John Smolen

John P. Smolen

Partner
Baltimore

John P. Smolen counsels public entities, private concessionaires/contractors, and financing parties in large, complex design-build, public-private partnership (P3/PPP), CM/GC, and other progressive and alternative project delivery (APD) civil and social infrastructure projects across the country. John co-leads the firm's P3/Infrastructure Group.

Chambers Global describes John as "a great problem-solver [with] good deal intuition." He has played a leading role in the procurement, negotiation, financing, and administration of several P3 and other APD projects in the transportation, transit, energy, and social infrastructure spaces. John has represented public clients in several states, as well as developers and lenders in several horizontal and vertical infrastructure projects from statutory drafting, through program and template development, pre-procurement, deal structuring, procurement, and negotiation, to post-selection commercial and financial close, with additional experience in implementation, administration, and dispute avoidance/resolution.

Experience 

Representative Matters

  • Indiana Department of Transportation – progressive Design-Build, CM/GC counsel for the program, developing template procurement and transaction documents, as well as NEVI implementation counsel
  • Private Sector Infrastructure Developer – Owner's counsel to the startup renewable energy developer, financing party in connection with suite of commercial installations
  • Private Sector Infrastructure Developer – Sponsor's counsel to social infrastructure developer consortium in procured pre-development P3 for urban transit and transit-adjacent/TOD project
  • Private Sector Infrastructure Developer – Developer's counsel to social infrastructure developer in bond-financed sportspex
  • Pennsylvania Department of Transportation – co-lead P3 counsel for the Major Bridges P3 PDA/DBFM project

Professional Highlights

Pro Bono Experience

As part of his pro bono practice, John has represented a non-profit transitional program on real estate, finance, 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

Recognition & Accomplishments

Chambers Global, "Up and Coming," Projects: PPP, 2022, 2023; Band 4, 2024

Chambers USA, Projects: PPP (nationwide) "Up and Coming," 2021, 2022; Band 4, 2023, 2024

Legal 500, Finance - Project Finance, 2022-2024; Industry Focus - Energy: Renewable/Alternative, 2023, 2024

Select Recent Speaking Engagements

"Building Strong P3 Collaborations," Mac & Bleu Podcast, November 13, 2023

Panelist, Innovations in Infrastructure, Drexel University and Bond Dealers of America, December 8, 2022

Panelist/Moderator: P3 and Green Highways: Environmental Policy and Energy Issues that Attend the Transition to EV/AV, Ballard Spahr 10th Annual Green Infrastructure Conference, October 2022

Panelist/Moderator: EVs/AVs – What to Do to Get Ready and Make it Happen, the P3 Conference, March 2022

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

Credentials 

Education

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

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

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

Admissions

Maryland

District of Columbia

Kansas

Colorado

U.S. Supreme Court