Samantha Smith, an asbestos litigation attorney of more than 22 years, discussed her journey as a woman in law in honor of Women’s History Month. She shares her inspirations from various women in her life who continue to thrive despite their age, put others first, deal with health issues, and live life to the fullest. She also touches on how she found her passion for asbestos litigation and her advice to aspiring women in law: to find an area of law that fits them, maintain a work-life balance and spend time with family and friends.
What woman in your life inspires you (inside or outside the practice of law)?
Lots of women inspire me for various reasons. I’m inspired by older women who continue life as if the aches and pains of growing older don’t affect them because “age is just a number.”
I’m inspired by women who put others first, going out of their way to help their parents, friends, siblings, kids, and pets, despite their full workload otherwise.
I’m inspired by women who plug along every day as if nothing phases them while dealing with crazy problems life throws at them, such as their own health problems or others they care for.
I’m inspired by the women who seem confident and bold while secretly terrified on the inside to take that next step in their lives.
And I’m inspired by the women who live life to its fullest because they know life is short!
What interested you in your field of law?
A law school friend introduced me to asbestos litigation in August 2000. I didn’t know if I would like it, but to my surprise, I enjoyed the work with the clients and the people I came to know from both the plaintiff and defense sides of the docket, the judges, and the court personnel. I’ve been working with some of the same people for over 22 years.
What moment in your career are you most proud of?
I have successfully won hearings on motions, which is always a great feeling, but reaching substantial settlements for clients either at mediation or through a multitude of phone calls makes me proud of the work I do.
What advice would you give to aspiring women in law?
Work hard, play hard, and enjoy what you do. If you don’t enjoy the work you are doing, find an area of the law that fits you. Maintain the best work/life balance you can. Unplug, relax, and do what YOU want when you’re not on the clock and spend as much time as you can with your family and friends.
What’s your favorite quote?
“Butterflies are like women: we may look pretty and delicate, but baby, we can fly through a hurricane.” – Betty White