Barbara A. Smith

Barbara A. Smith

Partner and Co-Chair, Appellate and Supreme Court Group, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

Barbara is a co-chair of the Appellate and Supreme Court Group at BCLP. She is an experienced trial and appellate litigator who counsels clients through their most sensitive and challenging litigation issues, and she routinely handles politically sensitive matters and aggressively advocates for early and complete victory. Her diverse client base—she has represented politicians, fortune 500 companies, foreign sovereigns, and boards of directors—share one thing in common: They need a strong advocate, and they want to win.

Barbara practices—and wins—at all levels of the federal and state courts. Before the United States Supreme Court, Barbara has represented clients filing petitions for certiorari, opposing certiorari, and she has filed merits briefs.  She has also represented amici at the certiorari and merits stages.

At the trial court level, she routinely briefs and argues complex dispositive motions in anticipation of defending those victories on appeal. She also has first chair trial experience. On complex trial teams, she has acted as appellate preservation counsel. An experienced appellate advocate, Barbara has notched victories in state and federal appellate courts, including at the United States Supreme Court. 

Because some of her clients prefer confidential ADR to public civil litigation, Barbara also has alternative dispute resolution experience, including winning a major arbitration victory for a petitioner-client and successfully mediating a case  that (before her involvement) had previously been pending in the court system for more than a decade.

As an example of Barbara’s value-add, she recently crafted a novel standing argument that she briefed and won on a motion to dismiss a putative class action challenging a $198 million transaction in federal court. By winning on a motion to dismiss, she saved her client the time and cost of discovery. Barbara then successfully defended the victory on appeal—after briefing, the petitioner agreed to voluntarily dismiss the appeal and the case ended.

Among other issues, she has litigated questions of constitutional law, statutory construction, administrative law, securities law, labor and employment, white collar crime, ERISA, bankruptcy, and sovereign debt. 

Before joining BCLP, Barbara served as a law clerk to Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr. on the United States Supreme Court and Judge Thomas B. Griffith on the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.  She also previously practiced at a Supreme Court litigation boutique, where she represented clients before the United States Supreme Court and various federal courts of appeal.

In her free time, Barbara teaches a class on the United States Supreme Court as an adjunct law professor at Washington University in St. Louis. She also serves on the Steering Committee for the St. Louis Chapter of the Federalist Society.

Barbara earned her J.D. from Stanford Law School, where she was the Editor-in-Chief of the Stanford Journal of Law, Business, and Finance, the President of the Federalist Society, and a member of the law school’s student government. While in law school, Barbara was a moot court semi-finalist and a teaching assistant at Stanford Law School and Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.

Prior to attending law school, Barbara spent two years in the White House Counsel’s Office working for President George W. Bush. She graduated magna cum laude and with honors, from Wake Forest University, with a B.A. in economics and political science.


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