ABOUT DONNA V. SMITH, PARTNER
I once received an email from a client stating simply, “Thank you for holding my hand through this process…” It was my honor and pleasure to guide this client through the nuances and challenges of employment law litigation and it gave me great satisfaction to know that our efforts to take the extra step for her were well-received by her.
Employment law encompasses discrimination claims, retaliation claims, unpaid wages/wage hour claims, whistleblower claims, and much more. The law is changing as are employer practices. However, it is an area in which I have developed a great deal of knowledge since I began practicing in this field in 1987- and I am always learning more and exploring new and better ways to represent our client’s interests. Yes, I have the credentials you expect from an attorney- Bachelor of Arts with a major in Philosophy, and minor in mathematics and languages from St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD, a law degree with honors from Tulane University School of Law, Bar admissions to five states over the course of my career (and many moves across the country), and admission to the Federal Courts including active status in Florida, Louisiana and Georgia. I have practiced actively before the agencies charged with enforcement of laws impacting the employment relationship such as the United States Equal Opportunity Commission, Department of Labor, and Department of Housing and Urban Development, National Labor Relations Board and the state or local equivalent of these Federal agencies. I have litigated numerous cases before judges and juries in State and Federal Court and before private Arbitrators. I have lost count of the number of mediations I have participated in with my clients. These are the credentials and competencies you expect over a career of nearly 30 years devoted solely to the practice of labor and employment law.
But going back to the email I referenced above, my client described in one short phrase the qualities that she respected and valued in addition to my being a “credentialed lawyer” – compassion and patience. Talking to a lawyer, or pursuing a legal claim, is a new experience for most of our clients. My role as a lawyer is multi-faceted. Clients come to us for our knowledge, experience, and reputation as litigators. I am also a counselor, teacher and advisor. The decision to pursue a legal claim is an important one that impacts your life in a very meaningful way. Emotions run strong. You will have questions. You need advice to make the best decisions for you. I take these obligations seriously and sincerely hope during the course of my representation of a client, or when we resolve a case for a client, that I hear an expression in one form or another of confidence and appreciation for listening, making the process understandable, and generally providing rock solid guidance.
- Ms. Smith was born in Decatur, Georgia, and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. She has two children.
- Ms. Smith enjoys spending time with her children and supporting their many activities.
Areas of Practice:
- Employment Law
- Florida, 2003
- Georgia, 1999
- U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida
- U.S. District Court Southern District of Florida
- U.S. District Court Northern District of Georgia
- U.S. District Court Eastern District of Louisiana
- U.S. District Court Middle District of Louisiana
- U.S. District Court Western District of Louisiana
- U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit
- Tulane Law School, New Orleans, Louisiana J.D. (Cum Laude) – 1987
- St. John’s College, Annapolis, Maryland B.A. (Cum Laude) – 1984
Professional Associations and Memberships:
- Florida Bar, Member
- Georgia Bar, Member
- Hillsborough County Bar Association, Member
- Hillsborough County Women Lawyers, Member