Kim Diana Connolly has focused her academic 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. She serves as the Vice Dean for Advocacy and Experiential Learning for the University at Buffalo School of Law, and directs both the Advocacy Institute and the Clinical Legal Education Program. Her administrative approach is to support excellent experiential instructors offering innovative and exciting opportunities for law students to work either with clients or in simulated settings to prepare for the practice of law. Professor Connolly often presents and participates in collective endeavors that focus on experiential legal education, and has served in national leadership positions (including president of the Clinical Legal Education Association) for many years. Professor Connolly also studies, writes and speaks about environmental and animal law policies, creatively examining and sharing ideas as to how to move toward a sustainable future.
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. 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. She received her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and her LL.M. 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.