Dan Smith focuses his law practice on matters involving environmental, commercial, education, and state constitutional law. A former educator and environmental scientist, Dan represents businesses, boards of education, and individuals in state, federal, administrative, and appellate courts.
Dan uses his scientific training and background to help clients solve complex problems related to environmental laws, frequently working as part of a larger Brooks Pierce team. Dan has represented and advised a variety of industries to help them obtain necessary permits and comply with environmental regulations. He has advised clients on matters involving CERCLA, RCRA, the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Air Act, asbestos, combustible dust, underground and aboveground storage tanks, private nuisance claims, and groundwater and soil contamination.
Dan is a frequent member of teams that handle large, complex business litigation. Dan also represents small companies and startups and helps them navigate the issues and challenges that can arise in the normal course of doing business.
A former science teacher, Dan represents boards of education, administrators, and teachers in a wide variety of litigation in state and federal courts and before administrative tribunals. He has advised and represented clients on a broad range of issues including special needs education and disabilities, bullying, personal injuries on school property, disputes with former employees, environmental health, and education-related provisions of the North Carolina Constitution and United States Constitution. Representative matters include:
- Obtaining summary judgment in favor of a board of education for a retaliation claim brought by a former teacher and successfully defending the judgment on appeal to the Fourth Circuit.
- Obtaining trial court dismissal of employment-related claims brought by a former teacher against a board of education and its superintendent and persuading the North Carolina Court of Appeals to dismiss an attempted appeal from the trial court’s judgment.
- Persuading a federal district court to dismiss IDEA and attempted tort claims asserted by a student and his parents against a board of education and special education teacher.
A former North Carolina Supreme Court law clerk, Dan brings a unique insight to his clients. He advises within the firm on the handling of appeals and petitions and is often consulted on the finer points of appellate procedure. Dan has represented clients in the Supreme Court of North Carolina and the North Carolina Court of Appeals in matters arising from business disputes, school employment, and state and federal constitutional questions.
Adjunct Law Professor, Environmental Law, Administrative Law, Elon University School of Law (Fall 2017-present)
Member, North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities (2017-present)
Sustainability Committee Co-chair, Environment, Energy, & Natural Resources Section, North Carolina Bar Association (2014-2017)
Chair (August 2018-July 2020), Vice-Chair (September 2017-July 2018), Member (2014-present), Board of Directors, Greensboro Beautiful
Member, Appellate Practice Section Council, North Carolina Bar Association (term beginning July 1, 2016 and ending June 30, 2019)
Panelist, "Careers in Sustainability," 2019 Mid-year Appalachian Energy Summit, Greensboro, NC, February 28, 2019
Panelist, "Breaking Chains: Women, Employment & Reentry," Greensboro, NC, May 20, 2017
Presenter, State and Federal Case Law Update, North Carolina Bar Association Environment, Energy & Natural Resources Section Annual Meeting, May 6-7, 2016
Presenter, State and Federal Case Law Update, North Carolina Bar Association Environment, Energy & Natural Resources Section Annual Meeting, April 26-27, 2013
Alexander Elkan and Daniel F.E. Smith, North Carolina Mineral Rights/Access to Shale Gas, 2012
Mark D. Martin & Daniel F.E. Smith, Recent Experience with Intermediate Scrutiny Under the North Carolina Constitution: Blankenship v. Bartlett and King v. Beaufort County Board of Education, 59 U. Kan. L. Rev. 761 (2011)
One surprising thing people don’t know about me is I was a collegiate fencer. My idea of happiness is spending time with family, enjoying good food and the time we have together.