Adam M. Smith

Adjunct Fellow, Energy, Economics, and Security Program

  • Press:

Research Areas

Adam M. Smith is Of Counsel at the Washington, D.C. office of the international law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher where he helps to lead the firm’s global economic sanctions and international trade practice. 

Prior to Gibson, Adam played two roles in the Obama administration.  He was the Director for Multilateral Affairs on the National Security Council at the White House where he helped develop and further the President’s multilateral agenda and played a leading role in rolling back sanctions on Burma.  He also was the Senior Advisor to the Director of the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which plays the primary role in the implementation and enforcement of all U.S. sanctions programs. As Senior Advisor he was involved in all aspects of OFAC’s work, including the design and implementation of Russia and Iran sanctions – including sanctions relief efforts, reform efforts at the United Nations, and the use of OFAC powers to hinder human rights abusers, organized crime, and narcotics traffickers.

Before his government service, Adam practiced international law at the Washington‐based international firm of Covington & Burling.   Earlier in his career Adam was a political economist at the United Nations, and also held postings at the World Bank and the OECD, and served as a visiting scholar at academic institutions in Africa, Europe, and Asia.

Adam obtained a BA with honors in political science and economics from Brown University and an M.Phil. in politics from Oxford University, with 1st class honors in African Politics.  He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School where he was Senior Editor of the Harvard International Law Journal.  He clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces in the chambers of the Honorable James E. Baker.

Adam has been a frequent media commentator and lecturer before universities, think tanks, and governments around the world on international economic and national security matters, and is the author of numerous articles and book chapters, and two books, After Genocide – Bringing the Devil to Justice (2009), and International Judicial Institutions – The Architecture of International Justice at Home and Abroad (Second ed. 2015).

Support CNAS