Mr. Smith has practiced at K&L Gates since 1987 and is the Managing Partner of the Pittsburgh office. The Pittsburgh office is the firm’s largest office, with approximately 180 lawyers. Mr. Smith also serves as the Co-Managing Partner for the firm’s U.S. offices.
Mr. Smith is a trial lawyer, who has litigated a wide variety of commercial matters, and has been lead counsel in jury trials, bench trials, and international arbitrations, including environmental, insurance coverage, breach of contract, and other commercial disputes. He is a member of the firm’s Trial Lawyer Academy. Mr. Smith was lead counsel for a plaintiff hedge fund manager in a September 2016 jury trial in New Jersey state court in which Mr. Smith’s client obtained a jury verdict for defamation in the amount of $40.4 million. The verdict is listed as the 45th-highest in the National Law Journal’s Top 100 Verdicts of 2016. The verdict was upheld by the New Jersey Supreme Court in November 2019, and the judgment has been paid by the defendant.
Mr. Smith’s other significant successes in jury trials include a Clean Water Act enforcement action brought by the U.S. DOJ against a steel industry client and a bad faith verdict obtained against an insurer in an environmental insurance coverage case, both federal court cases. He obtained a successful resolution for a U.S. university in an international arbitration against a Chinese company in which Chinese law was at issue. Mr. Smith’s litigation and trial experience extends to numerous jurisdictions, including California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin, as well as in Canada.
Mr. Smith recognized very early the impact that the proliferation of electronically stored information (ESI) would have on litigation discovery and trials, and founded in 2004 the firm’s e-Discovery Analysis and Technology (e-DAT) Group, for which he is the Co-Chair. The e-DAT Group was one of the first e-discovery practice groups established at a major law firm. He has counselled clients for more than a decade on a broad range of ESI issues, has spoken at national and regional e-discovery conferences, and has published many articles and newsletters on ESI issues (see below). He is a contributing author in the PBI Press book entitled “eDiscovery,” published most recently in 2018. He is a charter member of the E-Discovery Special Master panel for the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, and is a former member of Working Group 1 of The Sedona Conference, a leading e-discovery think tank. Mr. Smith has served as an adjunct professor for a post-graduate course on e-discovery at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.