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Thomas J. Smith

Managing Partner, Pittsburgh Office
Fax +1.412.355.6501
Mr. Smith has practiced at K&L Gates for 30 years, since 1987, and heads the Pittsburgh office as its Managing Partner. The Pittsburgh office is the firm’s largest office, with approximately 180 lawyers.

Mr. Smith is a trial lawyer, who has litigated a wide variety of commercial matters, and has been lead counsel in jury trials, bench trials, and international arbitrations, including environmental, insurance coverage, breach of contract, and other commercial disputes. He is a member of the firm’s Trial Lawyer Academy. Mr. Smith was lead counsel for a plaintiff hedge fund manager in a September 2016 jury trial in New Jersey state court in which Mr. Smith’s client obtained a jury verdict for defamation in the amount of $40.4 million. The verdict is listed as the 45th-highest in the National Law Journal’s Top 100 Verdicts of 2016.

Mr. Smith’s other significant successes in jury trials include a Clean Water Act enforcement action brought by the U.S. DOJ against a steel industry client and a bad faith verdict obtained against an insurer in an environmental insurance coverage case, both federal court cases. He obtained a successful resolution for a U.S. university in an international arbitration against a Chinese company in which Chinese law was at issue. Mr. Smith’s litigation and trial experience extends to numerous jurisdictions, including California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin, as well as in Canada.

Mr. Smith recognized very early the impact that the proliferation of electronically stored information (“ESI”) would have on litigation discovery and trials, and founded in 2004 the firm’s e-Discovery Analysis and Technology (“e-DAT”) Group, for which he in the Co-Chair. The e-DAT Group was one of the first e-discovery practice groups established at a major law firm. He has counselled clients for more than a decade on a broad range of ESI issues, has spoken at national and regional e-discovery conferences, and has published many articles and newsletters on ESI issues (see below). He is a contributing author in the PBI Press book entitled “eDiscovery,” published most recently in 2016. He is a charter member of the E-Discovery Special Master panel for the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, and is a former member of Working Group 1 of The Sedona Conference, a leading e-discovery think tank. Mr. Smith has served as an adjunct professor for a post-graduate course on e-discovery at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.

Professional/Civic Activities

  • Named as “Acritas Star” in Sharplegal Survey
  • Adjunct Professor(former), e-Discovery and Civil Litigation, Duquesne University
  • The Sedona Conference Working Group 1, Member (2010-2016)
  • Allegheny County Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Federal Bar Association
  • Pennsylvania Bar Association
  • Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association
  • Western Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association
  • Former Commissioner, Pine Township Planning Commission
  • Former Council Member, Allegheny County Bar Association Environmental Law Section
  • Lawyer Coach, Pennsylvania High School Mock Trial Competition, 2006 to 2015
  • President of the Board and Volunteer for the Christian Legal Aid Clinic

Speaking Engagements

Selected Records and E-Discovery Presentations and Publications
  • Editor, Electronic Discovery Website (www.ediscoverylaw.com)
  • Co-Author, “eDiscovery,” book published by PBI Press, updated edition 2017
  • Federal Rule Changes Affect e-Discovery - Are You Ready This Time?, December 3, 2015
  • Pittsburgh Friends of eDiscovery Meeting, Panelist Regarding FRCP Amendments, June 18, 2015
  • eDiscovery Symposium Judicial Roundtable, Moderator and Panelist, April 17, 2015
  • “The FBA E-Discovery Series,” Federal Bar Association, Panelist with W.D. Pa. Federal Judges, November 20, 2014
  • eDiscovery Symposium Judicial Roundtable, Moderator and Panelist, April 2014
  • “Get Ready for E-Discovery,” The Center for Association Leadership, October 21, 2013
  • K&L Gates Alert: “Will the Federal e-Discovery Rules Change Again? A report on the proposed changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,” August 2013
  • "Everything You Should Know About E-Discovery That's Wrong," Panelist, Adam Smith, Esq. Webinar, September 12, 2012
  • K&L Gates Alert: “Electronic Discovery - Must Parent and Attachment Files Be Kept Together?”, February 9, 2012
  • Cyber Threats, Forensics Investigation and Electronic Discovery, Moderator, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, September 13, 2011
  • “Friends of E-Discovery” Meeting, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Moderator, September 7, 2011
  • “Electronic Discovery: What Every Lawyer Should Know,” presented to the Virgin Islands Bar Association on June 18, 2010 in St. Croix, Virgin Islands
  • “E-Discovery: Strategies, Trends and Best Practices,” Webinar for Ethisphere presented on June 10, 2010 
  •  Thirteenth Annual EDRR Conference presented on October 7-8, 2009 in New York, New York
  • “E-Discovery and Records Management Workshop,” CLE presented on September 17, 2009 in Moline, IL
  • “What Every In-House Attorney Needs to Know About Records Management,” September 2, 2009, Podcast presented with JurInnov Ltd.
  • “E-Discovery 101 Seminar,” CLE presented on July 29, 2009 in Chicago, IL
  • “E-Discovery” Seminar by the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Presentation entitled “E-Discovery Explorers,” December 9, 2008, in Pittsburgh, PA
  • “Judicial Views on the Use of E-Discovery Experts at the Rule 16 and Rule 26(f) Conferences and Court-Appointed Special Masters,” panelist at the Federal Bar Association E-Discovery Series, December 3, 2008, in Pittsburgh, PA
  • “Advanced E-Discovery Issues,” presented at T-BoLT (The Best of Legal Technology) Conference, November 11, 2008 in Pittsburgh, PA
  • Berman & Company Legal Council Presentation on E-Discovery, October 3, 2008, Washington, D.C.
  • K&L Gates Alert: “E-Discovery and the EHB,” October 2008
  • “Scenes from an e-Discovery Case,” presented with Integrator of New Systems, July 30, 2008 in Pittsburgh, PA
  • “E-Discovery: An A to Z Workshop,” Faculty Panelist, June 24-25, 2008 in Cleveland, OH
  • "Now Watch the Lawyers Blitz," Legal Times, March 3, 2008.
  • “E-Discovery and Recent Development, Challenges, and Solutions,” CLE Presentation, February 14, 2008 in Dallas, TX, February 5, 2008 in Cleveland, OH and January 31, 2008 in Detroit, MI
  • "Creating a Strong Foundation for Your Company's Records Management Practices," ACC Docket, November 2007
  • "Electronic Records Management: New Obligations, New Tools," Community Banker, June 2007
  • K&L Gates Alert: “E-Discovery Sanctions: A Continuing Trend,” April 2007
  • “E-Discovery and Records Management CLE Course,” presented on January 31, 2007 in Seattle, WA
  • “E-Discovery Ethics CLE Course,” presented on November 23, 2006 in Pittsburgh, PA
  • “Scenes from an E-Discovery Case,” presented for the Directors' Roundtable and the Association of Corporate Counsel on November 3, 2006 in New York City
  • “E-Discovery: The New Rules, and the Impact on Your Practice,” presented for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute on October 26, 2006 in Pittsburgh, PA
  • “Scenes from an E-Discovery Case,” presented for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute on August 29, 2006 in Philadelphia, PA
  • “Scenes from an E-Discovery Case,” presented for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute on August 23, 2006 in Pittsburgh, PA
  • “The New E-Discovery Rules: What Lawyers Need to Know,” presented as a national webinar for Strafford Publications on June 28, 2006
  • “The New Federal Rules of Civil Procedure: What Records Managers Need to Know,” presented to Greater Washington, D.C. Association of Records Managers of America (“ARMA”) on April 19, 2005 in Washington, D.C.
  • Numerous in-house e-discovery educational and training presentations for Fortune 500 companies
  • “E-Discovery Perils: The AutoArchive Function - Not Gone, But Forgotten,” published in the Privacy & Data Security Law Journal, September 2006
  • K&LNG Alert: “For How Long Must Your Records Be Retained?” March 2006
  • K&LNG Alert: “Preparing for E-Discovery - Top 10 Rules,” March 2004