Brian J. Smith is a senior associate in the Chicago office and a member of the firm's Antitrust, Competition, and Trade Regulation practice group. He focuses his practice on complex civil and criminal litigation, government enforcement, and white collar criminal defense, particularly in the areas of antitrust, cartel, and trade regulation.
Brian defends clients in federal and state courts, principally in matters involving the Department of Justice and federal antitrust class actions, against allegations of price-fixing, market allocation, bid-rigging, and customer allocation. He also has experience in conducting internal investigations for major domestic and international corporations in response to Department of Justice and state attorneys general investigations and grand jury subpoenas premised on the same conduct. Brian also counsels clients in the development of corporate antitrust compliance programs, and conducts antitrust compliance trainings for corporate executives and employees.
Brian serves as vice-chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) Antitrust Section's Civil Practice & Procedure Committee.
Brian's pro bono experience includes representing minors in guardian ad litem proceedings and petitioners before the Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission; drafting legal white papers on foreign evidentiary laws to aid a nonprofit's lobbying against human trafficking; representing a foreign national in an immigration appeal before the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals; representing individuals as part of the firm's Cyber Civil Rights Project; serving as amicus curiae in a criminal appeal before the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals; and serving as court-appointed plaintiff’s counsel for prisoner § 1983 cases in the Southern District of Illinois.
Brian is included on the Illinois Rising Stars list for Antitrust Litigation. The firm's Antitrust, Competition, and Trade Regulation practice group has been top ranked by Chambers USA for Antitrust in Illinois (2022), by U.S. News - Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” First-Tier Antitrust Law (2017-2022) and as the “Cartel & Trade Regulation Law Firm of the Year in Illinois” by the international review and assessment programs of both Corporate INTL Magazine and Global Law Experts (2016).
Brian was a summer associate at K&L Gates in 2014. While attending Northwestern University School of Law, he served as a judicial extern for the Honorable Ann C. Williams of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and as a legal extern for the United States Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Illinois. At Northwestern Law, Brian was an Articles Editor on the Executive Board of the Northwestern University Law Review, and was a senior law student in the Supreme Court Clinic, for which he drafted certiorari petitions and merits briefs submitted to the United States Supreme Court. Also during law school, Brian clerked for a Chicago-based litigation boutique and interned at a legal aid non-profit, Lawyers for the Creative Arts.
Prior to attending law school, Brian taught English literature and composition at a secondary school in New England.
- Listed in the Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch® in America for Antitrust Law (2024)
- Selected to Illinois Rising Stars list for Antitrust Litigation (2021-2023)
- Raoul Berger Prize (awarded for best senior research paper of graduating class), Northwestern Law
- Senior Research Honors, Northwestern Law
- Public Service Award, Northwestern Law
- CALI Awards (Legal Writing) (Patents)
- American Bar Association (Antitrust Section) – Vice Chair of Civil Practice & Procedure Committee
- Federal Bar Association
- Maine State Bar Association
- Chicago Volunteer Legal Services
- Hemingway Society
- “Discovery Nuts and Bolts: Structured Data,” Antitrust Section – Civil Practice & Procedure Committee, American Bar Association, June 2021 (panelist)
- “Antitrust Division's Leniency Program: Basic Framework and Questioned Efficacy,” Antitrust Section, Chicago Bar Association, May 2021 (co-presenter)
- “Department of Justice Update,” 2021 Corporate Counsel Section Annual CLE, North Carolina Bar Association, January 2021
- “Navigating Parallel Proceeding Concerns In Complex Antitrust Multidistrict Litigation,” 2020 White Collar Practice Virtual Conference, Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, November 2020 (co-presenter)
- Panelist, “An Investigation of Modern Love,” The Durrell School, Corfu, Greece
- Guest Lecturer, “Hemingway’s First Thirty Years,” Dartmouth College
- Co-author, “Chapter 7 – Ninth Circuit: Apple Case Leads to Additional Clarity on Section 1 Claims,” GCR US Courts Annual Review (4th ed.), 2023
- Contributing editor, “Chapter 10 – Criminal Antitrust Enforcement,” ABA SECTION OF ANTITRUST LAW, ANTITRUST LAW DEVELOPMENTS (9th ed.), 2022
- Contributing editor, “Chapter 9 – Private Antitrust Suits,” ABA SECTION OF ANTITRUST LAW, ANTITRUST LAW DEVELOPMENTS (9th ed.), 2022
- Contributing editor, “Health Care Institutions - §§ Private Antitrust Litigation and Government Antitrust Litigation,” Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts (Thomson Reuters), 2022
- “Pre-Discovery Rule 12 Motions to Strike: Testing Antitrust Class Allegations at the Pleading Stage,” Perspectives in Antitrust, 21 August 2020
- Co-author, “U.S. Courts Annual Review, Ninth Circuit,” Global Competition Review, 2020-2022
- "Mitigating Antitrust Risks With DOJ-FTC Pandemic Guidance," Law360, 31 March 2020
- Quoted, “Pierre Cardin, Licensee May Have Breached Competition Law, Says EU Regulator,” The Fashion Law, 31 July 2023
- Mentioned, “T-Mobile Drops Bid To Pause Private Merger Suit,” Law360, 13 December 2022
- Mentioned, “CALIFORNIA: Parties Seek to Modify Sealing Procedures,” Class Action Prospector, 16 January 2023
- Mentioned, "DOJ Drops Criminal Price-Fixing Case Against Chicken Cos.," Law360, 15 September 2022