Roger Smith, Sr., was born in Albemarle, North Carolina, attended the Albemarle public schools and was awarded a Morehead Scholarship at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, where he received his B.A. degree in English in 1963. During his undergraduate years, he served as president of the freshman class, was inducted into the Order of the Golden Fleece, and, in 1963, was co-captain of the football team.
Mr. Smith graduated from the UNC law school in 1967 after serving as the first chief justice of the Holderness Moot Court Bench and receiving the Wettach-Van Hecke Citizenship Award. He was admitted to the bar in 1967, served as law clerk to North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Carlisle W. Higgins for one year, and, on September 1, 1968, joined the law firm of Tharrington Smith, which had been co-founded by his brother, Wade, four years earlier.
During his career, Mr. Smith has served as president of the Wake County Bar Association (1993); president of the Wake County Academy of Criminal Trial Lawyers (1973-74); a member of the North Carolina State Bar Council and its Ethics Committee (1980-89); a member of the North Carolina Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission (1990-93); a member of the North Carolina Justice Needs Assessment Task Force (1993), and vice chair of the North Carolina Board of Legal Specialization (1995-96).
Mr. Smith currently is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Judicature Society; a delegate to the American Bar Association House of Delegates; president of the North Carolina Supreme Court Historical Society; a member of the Louisburg College Board of Trustees; and a member of the State Board of Governors of Summit House, a residential alternative for prison-bound women with children.
Mr. Smith has focused his practice on trials and appeals, and has served as lead counsel in numerous cases in state and federal appellate courts. He is a fellow in both the American College of Trial Lawyers, and the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers. In addition, he has been listed in Best Lawyers in America since its inception in 1983. Mr. Smith has a deep love for literature and writing, and is the author of numerous professional papers, essays, short stories, and poems. Mr. Smith received the Chief Justice's commission on Professionalism Award in 2014.Roger Smith is married to Bonnie Lowder Smith, and they have a daughter, Kim Smith Yandow, a son, Roger Smith, Jr., who joined the firm in the practice of law in September, 1999, and, thus far, has twelve grandchildren.