Attorney Profile

Patricia Smith predominately represents individuals against large corporations or institutions. She also advises small businesses and corporations on minimizing their risk by the proper handling of issues pertaining to employment and fringe benefits, and matters that arise with their employees.

She represents and advises clients on all types of insurance matters, on their employee fringe benefits (i.e., pensions, severance plans, life, health and disability insurance), and on issues pertaining to employee compensation and medical leave. Through court litigation and administrative processes she has assisted clients in obtaining benefits due them under various types of insurance policies. Many of her clients suffer from such diseases as cancer, AIDS, HIV, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), severe depression and diabetes.

She also counsels and represents persons against their employers, educational institutions or other entities for discrimination on the basis of sex, race, national origin, age, or disability or for sexual harassment.

Ms. Smith handles complex civil and appellate litigation of diverse types, including legal malpractice actions and tort and personal injury actions.

Current Employment Position(s): Sole Practitioner 

Past Employment Positions:

  • Sanders, O'Donnell & Smith, Partner, 1988 - 1994
  • Patricia A. Smith, Attorney at Law, 1987 - 1988
  • Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, Executive Assistant to the Director, 1977-1987; concurrently, Executive Director, Criminal Practice Institute

Bar Admissions:

  • Virginia, 1986
  • District of Columbia, 1987
  • Maryland, 2000
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1990
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 4th Circuit, 1986
  • U.S. Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit, 1987
  • U.S. Court of Appeals Federal Circuit, 1988
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Virginia, 1987
  • U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia, 1988
  • U.S. District Court District of Maryland, 1988

Education:

  • George Washington University National Law Center, Washington, District of Columbia, 1986, J.D.
  • American University, Washington, District of Columbia, 1981, B.A. Major: Philosophy

Published Works:

  • “Handling Medical Insurance Claims” in Health Care Access Project Training for Pro Bono Attorneys, D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program, 2008- present
  • Co-Author, Insurance and Employee Benefits in AIDS Advocacy, D.C. Bar Foundation and Whitman Walker Clinic, Annual editions (1995-2006)
  • Insurance and Employee Benefits (AIDS Advocacy, D.C. Bar Foundation, Whitman Walker Clinic), Annual editions (1992-1994)
  • Proper Handling of ERISA Claims, ATLA Annual Convention Manual, July, 1992
  • Products Liability in Consumer Protection Reporting Service (Rothschild, ed.), 1986
  • Editor, Criminal Practice Institute Trial Manual (Young Lawyers Section, Bar Association), 1984-1987
  • Assistant Managing Editor, Consumer Protection Reporting Service (Rothschild, ed.), 1986

Representative Cases:

  • Boster v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance, 959 F. Supp.2d 9 (D.D.C. 2013)
  • Schmidt v. Triple Canopy Inc., Record No. 072556 (Va. Sup. Ct. December 12, 2008)
  • Mullins v. AT&T Corp., 290 Fed. Appx. 642, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 19051 (4th Cir. 2008)
  • Psychiatric Institute of Washington v. District of Columbia Commission on Human Rights, Ric Birch, Intervenor, 871 A.2d 1146 (D.C. 2005)
  • Doe v. United States Postal Service, 354 U.S. App. D.C. 437, 317 F.3d 339 (2003)
  • Doe v. Medlantic Health Care Group, Inc.,814 A.2d 939 (D.C. 2003)
  • Corti v. Storage Technology Corporation, 304 F.3d 336 (4th Cir.2002)
  • Sanders v. International Society for Performance Improvement, 740 A.2d 34 (D.C. App. 1999)
  • Christensen v. Northrop Grumman Corporation, 1997 U.S. App. LEXIS 28565 (4th Cir. 1997)
  • Eddy v. Colonial Life Insurance Co., 313 U.S. App. D.C. 205, 59 F.3d 201 (D.C. Cir. 1995)
  • Jenkins v. Skinner, 771 F. Supp. 133 (E.D. Va. 1991)
  • John Doe v. Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, 89 Md. App. 351, 598 A.2d 507 (Md. App. 1991)
  • Eddy v. Colonial Life Insurance Co., 287 U.S. App. D.C. 76, 919 F.2d 747 (D.C. Cir. 1990)
  • Graham v. Commonwealth, 11 Va. App. 133, 397 S.E.2d 270 (Va. App. 1990)
  • Brown v. Commonwealth, 8 Va. App. 126, 380 S.E.2d 8 (Va. App. 1989)

Classes/Seminars Taught:

  • Medical Debt - Medical Insurance Claims, D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program, 2008 - Present
  • Presentations Annually on Insurance and ERISA Litigation, District of Columbia Bar Foundation and Whitman-Walker Clinic, AIDS Advocacy Pro Bono Training Program, 1992 - 2006
  • Presentation on handling ERISA claims, Faculty Member, American Trial Lawyers Association, 1992 Annual Conference
  • Visiting Lecturer on ERISA and Insurance Litigation, D.C. School of Law, HIV Advocacy Clinic, 1991 - 1993

Honors and Awards:

  • 2006 Lawyer of the Year Award, Metropolitan Washington Employment Lawyers Association
  • National Registry of Who's Who, 1999 Edition
  • Gene Frey Award (Outstanding Volunteer Service), Whitman Walker Clinic, Washington, D.C., 1997
  • Alexandria Commission on the Status of Women, "Women to Women Award" for Achievement in Human Rights, 1985

Community and Professional Associations and Memberships:

  • National Employment Lawyers Association, 1997 - Present
  • Metropolitan Washington Employment Lawyers Association, 1998 - Present
  • Association of Trial Lawyers of America, 1990 - Present
  • Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, 1989 - 2000
  • American Bar Association, 1990 - 1999
  • Alexandria Bar Association, 1987 - 2001
  • Alexandria Commission on the Status of Women, 1979 - 1984 (chairperson 1980-1982)
  • Alexandria Human Rights Commission, 1979 - 1984
  • Chairperson, Affirmative Action Subcommittee, Alexandria Human Rights Commission, 1980 - 1984

Pro Bono Activities:

  • Legal Information Network for Cancer (LINC), 1998 - present
  • Whitman Walker Clinic, Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia, 1989 - present
  • Presentations on Employment and Insurance Rights for Community Based Organizations of Cancer Survivors