Jason Smith has become a leader in the Springfield legal community and the community at large.
The WashU Law graduate has practiced in the city since earning his law degree in 2005. He joined Spencer Fane when the firm opened its office there in 2014. Two years ago, he was named managing partner for the office, which now has 17 attorneys.
This fall, the Springfield Business Journal named him a Trusted Adviser, an honor given to 20 businesspeople — including only a few lawyers — for his timely and sound counsel to the business community.
Smith’s clients range from individuals to Fortune 500 companies. He has defended class action cases for clients such as retailers, banks and universities. His litigation practice has encompassed complex contract and tort claims in health care, retail, construction, banking, manufacturing and higher education.
In 2021, he and Chandler Gregg of Strong-Garner-Bauer reached a top-five settlement of the year, according to the Missouri Lawyers Media database, when they secured $16 million for a woman injured when a tanker truck T-boned a pickup truck.
Smith served on the board of directors of Lost & Found Grief Center, which offers support to people grieving the loss of a lost one, at no cost to the bereaved.
When did you decide to become an attorney and why?
I was in college when I decided to become an attorney. I’ve always been a competitive person. I was a competitive athlete, and when I was in college, I could see my competitive athletic career coming to an end. So, I wanted to pursue a career that would give me a chance to continue competing.
What advice do you have for young lawyers?
There are going to be so many ups and downs in your career, and you have to learn to roll with the punches. Never let one bad case, one bad result or one bad day derail you.
What is the best career advice you have received?
This actually came from a client, and it came right after we had unsuccessfully tried a case and received a bad outcome. If you get in the ring, sometimes you’re going to get hit and knocked out, but you have to get back up. Again, this was right on the heels of a significant loss, but that’s always stood out to me. I would paraphrase that as — in this career, you’re going have ups and downs; you’re going to have wins and losses; you have to be resilient, and you have to be able to take the down times and keep going.
What is your favorite thing to do away from work?
I’m an avid hiker and I like to do hard and long hikes. Just three weeks ago I hiked to the summit of Mount Whitney, which is the highest point in the continental United States.
What is your biggest accomplishment this year?
I’ve had two significant trials this year focusing on commercial business disputes. In one of those, I was able to get a multi-million-dollar award in favor of my client. In the other, I was able to help save my client millions of dollars. While trials are becoming less and less frequent, it is still both exciting and gratifying to take a case all the way to trial as our system contemplates.