Monday Profile: Webb (Tony) Smith

 By Jo Mathis

Legal News 
University of Michigan Law School grad Webb (Tony) Smith  joined the law firm Foster Swift in 1963. He completed his undergraduate studies at Michigan State University and remains a committed Spartan fan.
Among many other affiliations, Smith is an American Bar Foundation fellow, a Michigan State Bar Foundation fellow, a co-founder of the Ingham County Bar Foundation, and is active in the State Bar of Michigan, where he serves on its Committee for Resolution of Disputes Among Attorneys. He is also a past president of the Ingham County Bar Association, and has received many awards over the years. Smith was lead counsel for Shell Oil in the landmark Pigeon River litigation.
 
 
Residence:  Meridian Township.
 
Currently reading:  “The Day of Battle,” “The War in Sicily and Italy 1943 – 1944” by Rick Atkinson.
 
My mother always told me: Tell the truth and you won’t have to remember what you said – Be true to your wife and you’ll be true to yourself.
 
What is your most treasured material possession?  My Spartan varsity ring.
 
What advice do you have for someone considering law school? Research what law school is all about and what lawyers do (I didn’t know).  If you’re ready for a lot of hard work, go for it with gusto.
 
If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you be?  A sports announcer.
 
Favorite local hangouts:  MSU sports venues, plays at Peppermint Creek Theatre Company.
 
Favorite websites:  Spartan Mag, Sports Illustrated and MSNBC.
 
Your proudest moment(s) as a lawyer?  Being made a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers – Winning the Leo Farhat Award and the Thomas Brennan Award (two men I respect greatly).
 
What is your happiest childhood memory? Riding with my grandpa in a big truck as he spread cinders from the power plant to make roads at MSU.
 
What would surprise people about your job?  That in over 50 years as a lawyer I have never been bored.  Each new case brings new and exciting facts so you learn something new every day.
 
What’s the most awe-inspiring place you have visited?  The beaches and cemeteries at Normandy and Flanders Field in Belgium.
 
What’s your greatest achievement?  Finding Patricia while in the military in Virginia and convincing her to marry me, move to Michigan, and stay with me for nearly 50 years.
 
If you could have one super power, what would it be?  The ability to bring peace to all on earth.
 
What would you say to your 16-year-old self?  Have confidence in yourself and you can do most anything you set your mind to if you are willing to work hard.
What one thing do you want people to know about yourwork?  That I consider being an attorney the greatest opportunity a person can have. I respect the privilege and consider myself lucky to have worked with so many outstanding lawyers over the last 50 years.
 
Favorite joke:  I would get your paper in trouble if I told you.
 
Must-see TV:  Any game MSU plays (wins deserve a re-play), the Tigers and news.
 
What’s your biggest regret?  Not taking physics in high school and not growing enough to play center in the NBA.
 
What’s one thing you would like to learn to do?  Work the TV and electrical devices without having to call the grandchildren.
 
Can’t-live-without technology:  TV.
 
Favorite law-related movie:  “A Time to Kill.”
 
What place won’t you return if you can help it?  KP duty at Fort Riley Kansas.
 
What do you drive?  2006 Buick Lucerne.
 
What would you drive if money were no object?  A new Buick LaCrosse
 
Favorite place to spend money:  Sporting events and on the grandchildren.
What is your motto?  Be nice to people on the way up because you’re likely to meet them on the way down.
 
Where would you like to be when you’re 90?  At the Rose Bowl when MSU plays for its third national championship.
 
What would you like carved onto your tombstone?  “Proud to be Green – Go State.”
 
Which things do you not like to do?  Home repairs.
 
What has been your favorite year so far?  2014 – I am above ground!
 
Does your job ever make you pessimistic?  Yes, when I see people waste opportunities and fail to better their lives.
 
If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would that be?  Mark Hollis.
 
What is guaranteed to make you laugh?  The Chevy Chase vacation movies.
 
What word do you overuse?  My wife would say those with four letters.
 
What’s the best advice you ever received?  If the judge rules in your favor, pack up and get out of the courtroom before he or she changes the ruling.

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