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Terry J. Smith

Terry J. Smith

Practice areas:

Employment & Labor, Litigation

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About Me

Terry J. Smith is a partner with Smith O'Callaghan & White. He has represented employers in all aspects of labor and employment law for more than 25 years, representing and regularly advising corporate defendants in litigation involving labor and employment matters in federal and state courts, and administrative agencies, throughout the United States. Prior to founding a boutique firm, Mr. Smith was a partner with Schiff Hardin & Waite in Chicago and began his career with Foley & Lardner in Milwaukee.


He has been named an Illinois Super Lawyer for the past 6 years (2007-2012), representing the top 5% of all attorneys in the State of Illinois. Mr. Smith has been awarded the AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating for ethics and legal ability. He has led Smith O'Callaghan & White to a place among "Go-To Law Firms" for corporate counsel and national recognition as a "best-in-class" boutique law firm providing exemplary client focus and service.


Mr. Smith deals extensively with all phases of employment-related litigation in the federal and state courts — from pre-litigation counsel, to discovery, to dispositive motions, to trial. He has represented employers in single-party and multi-party litigation. His experience encompasses cases involving employment discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful discharge, breach of employment contract, trade secret misappropriation, covenants not-to-compete, unfair competition, employee pirating, breach of fiduciary duty, ERISA obligations in reductions-in-force, workplace defamation and many other labor and employment issues. He has successfully litigated these cases throughout the country.


Mr. Smith also has represented employers in a number of precedent-setting cases, including cases involving: the doctrine of inevitable disclosure of trade secrets, legal obligations of employers in reductions-in-force, workplace defamation law favorable to all Illinois employers on absolute privilege and self-publication, no individual supervisor liability under Title VII, notice requirements in alleged harrassment cases, arbitration of private employment contract disputes and the first case to reach the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit substantively interpreting the FMLA. He also has successfully defended employers in many cases involving claims of employment discrimination, sexual harassment and other workplace issues that have resulted in reported decisions favorable to employers in the federal and state courts. He has extensive experience representing employers in administrative agency investigations, and in labor arbitrations and mediations.


Mr. Smith regularly counsels companies and other law firms on legal compliance, avoidance of employee claims and alternative dispute resolution. His labor and employment counsel encompasses problematic terminations, employment contracts and restrictive covenants, harassment issues, disability accommodation, FMLA compliance and a wide range of other workplace issues.


Practice Areas

Licensed since 1984

  1. Litigation: 50%
  2. Employment & Labor: 50%

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Contact Info

Smith O'Callaghan & White

33 North LaSalle Street
Suite 3800
Chicago, IL, 60602


ILActive And Authorized To Practice Law198705/14/2015
WIGood Standing198403/02/2015
DCInactive 198505/25/2015

Professional Misconduct

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo Contributions
Legal Answers
Award NameGrantorDate Granted
Illinois Super LawyerChicago Magazine2012
Illinois Super LawyerChicago Magazine2011
Leading LawyerLaw Bulletin Publishing Company2010
Illinois Super LawyerChicago Magazine2010
FellowLitigation Counsel of America2010
Illinois Super LawyerChicago Magazine2009
Illinois Super LawyerChicago Magazine2008
Illinois Super LawyerChicago Magazine2007
AV Preeminent 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review RatedMartindale-HubbellN/A

Work Experience
TitleCompany NameDuration
PartnerSmith O'Callaghan & White1996 - Present
Partner and AssociateSchiff Hardin & Waite1987 - 1995
AssociateFoley & Lardner, LLP1984 - 1987

Association NamePosition NameDuration
Chicago Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law CommitteeMemberN/A
Chicago Bar Association, Federal Civil Practice CommitteeMemberN/A
Seventh Circuit Bar AssociationMemberN/A
American Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law SectionMemberN/A
National Institute for Trial AdvocacyN/AN/A

Legal Cases
Case NameOutcome
Brill v. McDonald's Corporation, 28 F.3d 633 (7th Cir.)7th Circuit affirmed dismissal
Johnson v. Indopco, Inc., 887 F. Supp. 1092 (N.D. Ill.)Action in its entirety found barred by discovery of misappropriated documents and summary judgment entered in favor of employer on all claims.
Wohl v. Spectrum Mfg., Inc., 94 F.3d 353 (7th Cir.)N/A

See all Legal Cases 

Publication NameTitleDate
Super Lawyers MagazineCorporate Counsel Edition2010
Super Lawyers MagazineCorporate Counsel Edition2009
Corporate Counsel MagazineWho Represents America's Biggest Companies2008
Illinois Legal TimesEmployment Law RoundtableN/A

School NameMajorDegreeGraduated
Cornell Law SchoolLawJD - Juris Doctor1984
Lawrence UniversityN/ABA - Bachelor of Arts1981

Speaking Engagements
Conference NameTitleDate
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin Annual Emplyment Law Conference - 2013Retaliatory Discharge2013