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Thomas J. Smith

Thomas J. Smith has practiced at K&L Gates since 1987. He is the managing partner of the Pittsburgh office and the co-managing partner for the firm's U.S. offices.

Tom 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. Tom was lead counsel for a plaintiff hedge fund manager in a jury trial in New Jersey state court in which his 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. The verdict was upheld by the New Jersey Supreme Court in November 2019, and the judgment has been paid by the defendant.

Tom'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. Tom'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.

Tom 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 is the co-practice group coordinator. The e-DAT Group was one of the first e-discovery practice groups established at a major law firm.

Tom is also a founding faculty member of the firm’s mini-MBA program, an innovative professional development training program designed to orient associates to key business concepts that are integral to our clients’ business success.

  • Named as Pittsburgh Business Times 2022 Power 100
  • President of the Board for the Christian Legal Aid Clinic of Pittsburgh
  • Adjunct Professor (former), e-Discovery and Civil Litigation, Duquesne University
  • Federal Bar Association
  • Allegheny County Bar Association
  • Federal Bar Association
  • Pennsylvania Bar Association
  • Former Commissioner, Pine Township Planning Commission
  • Former Council Member, Allegheny County Bar Association Environmental Law Section
Additional Thought Leadership Pages
  • eDiscovery, Spoliation of Evidence: The Duty to Preserve Records Relevant to Litigation, PBI Press, Fourth Edition, 2017
  • Co-Author, “eDiscovery,” book published by PBI Press, updated edition 2017
  • 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
  • K&L Gates Alert: “Electronic Discovery Law - Must Parent and Attachment Files Be Kept Together?” 9 February 2012
Additional News & Event Pages
  • "The 2022 Law Power 100," City & State Pennsylvania, 27 June 2022.
  • “Save the date: [Firm] says when return to office is set for U.S. locations,” Pittsburgh Business Times, 7 February 2022
  • “POWER PLAYERS: Meet 100 business leaders who made a big impact in 2021,” Pittsburgh Business Times, 3 February 2022
  • “Pa. Law Leaders Still Eyeing COVID Protocol As 2022 Begins,” Law360, 4 January 2022
  • "Personalities of Pittsburgh: K&L Gates' Thomas Smith, Charting a Course Beyond COVID," Pittsburgh Business Times, 27 December 2021
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