Robert T. Smith’s practice includes white collar criminal matters, environmental enforcement and regulation, internal investigations, and complex civil and criminal appeals. He is as comfortable ascertaining and analyzing facts as he is developing creative legal arguments for his clients.
Mr. Smith has assisted corporate and individual clients in the environmental, financial services, health care and insurance industries in navigating the difficult and trying circumstances that often surround criminal and civil governmental enforcement actions and investigations. He has conducted internal investigations, advised clients on potential criminal exposure, assessed liability under the False Claims Act, managed responses to subpoenas, assisted in making presentations and disclosures to prosecutors about alleged client conduct, and negotiated with prosecutors and enforcement lawyers at the Department of Justice, various US Attorney’s Offices and regulatory agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
When warranted, Mr. Smith has assisted his clients in going to trial. Mr. Smith co-chaired a federal criminal trial in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, during which Mr. Smith successfully defended his client against 10 counts of wire fraud. Mr. Smith gave the opening statement to the jury, cross-examined the government’s expert witness, and made an argument that led the District Court to adopt a key jury instruction that helped secure a judgment of acquittal for his client. In another case, Mr. Smith was a member of a trial team that successfully defended a corporate client against charges of conspiracy and tampering in violation of the Clean Water Act. Mr. Smith assisted with the formulation of a winning legal strategy and served as the primary draftsman for a number of key motions and memoranda, which again led to favorable jury instructions and a judgment of acquittal.
Mr. Smith has substantial brief-writing and appellate experience. Drawing on his time as a federal appellate clerk, he has served as the principal author of dozens of appellate filings in federal and state courts throughout the country. Mr. Smith's appellate practice is not limited to criminal and enforcement matters; he is often enlisted at the appellate stage to draft and edit briefs covering a wide range of substantive areas, including criminal appeals, tax and bankruptcy matters, challenges to environmental regulations, patent disputes and even complex civil appeals. A generalist in some of these areas, Mr. Smith has a flair for drafting creative and concise arguments that resonate with appellate judges, who are likewise generalists. For example, Mr. Smith served as the chief author of a successful petition for a writ of certiorari, securing from the Supreme Court vacatur of an adverse judgment that had been entered against his clients in a tax case. As another example, Mr. Smith’s petition for a writ of certiorari in a bankruptcy case was identified by a leading Supreme Court website as its Petition of the Day
Mr. Smith also shares in the firm’s commitment to pro bono service. In addition to his federal criminal trial in the Eastern District of Virginia, Mr. Smith has represented a number of pro bono clients, both before US Attorney’s Offices and in court. Mr. Smith successfully argued before the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in obtaining authorization for a client to file a second challenge to a state court conviction through the actual-innocence gateway of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act. Mr. Smith similarly assisted in convincing prosecutors to abandon felony charges against one of his pro bono clients and instead agree to a misdemeanor charge that resulted in a no-jail disposition. Mr. Smith represented this client throughout the life of the case—from the charging decision to the plea and sentencing hearings in federal court.
Prior to joining Katten, Mr. Smith was an associate at Morvillo, Abramowitz, Grand, Iason, Anello & Bohrer, P.C., where he focused on white collar criminal matters, governmental enforcement actions and complex civil cases. He also was an associate at Jones Day and a member of that firm’s appellate practice.
Mr. Smith clerked for Chief Judge John M. Walker Jr. on the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and, prior to and during part of law school, worked as a legislative assistant and legislative correspondent for Representative Rush D. Holt of the US House of Representatives.
Mr. Smith received his JD from the Georgetown University Law Center, magna cum laude
, where he was elected to the Order of the Coif and was awarded the West Outstanding Scholastic Achievement Award for maintaining the highest grade point average in his section over the final year of law school. He received his BA, cum laude
, in political science from the University of Richmond.
Mr. Smith is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia, New York, the Supreme Court of the United States, the US Courts of Appeals for the Second, Fourth, Sixth, Ninth, District of Columbia and Federal Circuits, and the US District Courts for the District of Columbia and the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.