John Da Grosa Smith, founding member of SMITH LLC, is a highly-respected advocate who represents clients in a broad spectrum of matters. John has been recognized by his peers as one of the top general practice and trial lawyers in Georgia.
John is often called on to serve as counsel in complex cases requiring a blend of sophisticated litigation experience and trial skills. His proven ability to quickly grasp complicated issues amidst a high-pressure atmosphere makes him a go-to lawyer for cases or dealings on the brink.
An Assistant District Attorney
John began his career as an Assistant District Attorney at the Office of the District Attorney in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A veteran of hundreds of criminal trials involving a wide range of state crimes, John was promoted to the Major Trials Unit focusing on the prosecution of serious felonies. During the course of his tenure, John prosecuted defendants for crimes including, among others, drug trafficking, armed robbery, kidnapping, and attempted murder.
As a new prosecutor, John immediately faced talented trial lawyers in the courtroom and quickly learned to effectively represent the Commonwealth. John's extensive trial experience and mastery of the rules of evidence distinguish him from others in his field.
Following his tenure as an Assistant District Attorney, John pursued an opportunity to augment his legal training and experience by joining Accenture, a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. As a consultant, John worked on various project teams tasked with developing and implementing business and technology solutions for clients. John was heavily sought after within the company and therefore rolled onto project after project with little downtime.
Through his consulting work, John developed a strong business sense and an alternative paradigm through which to solve problems and deliver solutions. He also learned the many efficiencies and benefits that result from implementing "best practices" in a consulting engagement as well as the transferability of those practices in effectively managing litigation.
John's willingness to step away from the practice of law to develop business, management, problem resolution, and technology skills demonstrates his willingness to defy conventional wisdom and his commitment to bettering himself to better serve his clients.
A Civil Litigator
During his tenure with Accenture, John decided to make Georgia his home. John returned to the practice of law joining one of the most respected law firms in Atlanta.
John's foray into private practice came at a time when securities arbitrations were bustling as a result of the market downturn that began in the year 2000. In this climate, John's initial focus was almost exclusively on defending broker-dealers and securities professionals in customer arbitrations before the National Association of Securities Dealers and New York Stock Exchange (collectively now FINRA). John not only developed a deep knowledge of the governing legal standards, but also worked closely with quantitative experts who performed complicated financial analyses of the related transactions. In representing several major full service brokerage firms, financial services companies, and individual registered representatives, John worked on matters involving allegations such as unsuitability, churning, fraudulent research reports, fraudulent misrepresentations and omissions, unauthorized trading, selling away, failure to supervise, and breach of fiduciary duty. One such arbitration contained a claim for losses approaching $100 million.
As securities arbitrations receded, John transitioned his focus to representing both plaintiffs and defendants in complex civil litigation cases. He developed a broad base of experience while handling diverse litigation matters spanning across various practice areas. The breadth of experience included cases asserting violations of the Georgia Trade Secrets Act, seeking to enforce and challenge restrictive covenants, claiming breaches of fiduciary duty and contract, involving large scale pharmaceutical products liability claims, and including derivative actions. He has also protected creditors in a variety of contexts including repayment of contractually owed training costs and forgivable loans and pursuit of monies owed for the improper use and assignment of licensed software.
Beyond John's extensive arbitration and civil litigation experience, he also defended clients against actions to recover fraudulent or preferential transfers in bankruptcy. One of his cases involved defending a broker-dealer against an adversary proceeding involving a multi-million dollar fraudulent transfer claim within a widely-publicized bankruptcy case. The case successfully ended with a complete dismissal and established new precedent in the application of 11 U.S.C. § 546(e) (commonly known as the broker-dealer defense). In addition, John represented a financial services company in successfully prosecuting a $1.8 million non-dischargeability action against a former representative who incurred liability when "selling away" from the firm.
In 2008, John founded SMITH LLC, a sophisticated trial practice and litigation law firm. John sought to build a litigation boutique with a decidedly varied practice and a business model that allows attorneys to creatively practice law. He observed that the advent of steep billable hour requirements, and organizational structures and financial rewards that elevate individuals over the firm as a whole, present obstacles to delivering creative and effective legal services.
John believed that building a firm from the ground up with a foundation designed solely to support, and not detract from, the practice of law, would be a good thing. Also, for John, having lawyers master litigation rather than toil away in isolated practice groups would develop well-rounded advocates who could leverage their diverse knowledge and skills in each representation the firm undertakes.
From its inception, SMITH effectively handles dozens of diverse litigation matters against some of the most respected law firms in the country. SMITH represents individuals and businesses (large and small) in a cross-section of cases reflective of the diverse practice areas John had envisioned. SMITH operates leanly - producing a high-volume of quality work with a handful of strong resources - and continuing to develop its reputation and practice.
Member of Georgia State Bar, 2003
Member of Pennsylvania State Bar, 1998
SMITH LLC, Atlanta, Georgia, 2008 - present
Rogers & Hardin, Atlanta, Georgia, 2003 - 2008
Accenture, Chicago, Illinois and Atlanta, Georgia, 2001 - 2003
Office of the District Attorney, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1998 - 2001
- GeorgiaTrend's Legal Elite - General Practice, Trial, 2009
- Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating, AV Preeminent
- WHO'S WHO TOP ATTORNEYS OF NORTH AMERICA