As a toxicologist who has served as a consulting and testifying expert in scores of toxic tort and environmental contamination cases, I have worked with more than 100 attorneys. Scott Smith is among the very best of them. He is technically astute – able to grasp sophisticated scientific, medical, and environmental concepts and details, even as he successfully simplifies and explains these to judges and juries alike. He is outstanding in his abilities to both prepare his own technical experts, and to depose and cross-examine opposing sides’ experts. Scott’s depth and breadth of knowledge in science and medicine are remarkable. And, he is a genuinely wonderful person.
I have worked with Scott for 30 years and have spent more time in trial with Scott than I care to remember. Although I would never admit it to Scott, he is one of the finest lawyers in the country. He has a scientist and engineer's eye for understanding the complexities of a difficult case and the lawyer's ability to synthesize those complexities in a manner that the court and jury can understand and appreciate. He has an outstanding ability to untangle difficult scientific and engineering issues and then turn those issues into clear and persuasive motions and appellate briefs. This same ability enables Scott to work closely with expert witnesses to develop forceful and compelling expert testimony. In short – setting aside something of a warped sense of humor – Scott is simply the best.
Scott and I worked together representing a former lead pigment manufacturer in a series of cases including public nuisance claims brought by state and local governments, as well as numerous bodily injury claims. The potential exposure in the aggregate was potentially in excess of $100 billion – true “bet the company” litigation. Scott took on the role of developing, coordinating and presenting the scientific evidence and expert witnesses to the juries. I have been involved in numerous exposure cases, environmental cases and similar matters where the scientific and technical evidence is nothing short of mind-numbing to juries and lawyers alike and was presented by, in effect, dumping the evidence in the jury’s lap. Scott takes exactly the opposite approach and puts the information in a simple, understandable format that helps the jury understand the evidence. Most attorneys believe they can or should be able to handle the scientific evidence without assistance; however, in reality, that is best left to attorneys who enjoy the scientific evidence and understand how juries receive and process that information. Scott is one of those few attorneys who does this efficiently and successfully.
As a jury consultant, I have worked with a wide range of lawyers with varying skill levels. When evaluating the persuasiveness of a good litigator, strong storytelling communication skills, understanding your audience (be it judge or jury) and being relatable are three of the main factors I look for. Fortunately for Scott, I have witnessed him accomplishing all three of these key qualities. He has a keen ability to take complex scientific concepts and translate them into a persuasive jury-friendly story both verbally via his storytelling and visually via his graphics development. Scott is a great science storyteller and will be an asset to your team to consult on your complex cases.
Merrie Jo Pitera, Ph.D.
Overland Park, KS