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James F. Smith

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(312) 456-0900


115 South LaSalle Street
Chicago, Illinois


Practice Areas

  • Casualty Defense Litigation
  • Employment Law Group
  • Intellectual Property
  • Medical & Professional Malpractice Liability
  • Product Liability
  • Product Recall
  • Subrogation & Recovery


  • University of Virginia
  • University of Maryland
  • University of Notre Dame
  • Naval War College
James F. Smith is a Partner at Butler Pappas.
He concentrates his practice in litigation, intellectual property matters and corporate counseling. Jim has practiced in numerous litigation areas including professional malpractice liability (including engineers, architects, attorneys and other professionals), casualty defense, director and officer liability, commercial and contract disputes, employment matters and subrogation. His experience includes trademark, copyright and patent litigation, focusing on ownership of various marks, words and inventions. Jim's practice has included both the prosecution and defense of improper conduct through computer systems and the internet, including spamming, cybersquatting and domain name disputes. He has also litigated in numerous jurisdictions as a plaintiff and defendant on behalf of carriers and their insureds who have sustained significant damages as a result of fires, explosions and other large losses.

Jim has secured numerous successful settlements for his clients, both as  defense and plaintiff's counsel.  His largest jury trial success to date was a $29 million jury verdict which was subsequently affirmed by the Missouri appellate court.  The jury ruled in favor of Mr. Smith's client Newell RubberMaid, Inc against lighting installer Efficent Solutions, Inc for a fire caused by an improperly hung light fixture which fell and caused a large fire, destroying playground equipment. 

Jim is a Brigadier General in the United States Air Force Reserve. He attended the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island from August 1999 through June 2000 and earned an M.A. in National Security and Strategic Studies. General Smith is currently assigned as the Mobilization Assistant to the Deputy Chief of Staff, Strategic Plans and Programs, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. Jim has served in numerous assignments stateside and overseas, including several years at the Pentagon and deploying to Sarajevo, Bosnia as the Senior Military Advisor to the Commander, Stabilization Forces from July to December 2004.

Extended Biography

Upon graduating from the University of Virginia, Jim earned an ROTC commission as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force. Before commencing active duty, he was a teaching assistant for an International Banking and Finance class conducted in London and Paris. Jim then served four years on active duty with the Air Force in Virginia and West Germany before starting law school at the University of Notre Dame. He spent his second year of law school studying at Notre Dame's Matthias Concannon Program of International Law in London, England. During this time, Jim clerked for a member of the British Parliament. During law school, he clerked for several federal agencies in Washington, D.C., including the U.S. Attorney's Office, the F.B.I and the Board of Veterans Appeals.

Jim has also been involved in a wide array of lawsuits and investigations around the country, involving topics as disparate as securities fraud,  ponzi schemes, failed banks, qui tam claims, bankruptcy and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.