Robert Smith: Attorney, Partner
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Robert J. Smith


Partner
P 315-422-1152    |    F 315-422-1139    |    Send Email
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Mr. Smith joined Costello, Cooney & Fearon in 1983 and has been a partner with the firm since 1988. Prior to joining the firm, he was a full-time professor of law at South Texas College of Law in Houston, Texas, where he is also licensed to practice law. He concentrates in the area of civil trial law with an emphasis on complex commercial litigation, insurance law, construction law, product liability and professional liability, particularly architects, engineers and owners within the construction setting. He was the chairperson of the firm's litigation department from 1991 to 2007. In January of 2008, he was elected the chief executive officer of the firm and continues in that position today. 

 

He has successfully tried over 50 cases to jury verdict in both state and federal courts involving multiple catastrophic injury and wrongful death claims. In the commercial context, he has successfully tried multi-million dollar claims ranging from construction delay claims to tenant tax allocation disputes. He is increasingly called upon to represent clients or act as an arbitrator or mediator in arbitration or mediation proceedings and to represent parties in disputes surrounding the management, ownership and control of closely-held business entities. He has substantial experience representing governmental entities and individuals, including legislatures and judges. Additionally, he has developed an expertise in the negotiation of leases, financing transactions and municipal agreements for several New York-based real estate developers. 

 

Mr. Smith has lectured and written extensively on various issues involving civil trial law. Among the copyrighted articles he has published are A Practical Guide to Motions in Limine, Subsequent Remedial Measures in Federal Product Liability Actions, A Practitioner's Guide to Magistrate-Judges in Federal Court, Bad Faith Claims in New York, Practical Evidentiary Considerations in Crashworthiness Cases, and New York Insurance Litigation Update. He is also a co-author of the New York Paralegals Handbook. His numerous lectures have included presentations before the American Bar Association's annual convention, the International Association of Defense Counsel's annual meeting and across New York State for various organizations including the New York State Bar Association. He has been retained by the New York State Office of Court Administration to teach trial evidence to newly elected local judges.

 

Mr. Smith is a 1979 cum laude undergraduate of State University of New York at Brockport; he received his law degree with honors from South Texas College of Law in 1982.

 

Mr. Smith is admitted to practice before all New York State courts and the Federal Court for the Northern and Western Districts of New York. He is also admitted to and has argued before the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals on several occasions. Mr. Smith is a member of the Onondaga County, New York, Texas and American Bar Associations and the Defense Research Institute. In September 2002, he was inducted as a Fellow into the American College of Trial Lawyers, and in 2004 he was admitted to the American Board of Trial Advocates. In 2005, he was selected to be a member in the International Association of Defense Counsel. From 2006 to 2015, Mr. Smith was voted by his peers for inclusion in "Best Lawyers in America" in the area of products liability and was more recently selected as "Lawyer of the Year" by Best Lawyers in the area of professional liability defense. He has also been named to the 2008-2015 editions of the New York Super Lawyers. In 2015 he was appointed to serve as a member of the Advisory Committee on Civil Practice. The advisory committee issues annual reports containing legislative proposals to amend the CPLR and judiciary law and also addresses other civil practice statutes and legal issues involving practice and procedure in New York’s civil courts of superior jurisdiction.

 

Practice Areas

Education

South Texas College of Law, J.D., 1982

State University of New York at Brockport, cum laude, 1979

Admissions

New York

Texas

U.S. District Court, Northern and Western Districts

U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals

Speaking / Publications / Awards

New York State Bar Association, 2014, Advanced Insurance Coverage

New York State Bar Association, 2012, Advanced Insurance Coverage

New York State Bar Association, 2010, 2010 Insurance Coverage Update

International Association of Defense Counsel Annual Meeting in Colorado, 2009, Update on Commercial Litigation

New York State Bar Association, 2009, Additional Insured Coverage: Hot Topics and Critical Issues

New York State Bar Association, 2008, P/S- Basic Tort & Insurance Law Practice

New York State Bar Association, 2008, Can the Commercial General Liability Policy Survive?

New York State Bar Association, 2006, Update on Trucking Litigation and Claims

New York State Bar Association, 2006, P/S- Basic Tort & Insurance Law Practice

New York State Bar Association, 2004, Commercial Lines Insurance Coverage

New York State Bar Association, 2003, Insurance Coverage Issues: With a Focus on Personal Lines

New York State Bar Association, 2002, A Primer on Automobile Litigation

New York State Bar Association, 1998, Premises Liability

New York State Bar Association, 1997, Insurance Coverage Issues and Applications

New York State Bar Association, 1997, Practical Skills: How to Commence a Civil Lawsuit

New York State Bar Association, 1995, Practical Skills: How to Commence a Civil Litigation

American Bar Association National Convention in San Francisco, 1992, Use of Demonstrative Evidence

 

Copyrighted A Practical Guide to Motions in Limine

Copyrighted Subsequent Remedial Measures in Federal Product Liability Actions

Copyrighted A Practitioner's Guide to Magistrate-Judges in Federal Court

Copyrighted Bad Faith Claims in New York

Copyrighted Practical Evidentiary Considerations in Crashworthiness Cases

Copyrighted New York Insurance Litigation Update.

Lectures before American Bar Associations annual conventions, International Association of Defense Counsel's meetings, New York Bar Association meetings

Asked to teach trial evidence to newly elected local judges by New York State Office of Court Administration

 

New York Super Lawyers, 2008-2014 in the area of commercial/business litigation

Onondaga County Bar Associations Distinguished Pro Bono Service Award, 2006

International Association of Defense Counsel, inducted 2005-present

American Board of Trial Advocates, inducted 2004

American College of Trial Lawyers Fellow, 2002- present

"Best Lawyers in America" voted by peers in the area of products liability

"Lawyer of the Year" by Best Lawyers in the area of professional liability defense

Co-Chairperson of the 5th Judicial District Pro Bono Committee

Co-Author of New York Paralegals Handbook

Memberships

Onondaga County Bar Association

New York Bar Association

Texas Bar Association

American Bar Association

Defense Research Institute

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