Chris Smith is co-chair of the firm's Litigation team and is a trial and appellate lawyer who counsels clients on business strategy and crisis management. He manages large, multi-party, and multi-jurisdiction projects, and both prosecutes and defends mission-critical claims for clients. In Chambers USA, clients say Chris “provides really seasoned and measured advice,” is "very, very well respected," "fabulous," "extremely proactive and insightful," "provides excellent strategic advice," is "bright, extremely cerebral yet superbly practical in his approach when managing a dispute" and “writes exceptionally well.

Chris’s interests lie in the intersection of law and business. He is a member of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the North Carolina Chamber and he serves on the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Chamber Legal Institute, which is the business community’s voice for legal policy development and analysis. He works with business groups and government officials on initiatives to improve the quality and efficiency of the administration of justice in North Carolina and on policy and legislative matters affecting the business legal climate in the state. Chris is also a Past-President of the North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys.

Chris has tried numerous lawsuits to jury verdict. His recent projects include a tax dispute on behalf of various insurance companies with the State of North Carolina, engagement by various stakeholders to defend the application and constitutionality of liability immunity legislation, as well strategic risk management projects for companies developing innovative renewable energy technologies.

He has argued appeals before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

Chris was an associate with an international law firm in Washington, D.C. before joining Smith Anderson in 1995. In addition to his leadership of the Business Litigation team, Chris serves on the firm's Management Committee.

Areas of Focus



  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Business Lawyers, Litigation: General Commercial (2014-2023)
  • North Carolina Lawyers Weekly "Leader in Law" (recognizing "the most influential individuals within our state's legal community") (2014)
  • Defense Research Institute (DRI) nationwide award for Exceptional Performance (recognizing work for "having contributed to the improvement of the administration of justice in the public interest") (2013)
  • Defense Research Institute (DRI) State Association Diversity Award (awarded to the North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys during Chris' Presidency for demonstrating a "significant commitment to diversity") (2012)
  • Benchmark Litigation, North Carolina Litigation Star (2010-2024)
  • The Best Lawyers in America®
    • Commercial Litigation (2013-2024)
    • Litigation - Environmental (2013-2024)
  • Business North Carolina Legal Elite
    • Appellate (2024) 
    • Litigation (2012)
  • Super Lawyers
    • North Carolina Super Lawyers (2007-2024)
    • North Carolina Super Lawyers, Top 100 Lawyers (2013-2016, 2023)
    • North Carolina Super Lawyers, Top 25 Raleigh Super Lawyers (2014)
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Rating


  • University of Pennsylvania, J.D., cum laude, 1992
  • University of Pennsylvania, B.A., summa cum laude, 1987
    • Phi Beta Kappa

Bar & Court Admissions


  • North Carolina Chamber Legal Institute
    • Member, Board of Directors (2015-Present) 
    • Chair, Board of Directors (2015-2019)
  • M&F Bank (Mechanics and Farmers Bank)
    • Member, Board of Directors (2015-2019)
  • North Carolina Chamber
    • Member, Board of Directors (2014-Present)
    • Member, Executive Committee (2020-Present)
  • National Defense Research Institute
    • Chair, Trade Secrets Group (2013-2019)
  • North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys
    • Board of Directors (2006-2014)
    • Immediate Past-President (2013-2014)
    • President (2012-2013)
    • President-Elect (2011-2012)
    • Executive Vice President (2010-2011)
    • Treasurer (2009-2010)
    • Secretary (2007-2009)
    • Chairman, Commercial Litigation Section (2005-2007)
  • North Carolina Hillel
    • Member, Board of Directors (2016-2022)
  • Pro Bono General Counsel, The Lerner Jewish Community Day School (2002-2019)
  • North Carolina Bar Association
    • Law School Liaison Committee (2008-2013)
  • Tenth Judicial District Fee Dispute Committee (2007-2013)
  • Association for Corporate Growth/Research Triangle Park Chapter
    • Board of Directors (2001-2006)
    • Vice-President (2003-2006)
  • American Bar Association
  • Wake County Bar Association


  • Lead counsel for a company in successfully protecting and enforcing intellectual property rights.
  • Lead counsel to corporation in defending claims of false advertising.
  • Lead trial counsel for insurance company in dispute with North Carolina Department of Revenue regarding renewable energy tax credits.
  • Lead counsel in trademark infringement dispute against worldwide vendor.
  • Lead counsel and management of multi-venue contract dispute involving lawsuit, arbitration and public utility commission proceedings arising out of contracts addressing client's business in 27 states.
  • Lead counsel for nationwide risk management project for telecommunications infrastructure company involving multiple parties and lawsuits in state and federal court and regulatory proceedings in various state public utilities commissions.
  • Co-lead counsel for client who successfully sued to have a "poison pill" adopted by a bank declared unlawful.
  • Lead counsel for client who successfully defended against a preliminary injunction in a trademark infringement case for a new subsidiary business.
  • Lead counsel in large trade secrets and unfair and deceptive trade practices claim for plaintiff corporation resulting in verdict at trial for plaintiff client.
  • Lead counsel for defendant client in $50 million+ arbitration regarding earn-out provisions of an asset purchase and sale agreement resulting in favorable verdict for defendant client.
  • Lead counsel in multi-million-dollar dispute involving claims against client to "pierce the corporate veil" resulting in favorable pre-trial rulings and settlement.
  • Lead counsel at trial in multi-million-dollar dispute involving claims of "software malpractice" on client's counterclaim resulting in successful settlement for client during trial.
  • Risk management of pre-litigation disputes of a broad range of matters including complex contract disputes, pharmaceutical development and licensing agreements, non-compete and trade secrets issues, and environmental contamination matters.
  • Management and primary counsel on $100 million+ pharmaceutical development dispute for defendant client resulting in partial summary judgment for client followed by a favorable settlement.
  • Trial counsel in multi-million-dollar brain injury case where jury verdict was obtained on behalf of our plaintiff client.
  • Lead counsel and management of complex environmental Superfund cost recovery action for client in an action involving more than 100 defendants.
  • Represented an electric aerospace company in dispute with prototype airframe supplier that claimed exclusive rights to participate in aircraft development and manufacturing program and sought hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. We filed counterclaims, obtained a temporary restraining order requiring return of our client’s intellectual property, and obtained a declaratory judgment establishing that our client properly terminated the underlying contract and the supplier had no further right to participate in the program. The matter was ultimately resolved without any payment by our client.
  • Defended a global technology company against competitor’s claims of trade secret misappropriation and interference with contract.
  • Lead counsel in multi-million-dollar arbitration involving breach of contract claim resulting in award of full damages with pre- and post-judgment interest and attorneys’ fees and costs for claimant client. 



Publications & Alerts

"Firms should hail changes in patent, case venue laws," Guest Column, Triangle Business Journal, August 8, 2014

Events & Programming

  • Co-Presenter, The Untapped Power of Bylaws to Protect Your Company and Preparing a Well-Organized M&A Due Diligence Process to Sell Your Company or Buy Another, VACO CPE Series, Raleigh, N.C., June 16, 2015
  • Presenter, Outside Counsel: The Life Cycle of a Company's Trade Secrets, DRI's Intellectual Property Litigation Seminar, Chicago, Ill., May 7-8, 2015 
  • Co-Presenter,  Building Better Bylaws, Smith Anderson's Executive Roundtable Series: Session II, Raleigh, N.C., May 5, 2015
  • Moderator, You will be Hacked (If you Haven't Already)..., Joint event presented by The Research Triangle Park, Durham Chamber of Commerce and Smith Anderson, RTP, N.C., January 21, 2015
  • Presenter, It’s 2014: You Will Be Hacked, Vaco CPE Seminar, Paragon Commercial Bank, Raleigh, N.C., September 24, 2014
  • Presenter, It's 2014: You Will be Hacked. Positioning Yourself Now, Responding When it Happens, Smith Anderson's Executive Roundtable Series: Session III, Research Triangle Park, N.C., June 25, 2014
  • Moderator, Protecting Proprietary Business Assets: Strategies to Safeguard Your Company, seminar at Vaco, Raleigh, N.C., October 2013
  • Moderator, Protecting Proprietary Business Assets: Strategies to Safeguard Your Company, seminar at The Umstead, Cary, N.C., June 2013
  • Co-Presenter, "Healthcare Heroes & Immunity: A Look at Healthcare Litigation," presented by NC Association for Defense Attorneys
    Speaking Engagement
  • Presenter, "H118: COVID-19 Civil Liability Protection for Businesses," NCACPA Webinar
    Speaking Engagement
  • Co-Presenter, "Legislative, NC Taxes and Covid-19 Liability Update," NCACPA Business & Industry Fall Virtual Conference
    Speaking Engagement
  • Moderator, “A Stronger Workforce: The Business Case for Second Chance Hiring,” hosted by the NC Chamber
    Speaking Engagement
  • Speaking Engagement
  • Co-Presenter, "COVID-19 Civil Immunity Protections for Businesses," NCEDA Live Webinar
    Speaking Engagement
  • Presenter, “Managing Independent School Liability in the COVID Era,” NCAIS Live Webinar
    Speaking Engagement
  • Co-Presenter, "COVID Liability Legislation Update," NC Chamber Live Webinar
    Speaking Engagement
  • Co-Presenter, "COVID-19 Civil Immunity Protections for Businesses," Live Webinar
    Speaking Engagement
  • Co-Presenter, "Open for Business During the Times of COVID-19: Key Considerations for North Carolina Businesses," Webinar hosted by NCEDA
    Speaking Engagement
  • Co-Presenter, "Open for Business During the Times of COVID-19: Is Your Company Prepared?" Webinar hosted by the NCBA
    Speaking Engagement
  • Presenter, "A Lie Can Travel Halfway Around the World, while the Truth is Still Putting on its Shoes," VACO CPE Series, Durham, N.C.
    Speaking Engagement
  • Co-Presenter, "A Lie Can Travel Halfway around the World, while the Truth is Still Putting on Its Shoes," Smith Anderson 27th Annual Employment Law Update, Cary, N.C.
    Speaking Engagement
  • Co-Speaker, "State Legislative Issues," ncaCPA's 2019 Members in Business & Industry Spring Conference, Greensboro, N.C.
    Speaking Engagement
  • Moderator, “New Business to NC: Supporting the Israeli-NC Pipeline,” Jewish Federation of Durham-Chapel Hill’s Ignite Talks Forum, Durham, N.C.
  • Co-Speaker, "Leveraging Your IP Assets to Maximize Enterprise Value," Vaco CPE Series, RTP, N.C.
  • Proximity Hotel | Greensboro, N.C.
  • Webinar
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