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Robert J. Smith - Partner, Chief Executive Officer

Robert J. Smith

Partner, Chief Executive Officer
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Robert J. Smith joined Costello, Cooney & Fearon, PLLC, in 1983 and has been a partner with the Firm since 1988. He was the chairperson of the Firm’s Litigation practice group from 1991 to 2007. In 2007, he was elected the Chief Executive Officer of the Firm and continues in that position today.

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 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.

Education


South Texas College of Law Houston
1982
State University of New York at Brockport
cum laude
1979

Admissions


New York
Texas
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
Member
Defense Research Institute
Member
International Association of Defense Counsel
Member
Advisory Committee On Civil Practice
Member
2015
American College of Trial Lawyers
Fellow
2002–Present

Memberships


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

Awards


Best Lawyers
"Lawyer of the Year" for Products Liability Defense and Professional Liability Defense in Syracuse
2007-2021
Super Lawyers®
2007-2021
Onondaga County Bar Association
Distinguished Pro Bono Service Award
2006