OBA Award for Excellence in Insurance Law 2020 Winner Profile: David F. Smye, Q.C.

  • September 23, 2022
  • Katie Di Tomaso

photo of David SmyeDavid F. Smye, Q.C., recipient of the Ontario Bar Association Award for Excellence in Insurance Law 2020 (Regional), was called to the bar in 1972 after accelerating quickly through post-secondary education studying Economics and Political Science and obtaining a degree in Law in only five years. David’s pace remained swift while his legal career made a steep ascent to partner only one year after being called to the bar. David was a founding partner of Mackesy Smye in 1973 where he has continued to practice and lead the firm for nearly 50 years.

David started his litigation practice in criminal law and practiced in both criminal and civil litigation before ultimately moving into civil litigation exclusively, primarily personal injury and insurance law. By 1984, David was already a Certified Specialist in Criminal and Civil Litigation. He was also bestowed the Queen’s Counsel designation.

David’s early years of practice were exceptional and foreshadowed the legal greatness he would later come to demonstrate. Greatness which earned David an invitation to the Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers in 1995 and ultimately an Honourary LL.D. from the Law Society of Upper Canada in 2014.

A strong and serious advocate for his clients, David has conducted dozens of trials before both judges and juries in virtually every manner of personal injury. David has served thousands of clients with his extraordinary advocacy skills, sound judgment, and impeccable integrity. Those fortunate enough to have worked closely with David laud him for his dedication to his clients and for working tirelessly to obtain the best possible legal result.

David was not only instrumental in shaping insurance law in Ontario, he made law. From his unprecedented Ontario Court of Appeal wins in Macartney v. Warner and McIntyre v. Grigg, to name a few, David broadened key legal rights enjoyed by Ontarians today. David possesses broad-ranging litigation skills and strengths which are demonstrated equally in the boardroom and in the courtroom. David was a pivotal and early adopter of utilizing mediation and other alternative dispute resolution methods to obtain solid legal outcomes and encouraged others to do so.

Devoted to service within the legal community, David was an active and contributing member of the Hamilton Law Association. He was the co-founder and past-president of the Hamilton Criminal Lawyers’ Association. David served as a director of the Advocates’ Society. Importantly, he was a valued member of the Hamilton Area Legal Aid Committee for 15 years.