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Robert J. Smith - Partner

Robert J. Smith

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Robert J. Smith joined Costello, Cooney & Fearon, PLLC, in 1983 and has been a partner with the Firm since 1988.

Bob concentrates in the area of civil trial law with an emphasis on product liability, complex commercial litigation, insurance law, construction law and professional liability, particularly architects, engineers and owners within the construction setting.

Bob has successfully tried over 75 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, and is increasingly called upon to represent clients or act as an arbitrator or mediator in arbitration or mediation proceedings. He also represents parties in disputes surrounding the management, ownership and control of closely-held business entities, including the litigation and settlement of dissolution and accounting actions between owners, shareholders and members. Additionally, he has developed an expertise in the negotiation of leases, financing transactions and municipal agreements for several New York-based real estate developers.

Bob was the chairperson of the Firm’s Litigation practice group from 1991 to 2007. He served as Chief Executive Officer of the Firm from 2007 to 2022. He has been retained by the New York State Office of Court Administration to teach trial evidence to newly elected local judges. 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.


South Texas College of Law Houston
State University of New York at Brockport
cum laude


New York
United States District Court for the Northern District of New York
United States District Court for the Western District of New York
United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Speaking Engagements & Publications

New York State Bar Association
Additional Insured Coverage: Hot Topics and Critical Issues
Advanced Insurance Coverage
Basic Tort & Insurance Law Practice
Can the Commercial General Liability Policy Survive?
Commercial Lines Insurance Coverage
Insurance Coverage Issues and Application
Insurance Coverage Issues: With a Focus on Personal Lines
Insurance Coverage Update
Practical Skills: How to Commence a Civil Lawsuit
Premises Liability
A Primer on Automobile Litigation
American Bar Association, National Convention in San Francisco
Use of Demonstrative Evidence
New York Paralegals Handbook
Chapter Author
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
New York Insurance Litigation Update
International Association of Defense Counsel
Various Topics

Professional Organizations & Community Involvement

5th Judicial District Pro Bono Committee
Board Member
American Board of Trial Advocates
Defense Research Institute
International Association of Defense Counsel
Advisory Committee On Civil Practice
American College of Trial Lawyers


Onondaga County Bar Association
New York Bar Association
Texas Bar Association
American Bar Association


Best Lawyers®
Best Lawyers in America®
Best Lawyers®
"Lawyer of the Year" for Product Liability Litigation - Defendants in Syracuse
Best Lawyers®
"Lawyer of the Year" for Products Liability Defense and Professional Liability Defense in Syracuse
Super Lawyers®
Personal injury - products, Business litigation
Onondaga County Bar Association
Distinguished Pro Bono Service Award

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