues in energy law and policy; and advance collaborative research and teaching initiatives in the field of energy law in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh Center for Energy, Swanson School of Engineering, Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, Graduate School of Public Health, and Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, among others. 

Kevin Abbott has more than 30 years of experience representing clients in the oil and gas industry, including natural gas exploration and production companies, interstate pipeline companies, and utilities. He is currently advising natural gas exploration and production companies on issues related to exploration of Marcellus and Utica Shales in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and New York. In addition to maintaining an active law practice, Abbott has also served in multiple leadership roles in the legal and business communities. He has taught oil and gas law at Pitt Law since 2012; served as a trustee of the Energy and Mineral Law Foundation and as a member of the law school’s Energy Law Advisory Board; authored numerous publications in the area of energy law; and received numerous awards, including the Pittsburgh Business Times 2012 Leadership Award.

“Pitt Law already has many strengths in the fields of energy and environmental law, and developing a formal Energy Law and Policy Institute to take our program to the next level has been one of my key priorities since becoming dean,” Carter said. “I am grateful for the University’s support of this initiative, and I am delighted that Kevin has agreed to serve as interim executive director. His leadership, knowledge, experience, and international prominence in energy law should position the school to develop one of the premier energy law programs in the country.”

Commenting on the institute’s launch and Abbott’s appointment, Reed Smith Global Managing Partner Alexander Y. Thomas said, “Kevin’s decades of experience in oil and gas law have earned him high regard among his clients and colleagues alike. Reed Smith is delighted Kevin will be able to extend his deep insight to Pitt Law through its Energy Law and Policy Institute, even as he remains an active partner of the firm.”

“I am grateful to the University for this opportunity and excited to get started,” Abbott said. “Energy is now and will continue to be the engine of this region’s growth for decades to come, and the University will play a role in that growth. I am very grateful to my partners at Reed Smith for supporting my role at the institute while I continue to represent my clients.”