Mr. Smith focuses his practice in the areas of personal injury, wrongful-death, automobile and trucking injury litigation, and criminal defense. He is known for his creative and detail-oriented approach to cases, which has led to outstanding results for clients at both the trial and appellate level. A talented trial attorney, Mr. Smith’s experience, legal acumen, and ability to translate detailed and often complex facts into comprehensive and engaging narratives captures the respect of clients, judges, opposing attorneys, and jurors alike.
Mr. Smith was born and raised in Gulfport, Mississippi. After high school, he received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Mississippi, appearing on the Dean’s List each semester. This was followed by receipt of his Juris Doctorate from the Mississippi College School of Law, where he was on the Dean’s List and served as a Justice on the law school’s Honor Court. He was also president of the Sports & Entertainment Law Society during his final year of law school.
Prior to founding the firm with Morgan Holder, Mr. Smith served as an Assistant State Attorney in the Office of the State Attorney for the First Judicial District of Florida. While a prosecutor, he would often try multiple jury trials in a single week. He was the lead trial attorney in dozens of felony criminal trials, including cases involving drug distribution conspiracies, armed robbery, manslaughter, and financial crimes such as fraud, embezzlement, and larceny.
Mr. Smith is admitted to practice before all state courts in Mississippi and Florida, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and Eleventh Circuit, and the United States District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Mississippi and the Northern and Southern Districts of Florida. He is a member of the Mississippi and Florida State Bar Associations, the Mississippi Association for Justice, the American Inns of Court, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Harrison County Bar Association.
Some cases of note include:
Personal Injury Litigation:
- Seven-figure jury verdict in Mississippi state court on behalf of an injured client, the largest such verdict in that particular venue in over 20 years.
- Six-figure jury verdict in federal court in Miami, Florida on behalf of client who was injured on a cruise ship docked in New Orleans, Louisiana.
- Jury trial resulting in an acquittal for client charged with five serious felony offenses which carried a possible sentence of up to life in prison.
- Obtained a pretrial dismissal for client charged with white collar criminal offense due to improper indictment.
- Reversal of the trial court’s granting of a motion to transfer venue in a case presenting the question of the permissible venue options in the context of multistate defamation and invasion of privacy torts arising out of a television show initially broadcast simultaneously throughout the United States. Short v. Versiga, 283 So.3d 182 (Miss. 2019).
- Reversal of a trial court’s judgment due to ineffective service in a bond forfeiture proceeding. Newell v. State, 282 So.3d 655 (Miss. Ct. App. 2019)
J.D., Mississippi College School of Law, 2009
B.B.A., University of Mississippi, 2006
In a recent trial victory, Mr. Smith was part of the trial team that obtained a seven-figure verdict on behalf of an injured client, the largest such verdict in that particular venue in over twenty years. In another case, following a four-day jury trial in federal court in Miami, Florida, where liability was hotly contested, he obtained a six-figure verdict for the firm’s client who had been injured on a cruise ship docked in New Orleans, Louisiana. In addition to these trial victories, Mr. Smith has secured numerous other six and seven-figure verdicts and settlements for the firm’s clients.
His representation in criminal matters is equally impressive. In one trial victory, Mr. Smith and Mr. Holder obtained an outright acquittal on five serious felony charges which carried a possible sentence of up to life in prison. In that case, after nearly a week-long trial, the jury deliberated less than one hour before returning its unanimous not guilty verdict. Afterward, one court observer noted that Mr. Smith’s closing argument was “the best I’ve ever seen.” In another case, a heavily litigated white collar criminal matter involving alleged fraud, the firm obtained a pretrial dismissal of the indictment based upon creative and compelling motion practice, which displayed to the trial judge that the prosecution had failed to allege the essential facts and elements constituting the charge. In another matter concerning a wide-ranging federal criminal investigation, Mr. Smith successfully convinced investigating authorities not to pursue the case against the firm’s client because of the available defenses, and no charges were ever filed.
Mr. Smith frequently lectures on different aspects of trials and appeals. He regularly delivers presentations about professional negligence, administrative law and licensing, and crimes involving the federal Controlled Substances Act to students in the medical field. He has been an invited guest-speaker to professional groups and trade associations regarding legal reforms, licensing, continuing education, and insurance matters. He also actively participates in the Lawyer in Every Classroom Program through the Mississippi Bar Association, where he has spoken to middle and high school students about courtroom and trial procedures, privacy laws, and civil and criminal procedure.
Mr. Smith is a member of St. James Catholic Church and is involved in numerous civic and charitable organizations. He enjoys and engages in sports and other outdoor activities, including successfully summiting the tallest mountain in the continental United States, Mount Whitney, in California. He and his wife, Lisa, live in Gulfport with their son.