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O. Nicole Smith, 30

O. Nicole SmithAssociate, Langdon & Emison

Location: Lexington

Practice Areas: Products liability, personal injury

Law School: University of Kansas

Inspired at age 11 to pursue a legal career after acting out a trial of the Lindbergh baby kidnapping in school, Nicole Smith now pursues justice in mass torts, product liability and catastrophic personal injury cases.

“Her organizational skills have led the firm to give her leadership positions that would normally go to a more experienced attorney,” one of her nominators wrote. “From establishing case criteria to ensuring deadlines are met to handling mediations, Nicole is able to take a case from start to finish.”

The first in her family to graduate from college, Smith clerked for Missouri Court of Appeals Judge Ted Ardini before joining Langdon & Emison, where she has earned praise for her work in multidistrict litigation. She is an active member of Women En Mass, a group of female attorneys involved in such cases, and a graduate of the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association’s Bar Leadership Academy.

What advice do you have for young lawyers?

Take initiative. Instead of simply completing projects that are assigned to you, think ahead about the trajectory of the case and how that affects what you are working on, as well as other projects that will need to be done.

What is something that would surprise people about you?

I was also a group fitness instructor for a short stint a few years into my career as an attorney.

What is your biggest accomplishment this year?

Assisting our team with successfully obtaining remand orders for two cases more than a year after they were removed to federal court. In the meantime, the cases had been transferred to an MDL, where summary judgment had been entered in favor of the defendant.