Elizabeth Smith Attorney

Elizabeth Smith, a partner at the Vorys Columbus office, is a seasoned attorney with over three decades of diverse experience in the courtroom, complex discovery, and before governmental administrative bodies. With her extensive expertise, she handles a wide range of legal matters, including business, commercial, contract, occupational disease, environmental and toxic torts, ethics, education, governance, medical marijuana, and public law litigation. Elizabeth has demonstrated her skills in first chair trial experience in both jury and bench trials at the state and federal levels. She has also successfully argued in various state appellate courts, the Ohio Supreme Court, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Elizabeth’s practice encompasses individuals, businesses of all sizes, universities, and traditional and charter schools, representing them before courts and regulatory bodies. Her wealth of experience uniquely positions her as a go-to attorney for regulatory litigation and state government-related issues.

Career Highlights

Varied Trial and Litigation Experience

Elizabeth boasts over 30 years of trial and litigation experience in a wide array of areas. She has handled jury trials and injunction hearings involving business, contract, and commercial disputes. She has also been involved in extended litigation in multiple forums, representing family trust beneficiaries. Elizabeth’s expertise extends to employment discrimination, asbestos exposure, and occupational disease litigation. Notably, she has provided national representation to a Fortune 200 manufacturing company for its occupational disease claims. Throughout her career, she has worked closely with national expert witnesses from the medical, epidemiological, and industrial hygiene fields across the country and in various forums.

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Chief Counsel to Ohio Attorney General James Petro

From 2003 to 2005, Elizabeth served as the Chief Counsel to Ohio Attorney General James Petro. In this role, she played a pivotal part in daily strategy and policy decision-making, providing leadership to a team of over 100 lawyers handling 13,000 cases. Her responsibilities covered a range of matters involving the State of Ohio, its agencies and universities, and pension funds. Elizabeth tackled issues related to securities litigation, constitutional matters, unions, taxation, transportation, workers’ compensation, state budgeting, state and national elections, public records, ethics, open meetings, and corporate governance. Additionally, she handled general tort litigation.

Regulatory Litigation Representation

Elizabeth has represented various businesses in regulatory litigation with the state. She achieved successful resolutions in high-stakes “Bet the Company” litigation against the Ohio Department of Medicaid concerning a Home Healthcare Government Audit. She also handled significant litigation involving a medical marijuana cultivator licensee, both in court and against the Ohio Medical Marijuana Program. Elizabeth has effectively represented individuals and government entities before the Ohio Ethics Commission, the Ohio Elections Commission, the Department of Public Safety, and the Department of Commerce.

Settlement Negotiation and Class Action Litigation

Elizabeth has negotiated settlements for several significant investigatory actions on behalf of national chains, brought by the Consumer Protection Section of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. In addition, she has been involved in successful litigation and settlement of an international class action, addressing allegations concerning offshore working conditions.

Leadership in Ohio’s Charter School Actions

Elizabeth has played a central role in various aspects of litigation and regulatory actions involving Ohio’s charter schools. Notably, she spearheaded the first effort of a non-government charter school sponsor to assume control of a failing school and successfully bring it to closure. In doing so, she collaborated with the Ohio Attorney General, the Ohio Department of Education, and the Ohio Auditor of State.

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Special Counsel to Ohio’s Public Universities

As special counsel to the Ohio Attorney General, Elizabeth has represented Ohio’s public universities in a wide range of state and federal regulatory issues. Her efforts have included successful negotiations with the United States Department of Justice on matters related to accessibility.

Representation in Election Matters and Marijuana Industry

Elizabeth represented the Ohioans Against Marijuana Monopolies PAC (Issue 3) in the 2015 election. Her involvement included representation before the Ohio Ballot Board and participation in debates before professional organizations and The Columbus Metropolitan Club. She also spearheaded an amicus brief in the Ohio Supreme Court for the PAC to defeat Issue 3. Subsequently, Elizabeth represented provisional licensees in the marijuana industry before the courts. Additionally, she provides advice and representation to various businesses regarding issues related to Ohio’s new Medical Marijuana and Hemp Programs.

Bi-Partisan Judicial Advisory Commissions

Elizabeth’s legal acumen and exceptional reputation have led to her appointment by Ohio’s U.S. Senators to four Bi-Partisan Judicial Advisory Commissions for the Selection of Federal District Judges in Ohio. In 2017, she served as the chair of the commission.

Elizabeth is a valued member of several professional organizations, including the Federal Bar Association, the Ohio State Bar Association, the Columbus Bar Association, the Ohio Women’s Bar Association, the Women Lawyers of Franklin County, the Defense Research Institute (DRI), and the Ohio Association of Civil Trial Attorneys (OACTA). She has been recognized as an Ohio Super Lawyer, one of The Best Lawyers in America, and a Top Lawyer in Columbus. Recently, she was appointed to the Columbus Bar Association’s Professional Ethics Committee.

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Elizabeth has been invited to speak at various events, including the Ohio Attorney General’s Trial Advocacy Program, where she shares insights on trial presentation. She has also addressed professional organizations on the subject of women’s career development. Most recently, Elizabeth has been sought after by healthcare organizations and employers to provide legal perspectives on issues related to the legalization of marijuana.

Elizabeth earned her J.D. from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and her B.A. magna cum laude from Heidelberg College. In 1979, she completed McGill University’s Intensive Summer French Program.

For more information on Elizabeth Smith and the services provided by Garrity Traina, visit Garrity Traina.