David C. Smith

607 14th Street, NW Suite 900, Washington, DC USA 20005

1001 West Fourth Street, Winston-Salem, NC USA 27101


David Smith is a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, LLP.  He has practiced law for over 30 years. During that time he has represented parties, including those working in the securities industry, in commercial litigation matters, including in major class actions around the country. He also has expertise in representing Tribes and individual Indians in matters involving trust mismanagement, treaty rights and protection of sacred sites. He serves as Class Counsel in the representation of approximately 500,000 Native Americans in Cobell v. Jewell, a class action against the United States arising out of the mismanagement of the individual Indian Trust. This resulted in a $3.4 billion settlement, the largest class action settlement against the federal government. He served as lead counsel in the case of Alabama v. PCI Gaming Authority, 801 F.3d 1278 (11th Cir. 2015), which successfully defended the Poarch Band of Creek Indians from efforts by the state to subject its tribal lands to state authority, and in July 2015, successfully obtained an order enjoining a tax assessor from assessing tribal lands. Poarch Band of Creek Indians v. Hildreth, 2015 WL 4469479 (S.D. Ala. July 22, 2015). He has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America® for Commercial Litigation for many years and is AV® rated by Martindale-Hubbell.*

Mr. Smith is also committed to providing pro bono services to those in need. He has represented parents in international child abduction cases, regularly provides services to the Children’s Law Centers in Washington, D.C., and North Carolina by serving as guardian ad litem for children involved in the court system, and represents indigent parties in civil litigation, often at the request of the federal district court. He received the award for "North Carolina Lawyer of the Year" from The Legal Aid Society of Northwest North Carolina for pro bono legal services provided to the community for the years 2001-2004. He also received the Kilpatrick Townsend Managing Partner’s Award for Pro Bono Legal Services for 2004 and 2015. In 2017, Mr. Smith received the D.C. Bar's "Laura N. Rinaldi Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year" Award.

Mr. Smith has been recognized as a 2015, 2016 and 2017 Washington, D.C. “Super Lawyer” in the area of Securities Litigation by Super Lawyers magazine.

*CV, BV, and AV are registered certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedure's standards and policies.


The firm served as lead counsel and represented an employee in an SEC investigation of insider trading.

Successfully defended one of the oldest and largest general building contractors in the Southeast, in an action brought by a manufacturing company alleging defective construction of an office facility. Liability was attributed to the architect rather than our client.

Represented a life insurance company in a lawsuit arising out of allegations that company improperly terminated the independent contractor agreements of three insurance agents. Successfully obtained dismissal of all claims.

Represented Winston-Salem State University Foundation in relation to the design, development and construction of a dormitory on the university campus.

Served as a lead counsel in the successful representation of a leading tobacco company in a multimillion dollar construction dispute with a nationwide roof membrane manufacturer.

Served as lead counsel in an arbitration representing the trustees of a charitable and benevolent association against a national brokerage firm based on improper trading in mutual funds. The matter settled favorably for our client.

Successfully defended a currency derivatives broker in class and individual actions in Texas, New York, California and Washington State alleging violation of RICO and securities laws arising out of the use of tax shelters.

Serves as lead counsel in the representation of an investment adviser in investigations by FINRA and the SEC.

Represented a major construction company arising out of allegations of defective construction of a dam for a public reservoir in the Southeast.

Obtained an award in excess of approximately $10,000,000 under the Military Claims Act.

Represented a securities broker in regulatory actions before the NASD (FINRA) and SEC alleging improper investments in variable annuities.

Serves as lead counsel in representing the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in actions by the State of Alabama to challenge the trust status of its lands. Motion to dismiss the State’s claim was allowed. Appeal is pending.

Served as lead counsel in representing investors against a national brokerage company and received a $1 million dollar award against the broker dealer arising from failure to use derivatives in the management of highly appreciated stock.

Served as lead counsel in the representation of a registered representative in investigation by FINRA related to allegations of selling away.

Kilpatrick Townsend currently represents enrolled members of the Comanche, Caddo, Apache, Cherokee, and Kiowa Tribes of Oklahoma, who own an allotment outside of Anadarko, Oklahoma, on which a natural gas pipeline was first constructed in 1980. The easement expired in 2000, yet the pipeline company continued to operate the pipeline for more than 16 years. After being turned away by several other firms, the landowners contacted Kilpatrick Townsend, which agreed to take on their case. After filing an action for trespass, the firm secured a succession of rulings in their favor – including Orders dismissing the natural gas company’s condemnation claims and rejecting arguments to limit the landowners’ damages. The firm’s legal team then filed a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment and for a Permanent Injunction, asking that the Court find that the natural gas company was in trespass and order it to remove the pipeline from the landowners’ property. Granting that motion, the Court found that “plaintiffs have objected to the renewal of the easement and defendants’ continued use of the pipeline from the time defendants first sought the renewal of the easement,” and that the natural gas company and its predecessor had failed to comply with any of the federal statutes under which they could have secured a valid easement. Therefore, the Court found that “defendants’ continuing trespass on plaintiffs’ property is clearly not unintentional,” granted summary judgment on liability in Plaintiffs’ favor, and entered the following permanent injunction: Defendants are hereby permanently enjoined from using the pipeline under the tract at issue in this case and are hereby required to remove said pipeline within six months of the date of this Order. Damages for the natural gas company’s trespass remain to be determined. Marcia W. Davilla, et al. v. Enable Midstream Partners, L.P., et al., No. 5:2015cv01262 (W.D. Okla. 2016).

Successfully represented a major mechanical and utility contractor arising out of claims of defective design and construction of mechanical and utility systems for a resort hotel in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Successfully represented limited partners in an individual and derivative action alleging violation of securities laws in the marketing, sale and management of an Exchange Fund, including the misuse of derivative investments.

Represented an investment adviser against a securities custodian and broker-dealer arising out of the theft of customer funds in an action alleging a violation of fiduciary duties under ERISA.

Represented Hanesbrands Inc. in negotiation of construction contracts in the Dominican Republic and El Salvador.

Successfully represented investors in an action against an investment advisor arising out of the embezzlement of funds from annuity accounts maintained by a securities broker.

Represented a major general contractor in connection with claims arising out of the installation of the water and sanitary sewer utilities in a multi-family development.

Served as lead counsel in representing a publicly traded bank and its Board in action alleging breach of fiduciary duty arising out of removal of an inside director. Successfully defended preliminary injunction hearing.

Represented one of the largest general contractors in the Southeast in an action against a governmental entity arising out of construction of a jail facility.

Served as class counsel for plaintiff class of 500,000 individual Indians against the Department of Interior and Treasury Department arising out of the government management of their trust lands and assets in a prolonged lawsuit culminating in a $3.4 billion settlement agreement. Served as lead counsel for numerous tribes suing the United States for mismanagement of tribal trust funds and natural resources.

Successfully defended North Carolina developers of a large shopping center in efforts by a business partner, a commodities hedge fund, to recover its investment under a guaranty agreement. A panel of arbitrators ruled in favor of our clients, holding that as the default was only of the hedge fund's guaranty due to its own misconduct, the contribution provisions of the parties' operating agreement were not implicated and no amount was recoverable from the other guarantors.


Wake Forest University School of Law, J.D. (1984) cum laude

Wake Forest University, B.A. (1981) cum laude


District of Columbia (2011)

Maryland (2011)

Maine (inactive) (1986)

North Carolina (1984)

Court Admissions

U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

U.S. Court of Federal Claims

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina

U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma

Eastern Band of the Cherokee Tribal Court

Professional & Community Activities

North Carolina Bar Association, Litigation Section, Member

Maryland Bar Association, Litigation Section, Member

Federal Bar Association, Capitol Hill Chapter, Section on Federal Indian Law, Member

American Bar Association, Section on Litigation Professional Responsibility, Member

Notre Dame Law School, Visiting Professor of the Practice (2013-Present)

Wake Forest University, Adjunct Professor of Law (2007-Present)

Washington and Lee University School of Law, Adjunct Professor of Law (2009-2010)

American Inns of Court, Barrister (1992-1995)

Legal Aid Society of Northwest North Carolina, Inc., Board of Directors (2005-2007)

Children's Law Center, Board of Directors (2006-2010)


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