Photo of Robert S. Smith

Robert S. Smith

Senior Counsel
New York
7 Times Square
New York, NY 10036-6516
Tel: 212.833.1125
Fax: 212.373.7925

The Honorable Robert S. Smith (Ret.) joined Friedman Kaplan following his retirement as Associate Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals, New York’s highest court, where he served for more than a decade. During his time on the bench, he wrote scores of opinions and became well known for his judicial scholarship, insight, and intellectual rigor.

Prior to his time on the Court of Appeals, he practiced law in New York City, and was a partner with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison for over 25 years. He has argued dozens of appeals before the federal and New York appellate courts, and two appeals before the United States Supreme Court. His trial experience in complex commercial cases is also extensive. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

Since joining Friedman Kaplan, he has been active primarily in appeals, trial-level commercial litigation, expert witness testimony (principally on New York law issues), and alternative dispute resolution. He also maintains an independent practice, the Law Offices of Robert S. Smith. 

Representative Matters

  • Appeals
    • Lynch v. City of New York, 35 N.Y.3d 517 (2020).
    • Kuzmich v. 50 Murray Street Acquisition LLC, 2019 WL 2583118 (New York Court of Appeals). 
    • Sutton 58 Assocs. LLC v. Pilevsky, Appellate Division, 1st Department, Case No. 2018-21045 (December 29, 2020).
    • Charles Schwab Corp. v. Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., 186 A.D.3d 431 (1st Dep’t 2020).
    • John Quealy Irrevocable Trust v. AXA Equitable Life Insurance Co. (2017 WL 2636366) (decided June 20, 2017 by the Appellate Division, First Department).
    • Commercial Tenant Services v. Northern Leasing, 131 A.D.3d 895 (1st 2015).  
  • Trials
    • In re Nine West Holdings, Inc. (2019) (United States Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York).
    • Town New Development v. Reuveni (2017) (New York County Supreme Court, Commercial Division).
    • Hellenic-American Educational Foundation v. Trustees of Athens College (2015-16) (New York County Supreme Court, Commercial Division).
  • Significant Cases Settled Before Trial
    • Maitland v. Town Residential (2016) (New York County Supreme Court, Commercial Division).
    • Camp v. Berman (2015-16) (U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York).
  • Expert Witness Testimony
    • McLaren Holdings Limited v. U.S. Bank Trustees Limited (UK High Court of Justice, 2020) (report)
    • Matter of LB Holdings Intermediate 2 Limited (UK High Court of Justice 2019) (report and oral testimony)
    • American International Group v. Huaxia (High Court of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region,). 2015 (report)
    • Lehman Brothers International (Europe) (In Administration) (UK High Court of Chancery, 2015 (report)
    • Robert has also submitted expert reports and/or testified orally in courts in Australia, Canada, the Grand Caymans and the Netherlands, and in arbitration tribunals in the United States.
  • Alternative Dispute Resolutions
    • Robert has conducted several confidential mediations, and has served as an arbitrator in a private arbitration and in proceedings before the American Arbitration Association, the International Center for Dispute Resolution and JAMS.

Outside the Office

Robert taught at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law from 2006 until 2015 and in 2019, and taught at Columbia Law School from 1980 until 1990. He is the author of several articles, and a frequent speaker at bench and bar events.

Fast Facts


Columbia Law School, LL.B., magna cum laude (1968)

Stanford University, B.A., with great distinction (1965)

Bar Admissions

U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

State of New York

U.S. Supreme Court

Honors and Awards

Ordronaux Prize (first in class), Columbia Law School

Law Review and Publications

Editor-in-Chief, Columbia Law Review

News + Insights