Katherine M. Smith
Associate
(304) 262-3538
Office: Martinsburg
Energy
Business
Employment
Litigation
J.D. West Virginia University
B.A. West Virginia University, magna cum laude
Licensure: WV
See Education

Biography

Katie Smith approaches litigation with the end game in mind. She works with clients to learn their expectations, helps them understand the legal process and case strategy, and works to achieve the best outcome based on client goals. Clients benefit from Katie's deep understanding of the West Virginia state and federal court systems, which she gained as a Judicial Law Clerk for Chief Judge Gina M. Groh, United States District Judge for the Northern District of West Virginia, and as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for Jefferson County. 

Katie focuses her practice in general litigation and is a member of the firm’s Insurance Company Team and General Litigation group. Katie’s litigation practice has a concentration in the defense of insurance companies, state agencies, government officials, educational institutions, businesses, and private individuals. She defends against a wide array of tort and breach of contract claims, including wrongful death, constitutional torts, workplace injury, and first‑ and third‑party insurance claims. 

Primarily working with insured clients, Katie enjoys learning the ins and outs of different industries and uses that knowledge to customize a defense strategy for their unique needs. Katie’s recent projects have been for law enforcement agencies and officials, boards of education, higher education institutions, insurance companies, and national and local businesses.  

Work Experience

2018 Steptoe & Johnson PLLC
2018 Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, Charles Town, WV
2017-2018 Steptoe & Johnson PLLC
2015-2017 Judicial Law Clerk, Honorable Chief Judge Gina M. Groh, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of WV
2014 Legal Extern, United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of WV
2013 Legal Intern, Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, Charles Town, WV

Speaking Engagements

PUBLICATIONS

"The Reach of Arbitration Agreements in Wrongful Death Cases: Considerations at the State and Federal Levels in West Virginia," 2018 Defense Trial Counsel of West Virginia Notebook of Articles

"Risks in Denying Coverage Based Upon Failure to Cooperate: A High Bar in West Virginia," Spring 2018, Steptoe & Johnson Insurance Company Team Newsletter

"A Potential Crime of Violence: The Residual Clause and What it Means for Inmates," Criminal Law Bulletin, Volume 51, Issue 4, Summer 2015

"No More Simple Battery in West Virginia: The Newly Amended § 61-2-9 and § 61-2-28," 117 W. Va. L. Rev. Online 21, Monday, February 16, 2015

Key Experience

Successfully defended state trooper on appeal with the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, resulting in affirmance of district court’s order granting summary judgment based on qualified immunity with respect to claims of unreasonable and warrantless search, false arrest, and violation of right to privacy
Obtained pre-discovery dismissal of claims of federal and state due process violations, Fourth Amendment unreasonable seizure, and negligent training and oversight alleged against state trooper and superintendent of the state police
Awarded dismissal on behalf of state trooper against claims of judicial deception, violation of procedural due process, tortious interference, fraud, state constitutional tort, and negligence

Memberships & Awards

Professional
Certified, West Virginia Magistrate Court Mediator (2013-Present)
Senior Research Editor, West Virginia Law Review, Vols. 116 and 117
Clinical Law Program, West Virginia Innocence Project (2014-2015)
CALI Award: Family Law and Appellate Advocacy; Pro Bono Distinction