Michele A. Smith joined HDRB&B in 2008 and currently serves as the Pro Bono Coordinator at HDRB&B where she leads the development, maintenance and oversight of the firm’s pro bono representation. Prior to taking on this role, Michele was a Partner in HDRB&B’s Litigation and White-Collar Criminal Defense Departments representing both individual and corporate clients in complex business litigation in the federal and state courts in New York and New Jersey. Michele has successfully represented clients in a range of matters, including breach of contract claims, ERISA litigation, state and federal criminal actions and employment litigation.

Michele was also an independent director and board member of CM Seven Star, a publicly listed special purpose acquisition company, where she successfully served through the consummation of its business combination.

Following a clerkship for the Honorable Susan J. Dlott, U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Ohio, Michele also was selected to be the Albert M. Sacks Clinical Fellow at the Criminal Justice Institute at Harvard Law School. As a Sacks Fellow, Michele spent two years representing indigent adults and juveniles in criminal and delinquency proceedings in the Massachusetts courts, and also assisted the Criminal Justice Institute’s efforts to advocate for national and local reform of the criminal and juvenile justice systems. Prior to joining HDRB&B, Michele worked as an Associate at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP in New York City, at a boutique ERISA litigation firm in New Jersey, and as a Litigation Associate at Vorys, Sater, Seymour & Pease LLP, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Professional Affiliations

  • New Jersey Women Lawyers Association

Representative Experience

  • Part of appellate team appointed to represent defendant in murder conspiracy in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • Defended environmental services company in class action wage and hour claim and won motion to dismiss
  • Represented healthcare technology company in ERISA action and successfully defended motion to compel discovery beyond administrative record
  • Represented individuals in obtaining disability coverage under ERISA and individual policies
  • Pro bono representation of individuals in obtaining criminal expungements in New Jersey state court

Prior Experience

  • ERISA Associate, Bonny G. Rafel, LLC, 2006 – 2008
  • Litigation Associate, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP, 2002 – 2003
  • Albert M. Sacks Clinical Fellow at the Criminal Justice Institute at Harvard Law School, 2000-2002
  • Litigation Associate, Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP, 1999 – 2000
  • Hon. Susan J. Dlott, United States District Judge for the Southern District of Ohio
    • Clerk

Civic & Charitable Activities

  • Member of Columbia University Women’s Leadership Council

Education

  • Harvard Law School, J.D. cum laude, 1998
  • Columbia University, B.A. magna cum laude, 1993

Clerkship

  • Hon. Susan J. Dlott, United States District Judge for the Southern District of Ohio

Admissions

  • New Jersey, 2003
  • New York, 2003
  • U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, 2009
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, 2018