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Biography: Todd A. Smith, Founding Partner, Smith LaCien LLP

Making Access to Justice a Personal Crusade

A native of Evanston, Ill., and with a law degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Todd A. Smith, a founding partner with Brian LaCien of Smith LaCien LLP, has practiced law for over 40 years. He has won some of the largest multi-million dollar jury awards and settlements in serious personal injury, product liability, wrongful death, and medical malpractice cases in Illinois.

Whether product liability, aviation disaster, or medical malpractice, he stands with working people—people who find it harder to navigate the court system—as they fight against powerful corporations, insurance companies, hospitals, and government agencies. He has made access to justice a personal crusade.

A leader among personal injury trial lawyers in the United States, Mr. Smith is a past President of the leading trial lawyer group in the world—the 60,000-member Association of Trial Lawyers of America (now the American Association for Justice). He was the recipient of its 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2015 he received its highest award, The Leonard M. Ring Champion of Justice Award.

Mr. Smith was invited to join and entered membership in the selective Inner Circle of Advocates, an exclusive group of 100 of the very best civil trial lawyers in the United States. As President of the 37,000-member Illinois State Bar Association, he led the battle against the threats that inhibit citizens from obtaining justice in the courts, including cutbacks in legal services for the poor and the inability of people of modest means to afford a lawyer.

In his legal work, Mr. Smith currently serves as co-lead counsel in the largest U.S. automotive recall case ever, where tens of millions of Takata airbags were found to be defective and thus far has recovered $1.55 billion for millions of US consumers. He recently obtained medical malpractice settlements of $17.25 million and $20 million in catastrophic injury/medical malpractice cases.

One of the top trial lawyers in Illinois as well as the country, he is annually listed in the highly regarded Best Lawyers in America referral book. He was ranked in the top 3 of the 2020 Super Lawyers publication and in the Top Five 2020 Leading Lawyers listing published by Chicago Law Bulletin Media. He is listed at or near the top of the Chicago Lawyer Magazine survey of multi-million dollar personal injury settlements including a listing as Number 1, with $70-million in recovery for his clients.

As a result of his success for his clients, Mr. Smith has been featured in numerous publications including the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, USA Today, Chicago Magazine, and the New York Times, among others. He was recently voted Chicago Lawyer magazine's "Person of the Year" and featured on its cover.

He and his wife, lawyer Marcia Fridel-Smith, reside in Chicago. They have two adult children.

Smith LaCien LLP is located at 70 W Madison, Ste. 2250, Chicago, IL 60602, website: www.smithlacien.com, phone (312) 509-8900, email: info@smithlacien.com.

Contact & Links


  • 70 West Madison Street, Suite 2250
    Chicago, IL 60602


  • Loyola University Chicago , J.D., graduated 1976
  • Northwestern Business College, MBA, graduated 1973
  • Kansas State University, BSBA, graduated 1971

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia, 2012
  • Illinois, 1976


  • American Bar Association - Member
  • American Inn of Court - Markey Wigmore chapter - Member
  • Appellate Lawyers Association - Member, Board of Directors, 1991-93
  • Association of Trial Lawyers of America - Sustaining Member, past President
  • Chicago Bar Association - Member
  • Civil Justice Foundation - Member, Board of Trustees
  • Illinois Bar Foundation - Fundraising Steering Committee, 2000
  • Illinois State Bar Association - President, 1997-98
  • Illinois Trial Lawyers Association - President, 2010
  • ISBA Mutual Insurance Company - Member
  • Loyola University School of Law - President, Law Alumni Association 1998-99
  • National College of Advocacy - Member
  • The Society of Trial Lawyers - Member, Board of Directors, 1992-95
  • Trial Lawyers Care - Member
  • Trial Lawyers Club of Chicago - Member, Board of Directors, 1987
  • Trial Lawyers for Public Justice - Member, Board of Governors

Court Admissions

  • Northern District of Illinois, 1980
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1990
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, 1991
  • U.S. District Court Central District of Illinois, 1994

Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2019 - Product Liability Litigation - Plaintiffs Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2012 - Medical Malpractice Law Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2011 - Mass Tort Litigation

Named "Lawyer of the Year" by Best Lawyers® for:

  • Product Liability Litigation - Plaintiffs, Chicago (2019)
  • Medical Malpractice Law, Chicago (2012)
  • Mass Tort Litigation, Chicago (2011)

Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® 2022 for work in:

  • Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions - Plaintiffs
  • Medical Malpractice Law - Plaintiffs
  • Personal Injury Litigation - Plaintiffs
  • Product Liability Litigation - Plaintiffs
  • Aviation Law


  • American Legion Award of Excellence - C. D. Burton Post 808 - 2002
  • Joe Tonahill Award - ATLA Annual Convention 2002
  • Damen Award - Loyola University Chicago School of Chicago - Founders' Day 2002
  • Listed by Harvard Law Graduates Naifeh and Smith in their book The Best Lawyers in America, 1997-98; 1999-2000; 2001-02; 2003-04
  • Awarded the Medal of Excellence by Loyola University Chicago School of Law, 2005
  • Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Association for Justice, 2009
  • Senator Paul Wellstone Award, 2012

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Justice in the Age of COVID-19

by Todd A. Smith

Pandemic Creates Sea Change in the Delivery of Justice

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