Hon. William Wayne Justice, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas

Hon. Albert Tate Jr., U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit


Stanford Law School, J.D., 1979

  • Associate Editor, Stanford Law Review

Tulane University, B.A., summa cum laude, 1976

  • Phi Beta Kappa
Photo of Michael R. Smith

Michael R. Smith


Michael R. Smith leads the firm’s Native American law practice, which involves nationally significant litigation and political disputes with regard to land claims, trust land, gaming, governance, tax, and sovereignty issues.

Outside the American Indian Law Practice, Mike is involved in complex class action and civil litigation regarding matters such as legal malpractice, intra-law firm disputes, whistleblower protection, internet gaming, and insurance fraud. He has been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America since 2007, and is listed in Super Lawyers.

Mike serves on the firm’s executive committee and partnership board.

Mike previously served as a law clerk to the Hon. William Wayne Justice of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas and to the Hon. Albert Tate, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

  • Represents the Oneida Nation of New York in state and federal litigation involving taxation of Oneida Nation lands and transfer of its lands to the federal government to be held in trust. These matters included a successful application to the U.S. Department of the Interior to hold more than 13,000 acres of land in trust. We have argued important legal questions concerning the status of Oneida Nation of New York’s lands and tribal rights before the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and other venues.
  • Represents a law firm in connection with litigation and arbitration of claims made by a departed partner of the firm. The matters involve partnership and ethics issues, age discrimination issues, and the right of the law firm to arbitrate the claims of the departed partner. Our attorneys briefed the arbitration issues that currently are pending in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.
  • Represented a class of plaintiffs in a class action alleging fraud against a health insurer engaged in door-to-door marketing of limited-benefits health insurance policies. The litigation included a successful defense of class action certification in the Arkansas Supreme Court, and ultimately culminated in a court-approved settlement providing more than $40 million of value to the plaintiff class.
  • Represented whistleblowers in Hurricane Katrina-related litigation in federal courts in Alabama and Mississippi involving a major casualty insurer and a claims adjustment company for whom the whistleblowers worked. The disputes between the whistleblowers and the company ultimately settled.
  • Represented the International Brotherhood of Teamsters union in connection with congressional and other investigations of an election of national officers and in connection with the conduct of a succeeding election. The union successfully held the succeeding election.
  • Defended psychiatrists in connection with lawsuits and ethics inquiries arising from malpractice claims made by former patients. These representations involved claims ranging from negligent prescriptions to undue familiarity.


Mentioned & Quoted


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Professional Affiliations

  • Member, American Bar Association