2014 Virginia Legal Elite – Alternative Dispute Resolution
Richard F. Smith
Smith Pachter McWhorter PLC, Tysons Corner
Title: Senior counsel
Other legal specialties: Construction law
Birthplac e: Washing ton, D.C.
Education: Bachelor’s degree, Wake Forest University, 1966; law degree, University of Virginia Law School, 1969; master of laws degree with a specialty in government procurement law, George Washington University Law School, 1973.
Spouse: Linda P. Smith
Children: Kristin M. Smith, first-grade teacher in a private school in McLean; Kathryn S. Spencer, in-house counsel for a gas corporation in Atlanta.
Hobbies or pastimes: Playing golf, attending U.Va. football and basketball games, teaching course in construction law at University of Virginia Law School, exercising, boating, jet skiing and reading.
First job as a lawyer: Captain in U.S. Air Force JAG Corps, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio.
Fan of: University of Virginia sports teams
Favorite vacation spot: Home owned on Lake Anna since 1976
Recently read books: “A Spy Among Friends” by Ben Macintyre; “Things That Matter” by Charles Krauthammer.
Career mentors: Richard Solibakke, chairman of Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals; Roy S. Mitchell, partner in Lewis, Mitchell & Moore, first law firm I worked for.
How did you become involved in alternative dispute resolution?
When I started in private practice, I specialized in construction law and government contracts. Many of the disputes I became involved in were resolved in arbitration, and later mediation. Early in my career I qualified to be on the AAA Panel of Arbitrators and later on their mediation panel. About 15 years ago I decided to stop litigating and focus my time on service as a mediator or arbitrator. Since then I have been an arbitrator in approximately 125 construction matters and a mediator in approximately 150 construction matters.