D. Todd Smith

D. Todd

Smith

Overview

D. Todd Smith has devoted his career to appellate practice, starting with a two-year judicial clerkship at the Texas Supreme Court. Todd has extensive experience representing clients as lead appellate counsel across Texas and in the Fifth Circuit, but his practice isn’t limited to writing appellate briefs and presenting oral arguments. Todd spends much of his time helping position cases for success at trial and on appeal through strategic analysis and briefing, by handling critical legal issues in trial courts, and by serving as embedded appellate counsel on trial teams.

About

After law school, Todd served as a briefing attorney to Texas Supreme Court Justice Raul A. Gonzalez, then practiced in the litigation and appellate groups at a large international firm. From there, Todd launched his own successful appellate boutique, where he remained until he joined Butler Snow.

Todd represents individuals and entities on both sides of the docket, largely in commercial, real estate, and injury cases. He has developed expertise in jury charges, attorney fees, punitive damages, and supersedeas issues. Todd has been certified as a specialist in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 2005 and has been included on Thomson Reuters' Texas Super Lawyers® list for ten straight years.

Todd has a long history of volunteer service to the bar and related organizations. He currently represents Austin lawyers on the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors, which oversees the state's 110,000-member mandatory bar association. He is also a trustee of the Texas Supreme Court Historical Society and member of the Judicial Committee on Information Technology, which the legislature created to develop standards and guidelines for implementing technology in Texas courts. Todd previously served as president of the Austin Bar Association and as chair of the Austin Bar Foundation.

Todd is a regular author and speaker on appellate-related topics. Aside from frequent appearances at continuing education programs, he is the creator, producer, and co-host of the Texas Appellate Law Podcast, a popular program that demystifies appellate law and pulls back the curtain on the appellate system through conversations with judges, court staff, and top trial and appellate practitioners.

Experience

  • Obtained reversal of a final judgment awarding exemplary damages following oral argument in the Texas Supreme Court. On remand, the original $2 million award was remitted to $64,218.
  • Procured reversal of an uncapped punitive-damages award in a fraud case after oral argument in the Texas Supreme Court.
  • Secured mandamus relief in the Texas Supreme Court from a discovery order compelling client to turn over computer hard drives for forensic examination.
  • Persuaded the Fifth Circuit, after oral argument, to narrowly construe a permanent injunction against a former oilfield services company employee accused of violating an intellectual property agreement.
  • After oral argument in the Fifth Circuit, retained a judgment for mental-anguish damages and attorney fees in a professor’s statutory retaliation case against a state medical school.
  • Obtained reversal of a trial court’s final judgment refusing to enforce restrictive covenants and remand with instructions to award statutory attorney fees to clients as prevailing parties.
  • Obtained reversal of trial court’s failure to compel arbitration in a construction dispute.
  • Successfully defended a significant money judgment in an oilfield-injury case, including denial of the operator’s petition for review.
  • Successfully defended a significant money judgment in a workplace-electrocution case, including denial of the electrical contractor’s petition for review.
  • Secured a favorable appellate decision affirming the trial court’s rejection of appellants’ attempt to supersede a final money judgment by affidavits of negative net worth rather than a supersedeas bond, cash deposit, or similar security.
  • Provided appellate support during bench trial involving claims seeking $5 million in damages for usury and defamation. The trial court rendered a take-nothing judgment on these claims, instead awarding six figures in damages and attorney fees on the client's counterclaim for breach of contract.
  • Persuaded a Travis County district judge to grant a new trial after signing a final judgment awarding more than $1 million to the opposing party.

Distinctions

  • Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law
  • Thomson Reuters Super Lawyers®
    • Texas Super Lawyer, Appellate, 2013-2022
  • Benchmark Litigation
    • Litigation Star, Appellate Law, 2014-2015
    • Fifth Circuit Litigation Star, 2013
  • Life Fellow, Texas Bar Foundation
  • Life Fellow, Austin Bar Foundation
  • Fellow, Texas Bar College

Bar Admissions

  • Texas, 1996
  • U.S. District Courts
    • Texas: Northern, Southern, Eastern, Western
  • U.S. Court of Appeals
    • 5th Circuit
    • 7th Circuit
    • 10th Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Education

  • St. Mary's University School of Law, J.D., cum laude, 1995
    • Editor in Chief, St. Mary’s Law Journal
    • Internship, Honorable Emilio M. Garza, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
    • Phi Delta Phi Honor Fraternity
    • John M. Harlan Society
    • American Jurisprudence Award, Texas Civil Procedure
  • Texas Tech University, M.P.A., 1992
    • Pi Alpha Alpha Honor Society
  • Texas Christian University, B.S., Criminal Justice, 1989
    • Alpha Kappa Delta Honor Society
    • Alpha Phi Sigma Honor Society
    • Senior Scholar in Criminal Justice
    • Austin L. Porterfield Award
    • Dean’s List
  • Clerkship, Honorable Raul Gonzalez, Supreme Court of Texas, 1995-1997

Associations

  • State Bar of Texas
    • Board of Directors, District 9 Representative, 2020-2023
      • Administration Committee, Chair 2022-2023
      • Appeals-Grant Review Committee, Chair 2021-2022
      • Building Planning Special Committee, Vice-Chair 2022-2023
      • Ad Hoc Submission and Litigation Committee
      • Discipline and Client Attorney Assistance Committee
      • Executive Committee
      • Nominations and Elections Committee
      • Technology Oversight Committee
      • Texas Pattern Jury Charges – Oversight Standing Committee, Board Advisor
    • Texas Pattern Jury Charges – Business, Consumer, Insurance and Employment Standing Committee, 2017-2020
    • Appellate Section
      • Council Member, 2009-2012
      • Editor in Chief, The Appellate Advocate, 2006-2009
    • Computer and Technology Section
    • Litigation Section
  • Austin Bar Association
    • President, 2019-2020
    • Executive Committee, 2016-2021
    • Board of Directors, 2011-2016
    • Civil Appellate Section
      • Chair, 2011-2012
    • Solo/Small Firm Section
      • Chair, 2010-2011
    • Civil Litigation Section
  • Austin Bar Foundation
    • Chair, 2020-2021
  • Judicial Committee on Information Technology
  • Texas Supreme Court Historical Society
    • 2022 Hemphill Dinner Committee Chair
    • Trustee
  • Robert W. Calvert American Inn of Court
    • Master of the Bench
  • St. Mary's Law Alumni Association
    • Board of Directors, 2011-2016
  • American Bar Association
    • Litigation Section
    • Law Practice Division

Papers, Presentations & Publications

Civic Involvement

  • Westlake Hills Presbyterian Church
    • Member, 2008-Present
    • Deacon, 2017-2019
    • Mobile Loaves and Fishes Volunteer
  • Westlake High School Marching Band Volunteer

D. Todd

Smith

Overview

D. Todd Smith has devoted his career to appellate practice, starting with a two-year judicial clerkship at the Texas Supreme Court. Todd has extensive experience representing clients as lead appellate counsel across Texas and in the Fifth Circuit, but his practice isn’t limited to writing appellate briefs and presenting oral arguments. Todd spends much of his time helping position cases for success at trial and on appeal through strategic analysis and briefing, by handling critical legal issues in trial courts, and by serving as embedded appellate counsel on trial teams.

About

After law school, Todd served as a briefing attorney to Texas Supreme Court Justice Raul A. Gonzalez, then practiced in the litigation and appellate groups at a large international firm. From there, Todd launched his own successful appellate boutique, where he remained until he joined Butler Snow.

Todd represents individuals and entities on both sides of the docket, largely in commercial, real estate, and injury cases. He has developed expertise in jury charges, attorney fees, punitive damages, and supersedeas issues. Todd has been certified as a specialist in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 2005 and has been included on Thomson Reuters' Texas Super Lawyers® list for ten straight years.

Todd has a long history of volunteer service to the bar and related organizations. He currently represents Austin lawyers on the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors, which oversees the state's 110,000-member mandatory bar association. He is also a trustee of the Texas Supreme Court Historical Society and member of the Judicial Committee on Information Technology, which the legislature created to develop standards and guidelines for implementing technology in Texas courts. Todd previously served as president of the Austin Bar Association and as chair of the Austin Bar Foundation.

Todd is a regular author and speaker on appellate-related topics. Aside from frequent appearances at continuing education programs, he is the creator, producer, and co-host of the Texas Appellate Law Podcast, a popular program that demystifies appellate law and pulls back the curtain on the appellate system through conversations with judges, court staff, and top trial and appellate practitioners.

Experience

  • Obtained reversal of a final judgment awarding exemplary damages following oral argument in the Texas Supreme Court. On remand, the original $2 million award was remitted to $64,218.
  • Procured reversal of an uncapped punitive-damages award in a fraud case after oral argument in the Texas Supreme Court.
  • Secured mandamus relief in the Texas Supreme Court from a discovery order compelling client to turn over computer hard drives for forensic examination.
  • Persuaded the Fifth Circuit, after oral argument, to narrowly construe a permanent injunction against a former oilfield services company employee accused of violating an intellectual property agreement.
  • After oral argument in the Fifth Circuit, retained a judgment for mental-anguish damages and attorney fees in a professor’s statutory retaliation case against a state medical school.
  • Obtained reversal of a trial court’s final judgment refusing to enforce restrictive covenants and remand with instructions to award statutory attorney fees to clients as prevailing parties.
  • Obtained reversal of trial court’s failure to compel arbitration in a construction dispute.
  • Successfully defended a significant money judgment in an oilfield-injury case, including denial of the operator’s petition for review.
  • Successfully defended a significant money judgment in a workplace-electrocution case, including denial of the electrical contractor’s petition for review.
  • Secured a favorable appellate decision affirming the trial court’s rejection of appellants’ attempt to supersede a final money judgment by affidavits of negative net worth rather than a supersedeas bond, cash deposit, or similar security.
  • Provided appellate support during bench trial involving claims seeking $5 million in damages for usury and defamation. The trial court rendered a take-nothing judgment on these claims, instead awarding six figures in damages and attorney fees on the client's counterclaim for breach of contract.
  • Persuaded a Travis County district judge to grant a new trial after signing a final judgment awarding more than $1 million to the opposing party.

Distinctions

  • Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law
  • Thomson Reuters Super Lawyers®
    • Texas Super Lawyer, Appellate, 2013-2022
  • Benchmark Litigation
    • Litigation Star, Appellate Law, 2014-2015
    • Fifth Circuit Litigation Star, 2013
  • Life Fellow, Texas Bar Foundation
  • Life Fellow, Austin Bar Foundation
  • Fellow, Texas Bar College

Bar Admissions

  • Texas, 1996
  • U.S. District Courts
    • Texas: Northern, Southern, Eastern, Western
  • U.S. Court of Appeals
    • 5th Circuit
    • 7th Circuit
    • 10th Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Education

  • St. Mary's University School of Law, J.D., cum laude, 1995
    • Editor in Chief, St. Mary’s Law Journal
    • Internship, Honorable Emilio M. Garza, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
    • Phi Delta Phi Honor Fraternity
    • John M. Harlan Society
    • American Jurisprudence Award, Texas Civil Procedure
  • Texas Tech University, M.P.A., 1992
    • Pi Alpha Alpha Honor Society
  • Texas Christian University, B.S., Criminal Justice, 1989
    • Alpha Kappa Delta Honor Society
    • Alpha Phi Sigma Honor Society
    • Senior Scholar in Criminal Justice
    • Austin L. Porterfield Award
    • Dean’s List
  • Clerkship, Honorable Raul Gonzalez, Supreme Court of Texas, 1995-1997

Associations

  • State Bar of Texas
    • Board of Directors, District 9 Representative, 2020-2023
      • Administration Committee, Chair 2022-2023
      • Appeals-Grant Review Committee, Chair 2021-2022
      • Building Planning Special Committee, Vice-Chair 2022-2023
      • Ad Hoc Submission and Litigation Committee
      • Discipline and Client Attorney Assistance Committee
      • Executive Committee
      • Nominations and Elections Committee
      • Technology Oversight Committee
      • Texas Pattern Jury Charges – Oversight Standing Committee, Board Advisor
    • Texas Pattern Jury Charges – Business, Consumer, Insurance and Employment Standing Committee, 2017-2020
    • Appellate Section
      • Council Member, 2009-2012
      • Editor in Chief, The Appellate Advocate, 2006-2009
    • Computer and Technology Section
    • Litigation Section
  • Austin Bar Association
    • President, 2019-2020
    • Executive Committee, 2016-2021
    • Board of Directors, 2011-2016
    • Civil Appellate Section
      • Chair, 2011-2012
    • Solo/Small Firm Section
      • Chair, 2010-2011
    • Civil Litigation Section
  • Austin Bar Foundation
    • Chair, 2020-2021
  • Judicial Committee on Information Technology
  • Texas Supreme Court Historical Society
    • 2022 Hemphill Dinner Committee Chair
    • Trustee
  • Robert W. Calvert American Inn of Court
    • Master of the Bench
  • St. Mary's Law Alumni Association
    • Board of Directors, 2011-2016
  • American Bar Association
    • Litigation Section
    • Law Practice Division

Papers, Presentations & Publications

Civic Involvement

  • Westlake Hills Presbyterian Church
    • Member, 2008-Present
    • Deacon, 2017-2019
    • Mobile Loaves and Fishes Volunteer
  • Westlake High School Marching Band Volunteer