FacultyFaculty/Author Profile

Russell L. Smith

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Washington, DC, USA

Russell L. Smith
Special Counsel

Russell L. Smith is special counsel to the Government Relations Department of Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP in Washington, D.C. Mr. Smith specializes in a wide variety of federal relations areas, including legislative matters, congressional investigations, and Executive Branch and independent agency proceedings involving foreign direct investment in the United States, international trade laws and policy, trade embargoes, environmental law, consumer products, financial services, foreign boycotts, nuclear power, defense contracting, federal and state campaign finance law, and federal lobbying and gift rules.

Mr. Smith has represented clients in administrative proceedings before the Treasury, Commerce, Energy, and Health and Human Services Departments, the Federal Trade Commission, and the inter-agency Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States ("CFIUS"). His clients have included major manufacturing and services corporations, multinational businesses, financial services, pharmaceutical, insurance, and automobile manufacturing companies, trade associations, and prominent individuals.

Mr. Smith has worked with the Litigation Department to review issues and prepare witnesses in connection with Congressional investigations of Enron, tax shelters, and energy issues. He has also recently worked on drafting new legislation on terrorism insurance, bioterrorism, agriculture policy, hazardous materials, and oversight of foreign direct investment.

Mr. Smith works actively on issues relating to anti-money laundering policy, and advises multiple clients on compliance and disclosure issues involving U.S. trade embargoes. He assists companies and trade associations in forming political action committees (PACs) and in complying with the federal election campaign laws. He also advises Japanese auto manufacturers and the Government of Japan on negotiations
on auto trade issues, and works with other foreign governments and businesses regarding trade negotiations, legislation, and policy.

Chambers USA (2013) ranks Mr. Smith among the leading individuals practicing in the area of Government Relations in the United States.

Selected Professional and Business Activities

Mr. Smith has served as an Adjunct Professor in the Georgetown University Masters Program in Public Policy, where he has taught a course in Politics and International Trade Policy. He is a past president and Life Member of the Board of Directors of Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, D.C., and co-chairs the Max Kampelman Legal Forum of the Jewish National Fund.

Prior Experience

From 1984 to 1988, Mr. Smith was Counsel to the Republican Members of the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the United States House of Representatives. His primary responsibilities included advising the Republican Members on legislation and investigations involving international trade, securities law, defense contracting and auditing of federal contractors, pharmaceutical manufacturing, importing and sales, and various energy issues. He also played a primary staff role in the drafting and consideration of legislation authorizing and establishing the conditions for the 1986 public offering of the stock of Conrail, and the Omnibus Trade Act of 1988.

From 1982 to 1984, Mr. Smith was Special Advisor and Director of the Office of Automotive Industry Affairs at the International Trade Administration of the Department of Commerce, where he coordinated and actively participated in Administration activities on legislation and regulations affecting the automobile industry. He handled key issues including voluntary export restraints by the Government of Japan, domestic content legislation and fuel economy and safety regulation.

From 1976 to 1982, Mr. Smith was Federal Liaison and subsequently Washington Counsel for Conrail, where he was responsible for legal and legislative issues involving divestiture of rail lines, disputes with other regional railroads, tax benefits and claims by Penn Central employees against Conrail.

From 1972 to 1976, Mr. Smith was an Attorney Advisor with the Office of the General Counsel of the Treasury Department. During that time, he handled matters involving antidumping and countervailing duty cases, the 1972-73 wage and price control program, the Lockheed loan guarantee program and the Penn Central Railroad bankruptcy and subsequent creation of Conrail.

Selected Significant Matters

  • Representing the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association regarding Japan’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement negotiations
  • Representing Bloomberg L.P. regarding market access in Korea and China
  • Advising multiple clients regarding state and local lobbying registration/disclosure and "pay-to-play" laws
  • Advising Meat & Livestock Australia on U.S. Congress consideration of 2013 Farm Bill
  • Representing PAI Partners in U.S. government CFIUS national security review of the acquisition of ADB, the world’s leading airfield lighting technology company, from Montagu Private Equity

Practice Focus

Communications, Media & Privacy

  • Communications & Media
  • Data Privacy & Security

Government Relations

  • Compliance and Enforcement


  • 1972, University of Georgia School of Law, J.D.
  • 1968, Vanderbilt University, B.A.

Bar Admissions

District of Columbia, 1973


  • United States Supreme Court, 1977
  • United States Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, 1978

  • twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • RSS

All Contents Copyright © 1996-2019 Practising Law Institute. Continuing Legal Education since 1933.

© 2019 PLI PRACTISING LAW INSTITUTE. All rights reserved. The PLI logo is a service mark of PLI.