Deborah Alley Smith - Christian & Small LLP

Deborah Alley Smith

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2007

Debbie Smith spends much of her time preparing for something that may never happen. And when it does happen, she rarely sees repeat business from the same client. That’s because Debbie’s practice is post-judgment and appellate litigation. She devotes her time to research and writing and to preparing her Christian & Small partners for trial to assure that significant issues are preserved in the event of an appeal. When it is necessary to seek post-judgment relief or to appeal (or the opposing side does so), Debbie assists in the post-judgment briefing and presentation and handles the appeal. She is frequently enlisted to handle post judgment motions and appeals in cases tried by lawyers from other firms.

One of Debbie’s greatest legal victories was briefing, arguing and winning a case before the United States Supreme Court. She says that at first she was skeptical about seeking review in the Supreme Court, but when she started researching the matter, Debbie knew it was exactly the type of case the Supreme Court should take and should reverse. The Court agreed, and the experience taught Debbie that she should never judge too quickly or underestimate the power of creative and sound legal arguments.

Additional Information

Reported Decisions
  • Nationwide Retirement Solutions, Inc. v. PEBCO, Inc., 2014 Ala. LEXIS 43 (Ala. 2014).
  • McDonald v. Kubota Mfg. of Am. Corp., 2013 Ala. LEXIS 202 (Ala. 2013)
  • Murphy Bros., Inc. v. Michetti Pipe Stringing, Inc., 526 U.S. 344, 119 S. Ct. 1322, 143 L. Ed. 2d 448 (1999).
  • Category 5 Mgmt Group LLC v. Nat’l Cas. Ins. Co., 2012 WL 2424414 (11th Cir. June 26, 2012)
  • Ex parte Carter, 66 So. 3d 231 (Ala 2010)
  • Poole v. Prince, 61 So. 3d 258 (Ala 2010)
  • Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s v. S. Nat’l Gas Co., 41 So. 3d 56 (Ala. 2009).
  • AstraZeneca LP v. State, 41 So. 3d 15 (Ala. 2009).
  • Chandler v. Blizzard, 38 So. 3d 872 (Ala. 2009).
  • Line v. Ventura, 38 So. 3d 1 (Ala. 2009).
  • White Smile USA, Inc. v. Bd. of Dental Exam’rs of Ala., 36 So. 3d 9 (Ala. 2009) (amicus curiae).
  • Shaffer v. Regions Fin. Corp., 29 So. 3d 872 (Ala. 2009).
  • Bryan v. Ala. Power Co., 20 So. 3d 108 (Ala. 2009) (amicus curiae).
  • Carr v. Int’l Ref. & Mfg. Co., 13 So. 3d 947 (Ala. 2009).
  • Christ v. Beneficial Corp., 547 F.3d 1292 (11th Cir. 2008).
  • Ex parte Novartis Pharms. Corp., 991 So. 2d 1263 (Ala. 2008).
  • Ex parte Int’l Ref. & Mfg. Co., 972 So. 2d 784 (Ala. 2007).
  • Edwards v. Allied Home Mortg. Capital Corp., 962 So. 2d 194 (Ala. 2007).
  • Samara Consulting Group v. S & Davis Int’l, Inc., 103 F. App’x 961, 2006 WL 2990214 (11th Cir. 2006).
  • Systrends, Inc. v. Group 8760, LLC, 959 So. 2d 1052 (Ala. 2006).
  • Holcomb v. Carraway, 945 So. 2d 1009 (Ala. 2006).
  • Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s v. S. Nat’l Gas Co., 939 So. 2d 21 (Ala. 2006).
Professional & Community Involvement
  • Birmingham Bar Foundation: President, Board of Directors, 2016; Member, Board of Directors, 2010 – present
  • Birmingham Business Alliance: Board of Directors, 2015
  • Birmingham Bar Volunteer Lawyers Program: President, 2015
  • Teach for America-Alabama: Member, Advisory Board, 2015-Present
  • Blueprint Birmingham, Economic Prosperity Advisory Group
  • Defense Research Institute (DRI): Member
  • Alabama Defense Lawyers Association (ADLA): Member
  • Alabama Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on the Alabama Rules of Appellate Procedure: Member, 2004-present
  • Birmingham American Inns of Court: Member
  • Council of Appellate Lawyers: Member
  • Alabama Center for Dispute Resolution: Member, Mediator Roster
  • Alabama Supreme Court: Member, Appellate Mediation Roster
  • American Bar Association (ABA): Member
  • Birmingham Bar Association: Member, Executive Committee, 2007-2009; Secretary/Treasurer, 2012
  • Samford University Cumberland School of Law: Adjunct Professor, Advanced Problems in Appellate Procedure and Alabama Trial Practice and Procedure
  • Leadership Birmingham, 2013-2014
  • Legal Aid Society of Birmingham: Board Member, 2012
  • Alabama State Bar: Chair, Appellate Practice Section, 2004; Co-Chair, Appellate Practice Section, 2003
  • The Alabama Lawyer: Member, Editorial Board, 1992-1998
Awards & Recognition
  • Fellow, The American Bar Foundation
  • AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell*
  • Recognized in Chambers USA for Litigation: Appellate (Band 1)
  • Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2010-2016 in the fields of appellate practice and commercial litigation; and in 2012-2016 for field of insurance law; 2014 Birmingham Insurance Law “Lawyer of the Year”
  • Selected for inclusion in Alabama Super Lawyers® 2008-2015 in the field of appellate and 2008-2011 in the field of business litigation
  • Listed as one of the Top 25 Women Lawyers in Alabama in 2008-2015, a list comprised of the women lawyers who received the highest number of points in the Alabama Super Lawyers nomination, research and blue ribbon review process. Top 50 Alabama Super Lawyers, 2011 – 2015
  • Selected for inclusion in Benchmark Litigation’s list of Alabama Litigation Future Stars 2011; listed as Local Litigation Star in the field of appellate practice 2012 – 2015; listed in Top 250 Women in Litigation 2012 – 2014
  • Selected for inclusion in Benchmark Appellate as Eleventh Circuit Local Litigation Star in Alabama, 2012-2013
  • Selected by B-Metro magazine as a “Star of the Bar” in its 2015 “Top Flight Lawyers” issue (March 2015)
  • Listed as a “Top Attorney” in Birmingham Magazine for Appellate Law
  • Listed as one of the Birmingham Business Journal’s “Best of the Birmingham Bar”
Publications & Presentations
University of Alabama School of LawJ.D. 1985The University of TennesseeBA 1982
Birmingham Bar FoundationBirmingham Bar Volunteer Lawyers ProgramTeach for America-AlabamaDefense Research Institute (DRI)Alabama Defense Lawyers Association (ADLA)Alabama Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on the Alabama Rules of Appellate ProcedureAmerican Bar Association (ABA)Birmingham American Inns of CourtCouncil of Appellate LawyersAmerican Bar Foundation

Case History

Nationwide Retirement Solutions, Inc. v. PEBCO, Inc., 2014 Ala. LEXIS 43 (Ala. 2014).

Nationwide Retirement Solutions, Inc. v. PEBCO, Inc., 2014 Ala. LEXIS 43 (Ala. 2014).

McDonald v. Kubota Mfg. of Am. Corp., 2013 Ala. LEXIS 202 (Ala. 2013)

McDonald v. Kubota Mfg. of Am. Corp., 2013 Ala. LEXIS 202 (Ala. 2013)

Murphy Bros., Inc. v. Michetti Pipe Stringing, Inc., 526 U.S. 344, 119 S. Ct. 1322, 143 L. Ed. 2d 448 (1999).

Murphy Bros., Inc. v. Michetti Pipe Stringing, Inc., 526 U.S. 344, 119 S. Ct. 1322, 143 L. Ed. 2d 448 (1999).

Category 5 Mgmt Group LLC v. Nat’l Cas. Ins. Co., 2012 WL 2424414 (11th Cir. June 26, 2012)

Category 5 Mgmt Group LLC v. Nat’l Cas. Ins. Co., 2012 WL 2424414 (11th Cir. June 26, 2012)

Ex parte Carter, 66 So. 3d 231 (Ala 2010)

Ex parte Carter, 66 So. 3d 231 (Ala 2010)

Poole v. Prince, 61 So. 3d 258 (Ala 2010)

Poole v. Prince, 61 So. 3d 258 (Ala 2010)

Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s v. S. Nat’l Gas Co., 41 So. 3d 56 (Ala. 2009).

Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s v. S. Nat’l Gas Co., 41 So. 3d 56 (Ala. 2009).

AstraZeneca LP v. State, 41 So. 3d 15 (Ala. 2009).

AstraZeneca LP v. State, 41 So. 3d 15 (Ala. 2009).

Chandler v. Blizzard, 38 So. 3d 872 (Ala. 2009).

Chandler v. Blizzard, 38 So. 3d 872 (Ala. 2009).

Line v. Ventura, 38 So. 3d 1 (Ala. 2009).

Line v. Ventura, 38 So. 3d 1 (Ala. 2009).

White Smile USA, Inc. v. Bd. of Dental Exam’rs of Ala., 36 So. 3d 9 (Ala. 2009) (amicus curiae).

White Smile USA, Inc. v. Bd. of Dental Exam’rs of Ala., 36 So. 3d 9 (Ala. 2009) (amicus curiae).

Shaffer v. Regions Fin. Corp., 29 So. 3d 872 (Ala. 2009).

Shaffer v. Regions Fin. Corp., 29 So. 3d 872 (Ala. 2009).

Bryan v. Ala. Power Co., 20 So. 3d 108 (Ala. 2009) (amicus curiae).

Bryan v. Ala. Power Co., 20 So. 3d 108 (Ala. 2009) (amicus curiae).

Carr v. Int’l Ref. & Mfg. Co., 13 So. 3d 947 (Ala. 2009).

Carr v. Int’l Ref. & Mfg. Co., 13 So. 3d 947 (Ala. 2009).

Christ v. Beneficial Corp., 547 F.3d 1292 (11th Cir. 2008).

Christ v. Beneficial Corp., 547 F.3d 1292 (11th Cir. 2008).

Ex parte Novartis Pharms. Corp., 991 So. 2d 1263 (Ala. 2008).

Ex parte Novartis Pharms. Corp., 991 So. 2d 1263 (Ala. 2008).

Ex parte Int’l Ref. & Mfg. Co., 972 So. 2d 784 (Ala. 2007).

Ex parte Int’l Ref. & Mfg. Co., 972 So. 2d 784 (Ala. 2007).

Edwards v. Allied Home Mortg. Capital Corp., 962 So. 2d 194 (Ala. 2007).

Edwards v. Allied Home Mortg. Capital Corp., 962 So. 2d 194 (Ala. 2007).

Samara Consulting Group v. S & Davis Int’l, Inc., 103 F. App’x 961, 2006 WL 2990214 (11th Cir. 2006).

Samara Consulting Group v. S & Davis Int’l, Inc., 103 F. App’x 961, 2006 WL 2990214 (11th Cir. 2006).

Systrends, Inc. v. Group 8760, LLC, 959 So. 2d 1052 (Ala. 2006).

Systrends, Inc. v. Group 8760, LLC, 959 So. 2d 1052 (Ala. 2006).

Holcomb v. Carraway, 945 So. 2d 1009 (Ala. 2006).

Holcomb v. Carraway, 945 So. 2d 1009 (Ala. 2006).

Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s v. S. Nat’l Gas Co., 939 So. 2d 21 (Ala. 2006).

Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s v. S. Nat’l Gas Co., 939 So. 2d 21 (Ala. 2006).

Black v. Comer, 920 So. 2d 1083 (Ala. 2005).

Black v. Comer, 920 So. 2d 1083 (Ala. 2005).

Ex parte Flexible Prods. Co., 915 So. 2d 34 (Ala. 2005).

Ex parte Flexible Prods. Co., 915 So. 2d 34 (Ala. 2005).

Ameritas Variable Life Ins. Co. v. Roach, 411 F.3d 1328 (11th Cir. 2005).

Ameritas Variable Life Ins. Co. v. Roach, 411 F.3d 1328 (11th Cir. 2005).

Thompson Props. 119AA 370 Ltd. v. Birmingham Hide & Tallow Co., 897 So. 2d 248 (Ala. 2004).

Thompson Props. 119AA 370 Ltd. v. Birmingham Hide & Tallow Co., 897 So. 2d 248 (Ala. 2004).

Blount Recycling LLC v. City of Cullman, 884 So. 2d 850 (Ala. 2003).

Blount Recycling LLC v. City of Cullman, 884 So. 2d 850 (Ala. 2003).

Commercial Union Ins. Co. v. DeShazo, 845 So. 2d 766 (Ala. 2002).

Commercial Union Ins. Co. v. DeShazo, 845 So. 2d 766 (Ala. 2002).

Dunigan v. Sports Champions, Inc., 824 So. 2d 720 (Ala. 2001).

Dunigan v. Sports Champions, Inc., 824 So. 2d 720 (Ala. 2001).

Slay v. Keller, Inc., 823 So. 2d 623 (Ala. 2001).

Slay v. Keller, Inc., 823 So. 2d 623 (Ala. 2001).

Ex parte King, 821 So. 2d 205 (Ala. 2001).

Ex parte King, 821 So. 2d 205 (Ala. 2001).

Shepherd v. Summit Mgmt. Co., 794 So. 2d 1110 (Ala. Civ. App. 2000).

Shepherd v. Summit Mgmt. Co., 794 So. 2d 1110 (Ala. Civ. App. 2000).

Baker v. Letica Corp., 785 So. 2d 1142 (Ala. 2000).

Baker v. Letica Corp., 785 So. 2d 1142 (Ala. 2000).

Allstate Ins. Co. v. Hardnett, 763 So. 2d 963 (Ala. 2000).

Allstate Ins. Co. v. Hardnett, 763 So. 2d 963 (Ala. 2000).

City of Tuscaloosa v. Harcross Chems., Inc., 158 F.3d 548 (11th Cir. 1998).

City of Tuscaloosa v. Harcross Chems., Inc., 158 F.3d 548 (11th Cir. 1998).

Liberty Nat’l Life Ins. Co. v. Allen, 699 So. 2d 138 (Ala. 1997).

Liberty Nat’l Life Ins. Co. v. Allen, 699 So. 2d 138 (Ala. 1997).

Ala. Plating Co. v. U.S. Fid. & Guar. Co., 690 So. 2d 331 (Ala. 1996).

Ala. Plating Co. v. U.S. Fid. & Guar. Co., 690 So. 2d 331 (Ala. 1996).

Ex parte Gargis, 686 So. 2d 278 (Ala. 1996).

Ex parte Gargis, 686 So. 2d 278 (Ala. 1996).

Ex parte St. Vincent’s Hosp., 652 So. 2d 225 (Ala. 1994).

Ex parte St. Vincent’s Hosp., 652 So. 2d 225 (Ala. 1994).

Cahaba Land Assocs., Inc. v. Secor Bank, Fed. Sav. Bank, 619 So. 2d 1372 (Ala. 1993).

Cahaba Land Assocs., Inc. v. Secor Bank, Fed. Sav. Bank, 619 So. 2d 1372 (Ala. 1993).

Office Location

Financial Center, Suite 1800
505 North 20th Street
Birmingham, AL 35203
United States


Lawyer of the Year Awards

2014 Lawyer of the Year in Insurance Law of the Birmingham Metro Area2011 Lawyer of the Year in Appellate Practice of the Birmingham Metro Area
Deborah Alley Smith has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2014!Deborah Alley Smith has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2011!

Practice Areas

Appellate Practice
Commercial Litigation
Insurance Law

Other Information

Languages:
English