Suzelle M. Smith
Suzelle M. Smith is a partner and co-founder of the Los Angeles law firm Howarth & Smith. Ms. Smith has extensive experience in complex litigation, professional malpractice, product liability and business law and has tried numerous cases to verdict, representing both plaintiffs and defendants. Some of her cases include the Estate of Doris Duke matter, antitrust litigation against the NFL, an Attorney General action against the tobacco industry, breach of contract claims for the Vatican Library, custodian of Vatican art, claims brought against a major polluter by the citizens of a residential area, copyright claims against major film studios, breach of contract actions against major Fortune 100 companies on behalf of former executives, and terrorist cases, including actions brought by the families of the victims of the 911 events against Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaeda, and state sponsors of terrorism, among others. Ms. Smith was selected one of the top ten litigators in the United States for 1997 by the National Law Journal; in 2004 she was named as one of "America’s Top 50 Women Litigators," and since 2004 she has been named one of California’s "Super Lawyers."
Ms. Smith received a Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude, with special distinction in Political Science from Boston University and a Master of Philosophy from Oxford University. From 1978 to 1980, she served as a Legislative Assistant to United States Senator Howell Heflin. In 1983, she received her Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law, Order of the Coif.
Ms. Smith is admitted to practice in the States of California, New York, Washington, and the District of Columbia, as well as the United States District Court for the Central, Southern, and Northern Districts of California, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, the United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, Eighth Circuit, Ninth Circuit, Tenth Circuit, Federal Circuit, and the Supreme Court of the United States.
Ms. Smith is an elected Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers (and former Board Member); a member of the Board of Trustees of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers; an elected Fellow of the American Bar Foundation; an elected Fellow of the International Society of Barristers; and an elected member of the American Board of Trial Advocates. She was appointed to the Los Angeles Legal Aid Board of Advisors in 2000. She is a member of the American Bar Association (Member, Litigation Section and Member, Toxic Torts Section), the California State Bar Association (Continuing Education of the Bar Committee), and the Los Angeles County Bar Association (Federal Courts Committee, Appellate Subcommittee Chairperson). She is also the former President of the Inns of Court, Los Angeles West Chapter.
Ms. Smith maintains an active commitment to legal scholarship and continuing legal education. In the spring 1994 and 1996, she gave lectures on behalf of the Faculty of Law, University of Oxford. She is a Lecturer in Law and Visiting Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University, England, and has been a Visiting Scholar at New Hall College, Cambridge University, England, and has served as Adjunct Professor of Trial Practice at Pepperdine University School of Law in Malibu, California. She is also a Trustee of the University of Virginia Law School, a past member of the Board of Visitors of Pepperdine Law School, a member of the Advisory Council of The American Ditchley Foundation, and has served on the Board of Trustees, Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, MA. She is the past President of the Malibu Labor Exchange Board of Trustees.
Ms. Smith has been a regular speaker at the California State Bar’s annual convention, and is featured in a State Bar video on the subject of trial skills. She frequently lectures on trial practice and evidence for the American Trial Lawyers Association, The Defense Research Institute and The Rutter Group. Ms. Smith has also testified before the United States Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts and Administrative Practice.
Ms. Smith is the co-author of Case Assessment and Evaluation, with Don Howarth, published in 1989 by Callaghan Publishing Company, a litigation practice book. She has been a member of the Lawyer Alert Board of Experts as its adviser on trial practice and procedure. Ms. Smith's articles include "Two Appellate Courts Dictate New Class Action Jurisprudence," Class Action Jurisprudence (June 1996), "Partnership Divorces: Principles and Pitfalls in Partnership Law", Los Angeles Lawyer (December 1994), "Landlord’s Liability for Criminal Acts by Third Parties - A New Test," Commercial Leasing Law & Strategy, Vol. 6, No. 12 (May 1994), "Rules Governing Demonstrative Evidence At Trial: A Practitioners Guide," Western State University Law Review, Vol. 20, No. 1 (1992), and "Litigation - Society's Pressure Valve," Christian Legal Society Quarterly, Vol. 9 (1988).
Ms. Smith is featured in several informative videos on Legal Counselor:
- "The Client – Your First Meeting"
- "The Jury – Establishing Trust, Controlling the Butterflies"
- "The Story: Your Legal Argument Is Only Half Your Case"
- "Research Tools & Resources – Back to Basics"
- "The Judge – Bench Trials"
- "Becoming A Lawyer: Discovering What You Were Meant To Do"
- "Getting the Facts from The Other Side, and Your Own"
Awards and Recognition:
- Super Lawyers: 2004-2017
- Martindale-Hubble "Top Rated Lawyers" Award: 1995-2016
- US News Best Lawyers "Best Lawyers" Award: 2003-2017
- National Law Journal "Top Ten Litigators in the United States": 1997