2020 Legal Elite — Environmental Law Profile
Brooks Meredith Smith, Troutman Pepper, Richmond
Title: Managing partner, Richmond office
Other legal specialties: Administrative law, energy regulatory law, appellate litigation, lobbying and government affairs
Birthplace: Washington, D.C.
Education: Bachelor’s degree, University of Richmond; law degree, Vermont Law School
Spouse: Jennifer Esway Smith
Children: Emma, 17; Ethan, 15; and Christian, 10
First job as a lawyer: Commercial real estate and land use associate at Williams Mullen
Fan of: Baltimore Orioles. I was born during the 1970 World Series and my dad was a diehard Baltimore Orioles fan who persuaded my mom to name me after Brooks Robinson, the Orioles’ superstar third baseman.
Career mentors: Andy Condlin (now at Roth Jackson Gibbons Condlin), John Lain at McGuireWoods and Tim Hayes (now at Hunton Andrews Kurth). Steven Koorse (also at Hunton) was not just a mentor but a lifelong role model.
What is your involvement with interstate pipeline disputes in Virginia?
I served as lead outside environmental counsel to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project. I have always believed in the virtues of an “all of the above” energy policy, and natural gas (among other fuel sources) is clearly essential for ensuring reliable and affordable energy across the commonwealth. Our existing pipeline infrastructure is getting older, is capacity-constrained and often is not where it needs to be to meet demand, so however controversial new pipelines have proven to be, I still think we need them.
What have you learned from the merger of Troutman Sanders with Pepper Hamilton?
Culture is everything. Combining two large and well-established law firms in the midst of a pandemic is no small feat, but in our case, it felt seamless because our respective firm cultures, spirit of collegiality and client-first attitudes were so similar. I love having new specialties, bench strength and office locations to draw on.
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