Scott J. Smith

Scott J. Smith



An accomplished attorney and litigator with significant engineering experience, Scott focuses his practice on construction law, with particular emphasis on design and construction-defect disputes and mechanics liens. 

Scott regularly represents individuals, publicly traded corporations and privately held businesses in real estate and construction-related litigation involving breach of contract, condominium disputes, lien and foreclosure proceedings, delay claims, construction errors, actions for specific performance, public and private mechanics liens, surety performance, and a broad range of commercial, premises and products liability. He also represents clients in commercial disputes such as business tort, intellectual property infringement, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, and consumer and deceptive practices. In addition to his trial experience, Scott represents clients in arbitration, mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution.

“My aim is to understand my clients’ objectives and to assist them in developing project resources that meet those objectives. My clients want to design and build projects and they don’t want those projects to become mired in disputes. If a project encounters a roadblock, I am there to help smooth the path in order to allow them to do what they do best.”

Successes include obtaining a favorable jury verdict against a general contractor for improper performance of contract obligations and damage caused to surrounding property; securing dismissal of all claims against a developer for defective design and construction of a large residential development; obtaining the out-of-court resolution of numerous engineering defect issues that had delayed the construction of an 8,000-seat worship center; and resolution of numerous disputes involving public works, condominium and commercial real estate projects.

Before he began his legal career, Scott was a practicing structural engineer at what is now one of the world’s largest engineering firms, where his responsibilities included design project management, construction budget estimates, preparation of scope-of-work and other work plans, and design and construction inspection. His many high-profile projects in the Chicago area include the Deep Tunnel Project, the Dan Ryan Expressway Reconstruction, and the award-winning design and construction of the State & Van Buren Elevated Transit Station. Scott’s transactional work at the engineering firm included assembling and drafting prime contracts and sub-consultant agreements, review of construction litigation and client relations.

Scott is a contributing editor for the recently-released book, Infrastructure From the Ground Up (Civil Engineering Works for Lawyers). He is a regular contributor to legal and professional journals, books and other publications on issues such as construction contracts, licensing, subcontractor agreements and architects’ certificates. He also speaks frequently before legal and industry groups on a broad range of construction law topics. 



Chicago-Kent College of Law
J.D., 1996
University of Michigan
B.S.A.E., 1990

Bar Admissions


Court Admissions

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois

Professional Organizations

  • American Bar Association, Forum on the Construction Industry, former Member the Steering Committee of Division 3 (concentrating on the design process of construction projects)
  • Chicago Bar Association, past Chair of the CBA's Construction Law & Mechanics Lien Subcommittee 
  • Society of Illinois Construction Attorneys
  • NorthShore University HealthSystem Foundation, former Member of the Associate Board


Scott serves as a member of the Building Code Review Board for the Village of Arlington Heights.

Insights & Events



  • Illinois Super Lawyers, 2013-2014