David B. Smith



  • Yale Law School, J.D., 1976
  • Pembroke College, Oxford, 1970-1972
  • University of Pennsylvania, B.A.
    summa cum laude, 1970
  • Virginia
  • District of Columbia
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 1st Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 3rd Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 4th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 8th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 10th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Virginia
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Virginia
  • U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia
  • Virginia Supreme Court

The results in the following representative cases depend upon a variety of factors which are unique to each case.  A positive result in one case neither guarantees nor predicts a similar result in any future case.


Mr. Smith has over 40 years of white collar criminal experience. He has litigated scores of cases and argued more than one hundred federal criminal appeals as a federal prosecutor and defense attorney, including extensive experience with civil and criminal litigation in the Supreme Court of the United States. Mr. Smith has been repeatedly named in the list of preeminent lawyers in the field of white collar criminal defense by Best Lawyers in America (2012-2024) and Virginia Super Lawyers (2009-2023), and has received the President’s Commendation for outstanding service from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in 1993, 1994, and 2004. He served for nine years on the Board of the NACDL and has been Chair of its Forfeiture Committee since 1990. He is also a Vice-Chair of its Amicus Committee.

For nearly a decade prior to entering private practice, Mr. Smith was a prosecutor in the Criminal Division of the United States Department of Justice and at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, where he was involved in complex white collar criminal investigations, trials, and appeals involving defense procurement fraud, congressional bribery, espionage, tax evasion, mail fraud, false claims and other crimes. In 1995-1996, Mr. Smith served as an Associate Independent Counsel in the investigation of Michael Espy, the former secretary of agriculture.

Mr. Smith is regarded as the foremost expert in the country on asset forfeiture law and practice. He is the author of the leading two-volume legal treatise on forfeiture, Prosecution and Defense of Forfeiture Cases (2023), published by Matthew Bender, and co-author of Civil RICO (2023), also published by Matthew Bender. He has testified before congressional committees several times with respect to forfeiture, restitution, and money laundering legislation. Mr. Smith has regularly counseled the Senate and House Judiciary Committees on forfeiture legislation, and was heavily involved in drafting the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000. He has also assisted the federal advisory committees in writing the procedural rules governing criminal and civil forfeiture proceedings. In 2000-2001, Mr. Smith was appointed by Senator Richard Shelby (R. Ala.), the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, to serve as a Commissioner with the Judicial Review Commission on Foreign Asset Control.

“And I must thank David Smith, who has been there since the beginning. David helped me draft my first forfeiture reform bill – the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 1993 – and helped draft Senators Leahy’s and Hatch’s reform bill, and helped draft the Senate-passed bill we are considering today. This bill is truly his accomplishment.”
—House Judiciary Chairman Henry Hyde (R-IL)