John P. Smolen


John P. Smolen counsels public entities, private concessionaires/contractors, and financing parties in large, complex design-build and public-private partnership (P3/PPP) civil and social infrastructure projects across the country. John Co-Leads our P3/Infrastructure Group.

John has played a leading role in the procurement, negotiation, financing, and administration of several P3 and design-build projects in the transportation, transit, social infrastructure, and maritime/riverine port spaces. John has represented public clients in Maryland, Virginia, Missouri, Indiana, Nebraska, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Alaska, among others. John has represented lenders, as well as developer consortia, in several horizontal and vertical infrastructure projects from statutory drafting, through pre-procurement, deal structuring, procurement, and negotiation, to post-selection commercial and financial close, with additional experience in implementation and administration.


Representative Matters

  • PortKC (Port Authority of Kansas City, Missouri) – lead P3 project counsel for the Missouri River Terminal (MRT) riverine port P3 project
  • City of Nome, Alaska (Port of Nome) – lead P3 project counsel of landside and seaside development of Arctic Deep Draft Port
  • Georgia Department of Transportation – co-P3 counsel on the East Interchange design-build-finance project and design-build program

Professional Highlights

Pro Bono Experience

As part of his pro bono practice, John has represented a non-profit transitional program on real estate and corporate matters, military veterans before the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on issues relating to benefits, persons in asylum proceedings, and homeless/at-risk clients in criminal record expungement proceedings.

Professional Activities

Maryland State Bar Association

Kansas Bar Association 

Recognition & Accomplishments

Fellow, The Construction Lawyers Society of America

Chambers USA, "Up and Coming," Projects: PPP (nationwide), 2021, 2022

Legal 500, Finance - Project Finance, 2022

Super Lawyers, "Rising Star" Transportation/Maritime Law, 2014-2017

Speaking Engagements

Guest/Webinar, President Biden’s First Year in Office: A conversation with Former Pennsylvania Governor Rendell, December 2021

Panelist/Moderator, Reprise: Contractors in P3 Transactions, Climate Resiliency P3’s, the P3 Government Conference, December 2021

Panelist/Moderator, Contractors in P3 Transactions, the P3 Conference, September 2021


Co-author, "East End Crossing Project – Availability Payment P3 in Action," World Highways, June 2017



University of Kansas School of Law (J.D. 2007)
Editor-in-Chief, Kansas Journal of Law & Public Policy

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (M.A. 2004)

U.S. Naval Academy (B.S., 1995, with merit)



District of Columbia


U.S. Supreme Court