Kim Diana Connolly

woman wearing red shirt and glasses, smiling.

Professor; Vice Dean for Innovation, Interdisciplinarity and Community Impact Research Focus: Administrative Law, Access to Justice, Clinical Legal Education, Environmental Law, International Law, Law and Science, Law and Social Science,
Legal Education, Legislation, Natural Resources Law
Links:  Curriculum Vitae, SSRN

Contact Information

519 O'Brian Hall, North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14260-1100

Biography Publications

Kim Diana Connolly has focused her academic teaching career on how best to educate future lawyers, as well as how best to use laws and policies to protect the planet and its inhabitants. A Professor of Law, she currently serves as the Vice Dean for Innovation, Interdisciplinarity, and Community Impact for the University at Buffalo School of Law.

Also an expert in experiential and clinical teaching, Professor Connolly previously served as Vice Dean for Advocacy and Experiential Learning and Director of Clinical Legal Education. Professor Connolly often presented and participated in collective endeavors that focused on experiential legal education, and served in national leadership positions (including president of the Clinical Legal Education Association) for many years. Her access to justice expertise resulted in her being appointed to the New York State Permanent Commission on Access to Justice in 2023. 

Professor Connolly’s commitment to advocacy began before she attended law school, when she ran a non-profit working to bring social justice to those facing a lack of access to clean water and sanitary wastewater removal in North Carolina. After earning her law degree, she has advocated in multiple arenas, including in judicial settings, before federal, state and local legislative bodies, with federal, international, state, and local administrative bodies, and beyond.

When she joined academia, Professor Connolly began exploring environmental and related policies, as well as best practices for law schools and instructors as part of law students’ journey toward becoming practicing lawyers. She has written both traditional and non-traditional works, and presented at numerous conferences around the world. Professor Connolly’s work has been used by policy-makers as well as cited by scholars. 

Professor Connolly actively studies, writes, and speaks about environmental policies, creatively examining and sharing ideas as to how to move toward a more sustainable future. In November 2022, she addressed over 1,000 people on behalf of the World Wetland Network in Geneva, Switzerland at the International Conference of the Parties for the Ramsar (Wetlands) Treaty. She also received the 2023 Sustainability Leadership, Innovation and Collaborative Engagement (SLICE) Award, a University-wide Faculty Award for Sustainability in Higher Education.

Professor Connolly loves spending time with students. She teaches two clinics at the School of Law: the Environmental Advocacy Clinic and Community Engagement Legal Clinic. In the classroom, she has taught several substantive courses, including environmental law, restorative practices, and ethics. She is active in student advisement and supporting engagement of future lawyers in law school and community experiences that will make them excellent practitioners. 

Before joining the law faculty at School of Law, Professor Connolly taught at the University of South Carolina School of Law, where she was associated faculty at the School of the Environment. Prior to her teaching career, she practiced law with a number of Washington, D.C., law firms, including Beveridge and Diamond and Hunton & Williams. She received her J.D., magna cum laude, from Georgetown University Law Center, her LL.M. with highest honors from George Washington University Law School. Professor Connolly did her undergraduate work in chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she was a Morehead Scholar, and served as a VISTA volunteer between college and law school. She also received a certification in Non-Profit Management from Duke University and a graduate certificate in Restorative Practices from the Institute for Restorative Practices Graduate School.