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Matthew S. Carstens

Senior Attorney





J.D., University of Iowa College of Law, 1998

M.A., American University, 1994

B.A., University of Michigan, 1987

Matt Carstens is an experienced litigation attorney with significant background and expertise in the energy sector. Matt came to Miller Canfield from ITC Holdings Corp., the country’s largest independent electric transmission utility, where he was Vice President and General Counsel, Utility Operations.

There, Matt managed four practice groups in the legal department: capital projects, business operations, contract administration and real estate for ITC and its regulated transmission company subsidiaries. This work included managing litigation, state franchise and siting proceedings, insurance and risk management and the acquisition and protection of ITC's right-of-way assets. Matt also interacted with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on behalf of his client and oversaw the development and implementation of a regulatory watch list system to ensure engineering projects were in compliance with federal regulatory requirements.

Before joining ITC, Matt spent 11 years in commercial litigation in Chicago, Detroit and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He is licensed to practice law in Michigan, Illinois and Iowa.

Representative Matters

Matt coordinated and led ITC's representation in Hawkeye Land Co. v. Iowa Utilities Board and Hawkeye Land Co. v. ITC Midwest LLC, a series of state and federal lawsuits brought by a railroad land management company challenging Iowa's utility railroad crossing statute and ITC's use of that statute to acquire right-of-way in an efficient but equitable manner. Matt's involvement included advocating before Iowa legislative committees to amend the statute to clarify its inclusion of entities like ITC. 

Matt represented ITC before state regulatory commissions in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Kansas in gaining franchise rights and siting approval for electric transmission projects.

He also represented ITC in condemnation proceedings and landowner challenges across ITC's footprint. 

Before joining ITC, Matt had first chair experience in trials and alternative dispute proceedings involving real estate, construction and insurance coverage matters.

Professional Activities

Energy Bar Association, Washington, D.C., 2010-present; Board Member, Midwest chapter, 2019-present

American Bar Association, Chicago, Illinois, 2000-present

Dean Mason Ladd Inn of Court, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 2007-2015

Civic, Cultural & Social Activities

Board member, Junior Achievement of Southeastern Michigan, 2015-present

Board member, Young Parents Network, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 2007-2015

Commissioner, City of Cedar Rapids Historic Preservation Commission, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 2009-2011

Iowa Wind Energy Association, Estherville, Iowa, 2008-2015


University of Wisconsin, Platteville, December 10, 2014; presented "Primer on Electric Transmission Planning and Routing" to three sections of civil engineering undergraduate students

Iowa Chapter of Association of Corporate Counsel forum, Des Moines, Iowa, May 30, 2014; presented "Ethics-Attorney-Client Privilege and Other Considerations for In-House Counsel"

Common Good forum on "Infrastructure Now; Reforming America's Broken Infrastructure Approval Process," Washington, D.C., November 21, 2013 presented "Jurisdictional Overlap in Transmission Siting and Permitting Processes"

Mason Ladd Inns of Court forum on law firm best practices, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, October 10, 2013; presented "Getting and Keeping Clients - an In-House Counsel Perspective"

Iowa Chapter of Association of Corporate Counsel forum, Iowa City, Iowa, October 14, 2011; presented "Developments in Broad Form Indemnification Provisions - Issues in Contracting"


Contributing chapter author, "Legal Considerations," Introduction to Infrastructure, An Introduction to Civil and Environmental Engineering, Michael R. Penn and Philip J. Parker, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2012

Author, Political Development and Political Riot: The Colonial Rebellions in Massachusetts, New York, and Maryland of 1689, 7 The Graduate Review 13 (1994)