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Abraham G. Smith

Partner
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Abe is partner in the firm’s Appellate Practice Group, widely recognized as the best in Nevada, together with Dan Polsenberg and Joel Henriod. Abe has been counsel in more than 170 appeals and in the Nevada Supreme Court, the Nevada Court of Appeals, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, resulting in 24 published opinions. He has argued before all three courts.

Abe regularly handles some of the largest and most high-profile litigation in Nevada, including the cases arising from the hepatitis C outbreak among Las Vegas endoscopy clinics in the late 2000s and the recent cases surrounding the opioid-abuse crisis.

Abe uses his appellate expertise to help clients and their trial counsel at all stages of a dispute: to guide the legal strategy in framing or responding to a complaint, to create and preserve issues during discovery and at trial, and to navigate the complex world of post-judgment proceedings and appeals, from obtaining a stay of the judgment to petitioning for rehearing. He thinks creatively about appellate issues such as preclusion doctrines or jurisdiction to maximize value for the client. In addition to winning appeals, the clear and effective framing of appellate issues helps clients achieve favorable settlements.

Abe strongly believes that access to justice should not depend on one’s ability to pay. With Dan Polsenberg, he is the 2018 recipient of the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada’s Award of Excellence. Abe has represented dozens of children in appeals and writ petitions through the Legal Aid Center’s Children’s Attorneys Project and has assisted indigent Nevadans in their lawsuits and appeals.

Before joining the firm, he served as a legal intern for the U.S. Department of State in the Office of the Legal Adviser in Washington, D.C.

More About Abraham G. Smith

Education

  • J.D., magna cum laude,  Duke University School of Law, Order of the Coif, 2013
  • LL.M., magna cum laude, Duke University School of Law, Order of the Coif, 2013
  • B.M., with high distinction, with honors, Indiana University, Jacobs School of Music, 2010

Bar Admissions

  • Nevada

Community

  • Commission on Nevada Rules of Appellate Procedure, Chair on Identification Subcommittee, and Briefs Subcommittee (2021 - present)

Representative Matters

  • Canarelli v. Eighth Judicial District Court, 506 P.3d 334 (Nev. 2022): To disqualify a judge for information learned during the exercise of her duties must show that the judge has formed an opinion displaying “deep-seated favoritism or antagonism” toward that party. Writ of mandamus granted.
  • In re Parental Rights as to L.L.S., 487 P.3d 791 (Nev. 2021): Due process requires a trial for the termination of parental rights to be heard before a district judge, not a hearing master. Judgment terminating parental rights reversed.
  • Republic Silver State Disposal, Inc. v. Cash, 478 P.3d 362 (Nev. 2020): A settling tortfeasor may claim contribution against a doctor who created new injuries in treating injuries caused by the settling tortfeasor. Summary judgment for defendant reversed.
  • Paulos v. FCH1, LLC, 456 P.3d 589 (Nev. 2020): Where a federal district-court decision addressed both prongs of qualified immunity but the Ninth Circuit affirmed on just one prong, the judgment was not preclusive as to the other prong. Summary judgment for defendants reversed.
  • Foley v. Foley, 432 P.3d 736 (Nev. 2020) (unpublished): Contempt proceedings violated due process rights where district court incarcerated indigent parent without determining the parent’s ability to pay an amount to purge the contempt. Judgment of contempt vacated in part. Abe enlisted amicus support from the ACLU of Nevada and Professor Elizabeth Patterson, an expert in poverty law and debtor’s prison.

Honors & Recognitions

  • The Best Lawyers in America, "Ones to Watch," Appellate Practice, 2021-2023
  • Vegas Inc., Top Lawyers, Appellate, 2021-2022
  • Mountain States Super Lawyers, Rising Star, Appellate, 2020-2022
  • John P. Frank Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year, 2019
  • Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, Award of Excellence, 2018
  • Duke Law Faculty Award, International, Transnational, & Comparative Law, 2013
  • Lewis Roca Awarded for 100% Participation in Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada's 2019 Associate Challenge
    11/13/2019

Events

  • Presenter, "Canaries in the Coal Mine: The Travel Bans and Comey," May 17, 2017 (presentation on legal issues surrounding executive orders restricting travel from certain countries)
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