Roger Smith, Sr., was born in Albemarle, North Carolina, attended the Albemarle public schools and was awarded a Morehead Scholarship at the University of North Carolina a Chapel Hill, where he received his B.A. degree in English in 1963. During his undergraduate years, he served as president of the freshman class, was inducted into the Order of the Golden Fleece, and, in 1963, was co-captain of the football team.
Mr. Smith graduated from the UNC law school in 1967 after serving as the first chief justice of the Holderness Moot Court Bench and receiving the Wettach-Van Hecke Citizenship Award. He was admitted to the bar in 1967, served as law clerk to North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Carlisle W. Higgins for one year, and, on September 1, 1968, joined the law firm of Tharrington Smith, which had been co-founded by his brother, Wade, four years earlier. Mr. Smith retired from practice on December 31, 2017.
During his career, Mr. Smith served as president of the Wake County Bar Association (1993); president of the Wake County Academy of Criminal Trial Lawyers (1973-74); a member of the North Carolina State Bar Council and its Ethics Committee (1980-89); a member of the North Carolina Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission (1990-93); a member of the North Carolina Justice Needs Assessment Task Force (1993), and vice chair of the North Carolina Board of Legal Specialization (1995-96).
Mr. Smith was a member of the Board of Directors of the American Judicature Society; a delegate to the American Bar Association House of Delegates; president of the North Carolina Supreme Court Historical Society; a member of the Louisburg College Board of Trustees; and a member of the State Board of Governors of Summit House, a residential alternative for prison-bound women with children.
Mr. Smith focused his practice on trials and appeals, and served as lead counsel in numerous cases in state and federal appellate courts. He enjoyed fellowship in both the American College of Trial Lawyers, and the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers. He was recognized by Best Lawyers in America since its inception in 1983 and by North Carolina Super Lawyers since its inception in 2006. In 2014, he received the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism Award.
Mr. Smith has a deep love for literature and writing, and is the author of numerous professional papers, essays, short stories, and poems. He is married to Bonnie Lowder Smith, and they have two children, Kim Smith Yandow, and Roger Smith, Jr., who joined the firm in the practice of law in September, 1999. Together Roger and Bonnie have 12 grandchildren.
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