About Carolyn Elefant


Carolyn Elefant is the founder and principal attorney with the Law Offices of Carolyn Elefant (LOCE) in Washington D.C.  Carolyn’s practice focuses on energy regulatory matters with heavy emphasis on FERC practice and policy, emerging renewables and smart grid, federal siting and eminent domain, social media and privacy in the utility industry and energy-related litigation and appeals.  Carolyn thrives on matters of first impression and last resort, meaning that she eagerly tackles issues never addressed before or successfully resolves problems where others have tried and failed.  Above all, Carolyn prides herself on serving as a tenacious advocate and trusted advisor to her clients.


Carolyn graduated from Cornell Law School in 1988 and consistent with her law school’s legacy, strives to practice as a lawyer in the best sense.

Carolyn launched her legal career as an attorney advisor with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).  There, she drafted orders and advised FERC technical staff and the public on hydroelectric licensing matters.  By the end of her tenure at FERC, Carolyn had been assigned to some of the most high profile cases within the office, including resolution of a contentious, eight year competitive hydroelectric relicensing proceeding and negotiation of a fifty party settlement on interim terms and conditions for the protection of endangered species pending issuance of a final license.

In May 1990, Carolyn accepted a position as an associate at the law firm of Duncan & Allen, a recognized national energy boutique practice.  Carolyn second chaired two arbitration proceedings involving disputed power purchase agreements,  represented municipalities and individual developers in merger, rate and hydroelectric licensing proceedings before FERC and power marketing administrations and courts of appeal.

Carolyn left Duncan & Allen in October 1993 to realize her dream of starting her own law firm  to provide top notch representation on complex issues at reasonable and predictable rates.   In order to handle cases beyond the capabilities of her small firm, Carolyn served as of counsel to the Law Offices of Scott Hempling, a position which she held until the end of 2006.  Now, Carolyn maintains both formal and informal affiliate relationships with other energy professionals, lobbyists and law firms to supplement her firm’s capabilities and provide full service to clients as needed.


Carolyn is licensed to practice in New York, Maryland and the District of Columbia.  She is admitted to the United States Supreme Court, the Second, Third, Fourth and District of Columbia Circuit and the federal district courts for the District of Columbia and Maryland.

Carolyn was recognized as an Washington D.C. Energy Superlawyer for 2012, the only small firm practitioner included among AmLaw 100 law firms.  Carolyn is a member of the Energy Bar Association and the District of Columbia Bar Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee (former steering committee member, 1998-2000). Carolyn is also counsel to the Ocean Renewable Energy Coalition, a 45 member national trade association for wave, tidal and offshore wind which she co-founded in 2005.

Carolyn was named a 2010 Legal Rebel by the ABA Journal, and is the recipient of the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless Five Year Volunteer service award.  At the behest of Chief Judge Robert Bell of the Maryland Court of Appeals, Carolyn provided pro bono counseling clients through the Maryland Foreclosure Prevention Project between 2009 and 2011.


Carolyn earned a J.D. from Cornell Law School where she served on the Moot Court Board and a B.A., magna cum laude with honors in politics from Brandeis University. She also served as of counsel to the Law Offices of Scott Hempling from 1997 through 2007 and on the United States Postal Service reduction in force attorney task force (1994-1995), representing the government in dozens of reduction in force administrative hearings.


Carolyn is a prolific writer and avid blogger, a leading advocate for solo and small firm practice and a recognized trend spotter within the legal industry.  From 2005 through September 2009, Carolyn served as co-contributor to Incisive Media’s Legal Blog Watch and creator of MyShingle.com, the first and longest running blog on solo and small firm practice, twice recognized as one of the ABA Top 100 Blawgs. She is the author of Solo by Choice: How to Be the Lawyer You Always Wanted to Be (2008) and co-author, with Nicole Black of  A Guide to Social Media for Lawyers expected publication date, March 2010.

Carolyn lives in Bethesda, Maryland with her husband Bruce Israel who is a computer scientist, two teen daughters, Elana Joy and Mira Justine and two rambunctious pups — Francesca, an Old English Sheepdog and Sadie, a bijon-shitzu mix.  Weather permitting, she commutes to her DC office by bike several times a week.