Stephen M. Forte

Stephen M. Forte

Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP

Recognized since 2007

Atlanta, Georgia

Practice Areas

Commercial Litigation

Litigation - Banking and Finance

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In his role as Managing Partner and Chairman, Steve functions as the Chief Executive Officer of SGR, in charge of its day-to-day operations, while overseeing the strategic growth and direction of the firm. He is also responsible for cultivating strong relationships with firm clients by understanding their business needs and assisting with practice strategies and solutions to fulfill those needs.

Steve was elected to the firm’s Executive Committee in 1992 and two years later was elected by the partnership as Managing Partner and Chairman of the firm’s Executive Committee. During his tenure as Managing Partner and Chairman, Steve has been instrumental in the opening and continued growth of 7 offices outside the firm’s Atlanta headquarters, including three international offices. During this time, SGR has steadily advanced in the AmLaw 200 and as a most recommended law firm by peers and corporate counsel alike. Steve served in other leadership positions within the firm prior to his election as Managing Partner. He was head of the Litigation Department for two years and chaired the Professional Recruitment Committee. As a visionary leader, he has always been active with the professional development of young attorneys and coaching senior lawyers and partners on client service, and practice planning.

With more than 35 years of legal experience, Steve has maintained an active litigation practice in addition to his leadership responsibilities. Over the course of his career, Steve’s trial practice has been broad based. Clients have sought his judgment and experience in almost every type of business dispute. He has also functioned as outside general counsel to long-standing firm clients such as the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta. Much of his trial work has been focused on high stakes class action defense and nationwide complex litigation in the representation of financial institutions and clients in the telecommunications and transportation industries.

Steve was recognized five consecutive years in Chambers USA as one of the outstanding commercial litigators in the country and was described as a “dynamic trial attorney” by Chambers. He has been selected for more than a decade in Georgia Super Lawyers and consistently noted in Best Lawyers in America for Commercial Litigation. He now serves on the Advisory Board of Best Lawyers. Steve also serves on the Board of Directors of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and Central Atlanta Progress. He is a frequent lecturer to the International Bar on matters involving the legal industry and he frequently consults with clients and others in the business community on leadership and business strategy.

Contact & Links


  • 1105 West Peachtree Street N.E., Suite 1000
    Atlanta, GA 30309


  • Brooklyn College of The City University of New York, Undergraduate

Bar Admissions

  • Georgia, Georgia Bar Association
  • New York, New York State Bar Association


  • Atlanta Legal Aid Society - Member
  • Central Atlanta Progress - Board
  • International Bar Association - Member
  • Lawyers Foundation of Georgia - Member
  • Metropolitan Atlanta Chamber of Commerce - Board of Directors
  • National Diocesan Attorneys Association - Member

Court Admissions

  • United States Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • U.S. Circuit Courts
  • Federal District Courts

Recognized in The Best Lawyers® in America 2023 for work in:

  • Litigation - Banking and Finance
  • Commercial Litigation

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