Ken Smith focuses his practice within the General Civil Litigation, Labor and Employment, and Intellectual Property groups, representing companies and employers in all aspects of their business needs.
What made you want to become an attorney?
I went to college with the goal of becoming a journalist but found my niche in a persuasive writing class. When I thought about what kind of career utilizes those skills, lawyer immediately popped up. At the same time, I was taking a fascinating undergraduate level constitutional law class where we learned about lawyers and cases that helped change the country. Becoming an attorney seemed like a perfect blend of my strengths and interests.
What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned so far in your career?
Effective advocacy isn’t about telling the client what they want to hear. It’s telling them the truth and giving them the knowledge they need to make informed legal decisions, even if it’s not easy for them to hear.
What would you consider your biggest professional success?
Prevailing at trial is always a rush. After all the preparation and work throughout the case, to see it all pay off in the end makes it all worth it. And to see the client - who often has been kept awake at night thinking and worrying about the lawsuit - get that moment of relief is beyond gratifying.
What is the most valuable thing a lawyer can do for their clients?
It sounds simple, but to always remember that the client’s needs and goals come first. A victory for the lawyer might mean winning a motion or making a successful argument in court, but for the client the victory may have been coming to a business solution before a lawsuit is filed. Legal victories may not always be personal or business victories for the client.
What is an interesting trend happening right now related to your field of practice?
All sorts of things are happening in the employment law world. A huge change in Ohio’s employment laws took effect last April that has caused a shift in how employment-related litigation is conducted. Of course, there’s also been no escaping COVID-19’s impact on employers. We’re seeing significant changes in the traditional workplace structure brought on by the pandemic that have clients asking about how to adapt and stay legally compliant.
What is something a lot of people don't know about you?
I have an embarrassingly large knowledge of (usually terrible) 80’s music and classic rock generally. At various points in my life I’ve played every instrument in a rock band but, alas, none struck it big. I’m more of a music nerd than a musician.
What do you think your profession would be if you weren't a lawyer?
A lot of my free time is spent reading history books and everywhere I travel I have to make a historical stop somewhere. I’ve literally gotten lost in a history museum in Berlin and took forever to find my way out because I stopped at every exhibit. I couldn’t even read German.
What is something that is on your bucket list?
Someday, I'm going to be on Jeopardy.