Email: Charles J. Smith ›
Charles J. Smith began his career with the San Mateo County District Attorney’s office in 1978. In 1980 he was elevated to the Major Crimes Unit where he tried 15 homicides. He then practiced insurance defense as an Associate with Ropers, Majeski, Kohn, Bentley, Wagner and Kane, where he tried and won five civil jury trials in a fourteen month period. Mr. Smith began his own practice in 1991.
Charles J. Smith has been one of the leading trial lawyers in the San Francisco Bay Area since the late 1970’s to present. Mr. Smith began his career with the San Mateo County District Attorney’s office in 1978. In 1980 he was elevated to the Major Crimes Unit where he tried 15 homicides. He then practiced insurance defense as an Associate with Ropers, Majeski, Kohn, Bentley, Wagner and Kane, where he tried and won five civil jury trials in a fourteen month period. Mr. Smith began his own practice in 1991. He tries from five to ten cases a year in both the civil and criminal courts of this state. Mr. Smith has tried jury trials from Crescent City in Del Norte County in the north to Indio in San Bernardino County in the south achieving victory after victory on behalf of his clients. Mr. Smith has tried cases as varied as the defense of Silicon Valley venture capitalists being sued for $20,000,000 on a fraud claim to defending a former U.S. Army Captain who was acquitted of mandatory prison charges based on a PTSD defense. Mr. Smith enjoys the variety of cases that he has taken to trial. As in the British system of solicitors and barristers, Mr. Smith believes that a trial lawyer should be able to try any dispute where a question of credibility exists. His qualities of hard work, thorough preparation, intense energy and devotion to his client’s cause are the hallmark of his trial practice.
Mr. Smith was elected to the American Board of Trial Advocates in 1992. Over the course of his career, he has tried over 300 jury trials to verdict. In 2003 alone, he tried 14 jury trials to verdict-seven civil trials and seven criminal trials-more than any other private lawyer in the state of California.
In 2009, the 32nd year of his practice Mr. Smith tried six cases to verdict including the successful defense of a local community college against an employment claim in Monterey County and obtaining an acquittal for a fellow lawyer who was charged with felony assault over an alleged ‘road rage’ incident in San Mateo County.
In 2015, Mr. Smith’s 40th year of practice, he has tried ten cases. Seven of these went to either jury verdict or court decision. Among the most notable, Mr. Smith successfully defended a high-level engineer at Apple Computer who was charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in the Santa Clara County Superior Court. He was acquitted. In a trial in May 2015 before Hon. Barbara Mallach in Redwood City, Mr. Smith obtained a decision for a gasoline wholesaler against a service station owner which included every dollar of damages and every dollar of attorney’s fees.
Between August 3, 2015 and December 16, 2015, Mr. Smith commenced seven jury trials, four of which went to verdict. Four of these cases were criminal and three civil. Like a baseball pitcher who stays sharp and focused by starting every four days, Mr. Smith likewise believes that regularly trying cases at the pace of approximately once per month hones his skills and keeps him at the top of his game.
Mr. Smith has been invited to provide his expert legal commentary for both the Bay Area and national press. He has appeared as a legal analyst on CNN, CBS, Larry King Live, and Good Morning America. Mr. Smith speaks to lawyers groups on trial practice and volunteers his time to the local high school community as a teacher/coach in the statewide Mock Trial Program.
Mr. Smith has received an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell, the national directory of lawyers. This is the highest possible rating attainable and indicates preeminent legal ability and the utmost ethical standards.