Lisa L. Smith

Partner Buffalo
Lisa Smith

Lisa is a creative and seasoned litigator with a national practice focused on complex commercial, product liability, class action, toxic tort, environmental and premises liability cases throughout the country.

Leader of the Product Liability and Mass Tort Litigation Practice Team, co-leader of the Life Sciences and Health Effects Team and co-leader of the Class Action Practice Team, Lisa plays an active role in leading litigation at Phillips Lytle. In addition, she sat as member of the firm’s Governing Committee and participates as a vital member of the firm’s Strategic Planning Committee.

Lisa has decades of experience in litigating high-stakes product liability, toxic tort and environmental cases, often in multijurisdiction and class action settings. She advises companies on regulatory approval and compliance, product labeling and risk management. She is well equipped in handling complex litigation across multiple jurisdictions, with a focus on the defense of pharmaceutical, chemical and other product liability cases, as well as environmental claims.

Lisa’s practice also includes representing research hospitals, hospital systems and emerging medical technology companies. From her days as a biology major in college to her many years serving as national science counsel to global pharmaceutical companies, she has a decades-long focus on how science and scientific innovation can improve people’s lives. She currently serves on the board of directors for MedTech.

For every client, Lisa believes in getting to the right result as quickly and cost-effectively as possible in order to save time, money and reputations. She deploys early and aggressive case assessment to plot out the most efficient paths to case resolution. Lisa understands that a key to success in any complex case is understanding the industry and how the litigation impacts the client.

Lisa is a mentor to others on her team, guiding their litigation strategy choices and imparting the values of client service and responsiveness that are the hallmarks of her practice.

Lisa is a dedicated advocate for women in the law, and deeply committed to charitable and pro bono work, including having represented migrant workers, AIDS patients and many other groups during her 27 years in the legal community. She also serves vice president of The Pink Pillow Project, Inc., a breast cancer charity she co-founded.


Honors & Awards

  • Global Top 200 Psychedelic Lawyers, 2024
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America®
  • Selected for the Upstate New York Super Lawyers® list, 2007-2008, 2011-2023
  • Fellow, The Trial Lawyer Honorary Society, Litigation Counsel of America™, 2019
  • Profiles in Diversity Journal’s 18th Annual Women Worth Watching® Award Recipient
  • Business First of Buffalo Women of Influence Award, 2016
  • Honoree of the New York State Bar Association Empire State Counsel® Program for Pro Bono Work, 2014, 2015
  • Women Who Mean Business Award, Business First of Buffalo, 2004
  • National Philanthropy Day 2003, Distinguished Honoree Award
  • Business First of Buffalo 40 Under 40 Award, 2003
  • Edmund S. Muskie Pro Bono Award, American Bar Association Tort and Insurance Practice Section
  • Distinguished Recent Graduate Award, Case Western Reserve University Law Alumni Association
  • The U.S. Congressional Coalition on Adoption “Angels in Adoption” Award, 2000

Education & Admissions

  • Case Western Reserve University School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, 1989
  • Grove City College, B.S., Biology, cum laude, 1986
Admitted to Practice
  • New York
  • District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern and Western Districts of New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court


Reported Decisions
  • Tedesco v. A.P. Green Industries, Inc., 8 N.Y.3d 243 (2007)
  • Olejniczak v. E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, 79 F. Supp. 2d 209 (W.D.N.Y. 1999)
  • Gottstine v. Dunlop Tire Corporation, 272 A.D.2d 863 (4th Dep’t 2000)
Reported Decisions (pro bono)
  • In re Adoption of Jarrett, 168 Misc. 2d 627 (N.Y. Fam. Ct. 1995), rev’d., 224 A.D.2d 1029 (4th Dep’t (1996), appeal dismissed, 88 N.Y.2d 960, appeal after remand, 230 A.D.2d 513 (4th Dep’t 1997), appeal dismissed, 90 N.Y.2d 935 (1997), leave to appeal denied, 91 N.Y.2d 804 (1997), cert. denied, Johnson v. Doe, 524 U.S. 918 (1998)

Speaking Engagements

View All
  • Presenter, Evolving Regulatory Landscape for Psychedelic Medications, New York Life Sciences Innovation Showcase/Investor Event, MedTech, June 2023
  • Panelist, Western Alliance Bank’s Annual Class Action Law Forum, March 2023
  • Panelist, Buffalo Business First Table of Experts: Women in Law, December 2022
  • Presenter, “Enhancing Your FDA Regulatory Compliance Process,” “Harnessing Our Energy to Advance the Bio/Med Industry,” MedTech 2021, November 2021
  • Speaker, “COVID Cases – Who’s Phishing, Who’s Legit?” Class Action National Virtual Institute 2020, American Bar Association, October 2020
  • Presenter, “Reopening Safely: Regulations, Guidelines and Strategies,” COVID-19 Comeback Series, Phillips Lytle Webinar, May 2020
  • Co-Chair, “Mastering Class Action Lawsuits: All You Need to Know,” New York State Bar Association, Class Action CLE Program, January 2019

Activities & Professional Associations

Present Activities

  • Buffalo Charter School for Applied Technologies, Vice President of the Board of Trustees
  • E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, Engagement Partner
  • Irish Classical Theatre Company, Vice President of the Board of Trustees
  • Law360 Life Sciences Editorial Advisory Board, 2021-2022
  • MedTech, Board of Directors
  • The Pink Pillow Project Breast Cancer Charity, Co-Founder
    • Board of Directors, Vice President

Past Activities

  • Kenan Center, Inc., Board of Governors, Past President
  • Danang/Quang Nam Fund, Inc., Secretary
  • Women’s Law Center, Inc., Board of Directors
  • New Directions Youth and Family Services, Inc., Board of Governors
  • Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Board of Directors

Professional Associations

  • American Bar Association
    • Litigation Section
      • Discovery Sanctions Subcommittee, Former Co-Chair
      • Mandatory Prediscovery Disclosure, Former Co-Chair
      • Pretrial Practice & Discovery Committee, Former Co-Chair
    • Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section (TIPS)
  • Bar Association of Erie County
    • Federal Practice Committee
  • Defense Research Institute
  • New York State Bar Association
    • Commercial and Federal Law Section
    • Torts and Insurance Compensation Law Section

Articles & Publications


  • Co-Author, “Major Milestone for Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy: Lykos Therapeutics Submits New Drug Application to the FDA for MDMA-Assisted Therapy for PTSD,” New York Law Journal, January 2024
  • Co-Author, “Amended Federal Rule 702 and Expert Admissibility: A Rule That Hit the Ground Running,” The National Law Review, December 2023
  • Co-Author, “FDA Draft Guidance on Clinical Trials for Psychedelics: A Closer Look,”, July 2023
  • Co-Author, “FDA Issues Draft Guidance on Diversity and Inclusion in Clinical Trials,” National Law Review, August 2022
  • Co-Author, “Everyday Epidemiology: How the Pandemic Brought Science to the Forefront of Public Consciousness,” Buffalo Business First, March 2022
  • Co-Author, “Cannabis Forethought: Labeling, Warnings and Risk Mitigation,” Buffalo Business First, February 2022
  • Co-Author, “How Medical Device Cos. Can Limit Enforcement, Legal Risks,” Law360, December 2021
  • Co-Author, “Baby Food Contamination Cases Face Class Action Hurdles,” Law360, June 2021
  • Co-Author, “Freedom to Innovate: Lessons From the COVID-19 Pandemic,” Buffalo Business First, March 2021