Graydon Head


J. Stephen Smith

Steve practices with the firm's Litigation and Dispute Resolution Services Department. He interacts with general counsel on corporate and employment issues, EEOC matters, Title VII claims, and general litigation. Steve also deals extensively with construction issues, federal criminal investigations, and regulatory compliance matters.

Steve is licensed in Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana and has a background in employment law and litigation, complex commercial disputes, construction, white collar crime, professional ethics, attorney discipline, and securities arbitration. With this diverse corporate and litigation background, Steve serves clients ranging from family businesses to multinational corporations, in both state and federal courts.

He is a resident of Ft. Mitchell, KY and an active member of the Kentucky Bar Association, where he is a member of the KBA’s Board of Governors. From 2005 through June 2011, Steve served on the Ethics Committee and Ethics Hotline. As a Hotline member he provided ethics guidance to Kentucky attorneys in the 21 counties of the 6th Appellate District. Steve is also an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, where he teaches Ethics.



(859) 578-3070

(859) 578-3071

Mailing Address:
2400 Chamber Center Drive, Suite 300, Fort Mitchell, KY 41017

Denison University, B.A., History, 1988
University of Kentucky Patterson School of Diplomacy, M.A.,
  Negotiations Economics, 1990

Law School:
University of Cincinnati College of Law, J.D., 1995

FINRA (formerly NASDAQ) licensed Arbitrator
Leadership Northern Kentucky, Class of 2004
Cincinnati Academy Leadership for Lawyers, (CALL) Class V - 2001
University of Cincinnati College of Law, Adjunct Professor of Ethics
Northern Kentucky Bar Association, Member; Past President (2007),
  President (2006), President Elect (2005), Secretary (2004),
  Board of Directors (2003-2004)
Cincinnati Bar Association, Board of Directors (2000-2002),
  Chair of YLS (2001), Chair-elect of YLS (2000), Secretary (1999),
  YLS Board of Directors (1998)
Northern Kentucky Youth Hockey Association, Board of Directors
  (1999-2002), President (2002), Secretary (2001)
Children’s Law Center Inc., Board of Directors (1999-2005)
Kentucky Bar Association, Board of Governors (June 2011-Present),
  Ethics Hotline Representative (2005-Present), Ethics Committee
  Member (2005-Present), Rules Committee Member (2014-Present)
Hospice of the Bluegrass, Advisory Board (2010-Present)
APPE Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl National Championship, Judge
  (2010, 2011)

Bar Admissions:
Commonwealth of Kentucky
State of Indiana
State of Ohio
U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Kentucky
U.S. District Court, Western District of Kentucky
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio

Areas of Practice:
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Business Litigation
Commercial Litigation
Construction Disputes
Employment Litigation & Dispute Resolution

J. Stephen Smith

Steve Smith remembers it as the best legal compliment he ever received from a colleague: “You’ll have success and a long career because you’re not impressed that you’re a lawyer.”

Steve grew up in Ft. Mitchell, playing a lot of soccer, ice hockey, and tennis. He enjoys gardening, cooking and traveling with Vicki Prichard. The two live in Ft. Mitchell. Vicki is an Emmy award-winning writer, mother, and is director of development communication at NKU.

Steve’s grandfather was a Covington doctor who unfortunately bought a car dealership long ago. The dealership eventually closed, but Steve’s father, Jim, learned what dealerships needed. In the 1960’s, Jim developed the first computerized accounting system for auto dealerships and sold it nationwide. “Dad played everything straight and it worked out. He is a smart, conservative, long-term-think kind of guy. He used to say that there’s no such thing as easy money, and anybody who tells you otherwise is lying.”

Steve’s mother, Gay, taught English at Lloyd High until the first of her three children were born – Steve is the youngest. She was a volunteer and board member at Beechwood Schools and was on the vestry at Trinity Episcopal for years. She volunteers for everything: the annual flower sale, maintaining the church gardens, the rummage sale, tutoring, and on and on. She also is a member of the poetry club at the Mercantile Library. “Mom’s the nurturer of all nurturers, a gardener extraordinaire, and better in the kitchen than anyone I’ve ever met.”

Out of college, Steve painted houses and sold insurance and investments long enough to know he didn’t want to make either one a career. He knew he wanted to work for himself, and saw the law as his best option.

“I opened my first law office in East Walnut Hills and had the incredibly good luck of renting office space from an attorney who became unable to practice basically the same day I became a lawyer. The guy had hundreds of clients who needed representation, so another brand new lawyer and I went to work. I had all the clients I could handle my first week in practice. As my clients grew, I grew.”

He says the worst stress in his work happens when a client wants to take action that Steve sees as throwing good money after bad. “There are times to litigate, but you have to go into it knowing there’s light at the end of the tunnel. You don’t do it just for the exercise because litigation always causes wear and tear on all involved.”

Steve is a litigator – in his words, a low-pressure litigator. “You get more bees with honey than hitting someone with a baseball bat. There’s a time for both, but it’s better for the blood pressure to keep things in perspective. Some attorneys take on their clients’ emotions. My job is not to be my client – my job is to represent my client.”

The best client-lawyer relationships have high comfort levels, Steve says. “My clients are my friends. My biggest clients are people I vacation with and have dinner with. That is most of my business. When clients hire me, I am as interested in their success as they are.”


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