Roger Smith, Sr., Raleigh Criminal & Appellate Lawyer (Retired)
Roger Smith, Sr., was born in Albemarle, North Carolina, attended the Albemarle public schools and was awarded a Morehead Scholarship at the University of North Carolina a Chapel Hill, where he received his B.A. degree in English in 1963. During his undergraduate years, he served as president of the freshman class, was inducted into the Order of the Golden Fleece, and, in 1963, was co-captain of the football team.
Mr. Smith graduated from the UNC law school in 1967 after serving as the first chief justice of the Holderness Moot Court Bench and receiving the Wettach-Van Hecke Citizenship Award. He was admitted to the bar in 1967, served as law clerk to North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Carlisle W. Higgins for one year, and, on September 1, 1968, joined the law firm of Tharrington Smith, which had been co-founded by his brother, Wade, four years earlier. Mr. Smith retired from practice on December 31, 2017.
During his career, Mr. Smith served as president of the Wake County Bar Association (1993); president of the Wake County Academy of Criminal Trial Lawyers (1973-74); a member of the North Carolina State Bar Council and its Ethics Committee (1980-89); a member of the North Carolina Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission (1990-93); a member of the North Carolina Justice Needs Assessment Task Force (1993), and vice chair of the North Carolina Board of Legal Specialization (1995-96).
Mr. Smith was a member of the Board of Directors of the American Judicature Society; a delegate to the American Bar Association House of Delegates; president of the North Carolina Supreme Court Historical Society; a member of the Louisburg College Board of Trustees; and a member of the State Board of Governors of Summit House, a residential alternative for prison-bound women with children.
Mr. Smith focused his practice on trials and appeals, and served as lead counsel in numerous cases in state and federal appellate courts. He enjoyed fellowship in both the American College of Trial Lawyers, and the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers. He was recognized by Best Lawyers in America since its inception in 1983 and by North Carolina Super Lawyers since its inception in 2006. In 2014, he received the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism Award.
Mr. Smith has a deep love for literature and writing, and is the author of numerous professional papers, essays, short stories, and poems. He is married to Bonnie Lowder Smith, and they have two children, Kim Smith Yandow, and Roger Smith, Jr., who joined the firm in the practice of law in September, 1999. Together Roger and Bonnie have 12 grandchildren.
Awards & Honors
American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, Fellow
Listed in Best Lawyers in America since 1983
Named “Raleigh’s Appellate Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers for 2011
Wettach-Van Hecke Citizenship Award
Joseph Branch Professionalism Award Recipient, 2005
Selected for inclusion in North Carolina Super Lawyers magazine, since 2006
Super Lawyers Top 100 List 2007
Recognized as Business North Carolina’s “Legal Elite,” 2009, 2010
Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism Award recipient 2014
North Carolina State Bar John B. McMillan Distinguished Service Award recipient 2013
News & Blog
University of North Carolina School of Law
- Juris Doctor, 1967
- Holderness Moot Court Bench, served as the first chief justice
- Wettach-Van Hecke Citizenship Award, recipient
University of North Carolina a Chapel Hill
- B.A. English, 1963
- Morehead Scholarship Winner
- president of the freshman class
- inducted into the Order of the Golden Fleece
- Co-captain of the football team, 1963
- North Carolina Supreme Court, law clerk to Justice Carlisle W. Higgins 1967-1968
Memberships & Admissions
- North Carolina State Bar, member
- State Bar Council, Ethics Committee, former member
- North Carolina Bar Association, Emeritus
Litigation Section Member
Criminal Justice Section Member
- Wake County Bar Association, member
- 10th Judicial District Bar, member
- Wake County Academy of Criminal Trial Lawyers, member
- American Bar Association, former member
- Board of Delegates
- American College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow
- American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, Fellow
- North Carolina Supreme Court Historical Society, Past President
- Louisburg College Board of Trustees, member
- State Board of Governors of Summit House, President (residential alternative for prison-bound women with children)
- Wake County Bar Association, president (1993)
- Wake County Academy of Criminal Trial Lawyers, president (1973-74)
- North Carolina State Bar Council and its Ethics Committee, Council Member, 10th Judicial District (1980-89)
- North Carolina Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission, member (1990-93)
- North Carolina Justice Needs Assessment Task Force, member (1993)
- North Carolina Board of Legal Specialization, vice chair (1995-96).
- Board of Directors of the American Judicature Society, member
- American Bar Association House of Delegates, delegate
- author of numerous professional papers, essays, short stories, and poems