About Steve Smith


In May of 2017 Steve established Steve Smith ADR LLC. Prior to that, for over five years, he was a Member at Sherman and Howard, LLC, the oldest, and one of the largest law firms based in Denver, Colorado. Smith co-chaired that firm’s International Arbitration and Space Law Practice Groups, and was a member of its international, alternative dispute resolution, government contracts, and commercial litigation practice areas. While at the firm he served as North American Chair for the Arbitration/Litigation Special Business Team for Interlaw, an affiliation of independent law firms in over 70 countries. As described below, prior to joining Sherman and Howard, Smith served as corporate in house counsel in senior legal positions at Lockheed Martin Corporation, the world’s largest aerospace and defense company, for nearly 30 years, before taking early retirement on February 1, 2011.

Smith is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb) and has acted as arbitrator/mediator,  counsel or expert witness in numerous large, complex, multi-party commercial and governmental disputes, ranging from millions to billions of dollars, including aerospace, aviation, national security, satellites, launch vehicle services, breach of contract, intellectual property and technology transfer, construction, toxic torts, discrimination class action, fraud, software licensing, patent infringement, corporate governance, insurance recovery,  proprietary information agreements, corporate transactions, antitrust, business torts, negligence, gross negligence, intentional misconduct, defamation, misappropriation of trade secrets, and white collar and employment matters involving U.S. and non-U.S. parties and law.

Steve is ranked as an arbitrator in Chambers Global and USA. He has served as arbitrator or mediator in major proceedings before the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), the American Arbitration Association (AAA), and the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR). Those matters have involved U.S. and foreign, and civil and common, laws.

He has also served on several international arbitration related Task Forces, including the International Bar Association Task Force on Guidelines for Drafting Arbitration Clauses (Download PDF), and the ICC Task Force on Techniques for Managing Electronic Document Production (Download PDF). Smith was a member of the drafting committee of the ICC Task Force on Effective Management of Arbitration, A Guide for In-House Counsel and Other Party Representatives (Download PDF).

From 1995 until taking early retirement, Smith was Vice President and General Counsel of Lockheed Martin Space Systems—an $8 billion division of Lockheed Martin Corporation. There he handled hundreds of cases with no losses, successfully resolving many billions of dollars of disputes in arbitration and litigation. He was responsible for all legal functions of operating elements reporting to the Space Systems business area, as well as the security and export licensing / compliance functions, and managed over 350 legal, export and security professionals. For many years, Smith held U.S. Department of Defense Top Secret and Secure Compartmented Information security clearances, and has been involved in a large variety of aerospace, defense and national security related matters.

While most of Lockheed Martin’s work is for the U.S. Government, Smith focused significantly on commercial disputes, involving high tech hardware and software products and services and related intellectual property issues, involving complex, high value technologies, with claims from millions to billions of dollars.

Smith also played a lead role in numerous corporate transactions, including Lockheed Martin’s purchases of General Electric’s and General Dynamics’ aerospace assets, and the Lockheed-Martin Marietta merger, including working with U.S. and European antitrust authorities to obtain necessary clearances. Steve also established and had ongoing oversight for the largest U.S.-Russian aerospace joint venture. He also had responsibility for negotiating large domestic and international joint venture agreements, as well as countless contracts for high tech products and services.

Prior positions with Lockheed Martin included Associate and Deputy General Counsel of Lockheed Martin Corporation and General Counsel for Martin Marietta Astronautics, that company’s largest division, and Martin Marietta Data Systems.

Before retiring from Lockheed Martin, Smith was a member of the General Counsel Coordinating Committee of the Colorado Campaign for Inclusive Excellence, which promotes diversity in the legal profession. He continues active participation as a board member for several nonprofit organizations.

Before joining Lockheed Martin in 1981, Smith was in private practice in Washington, D.C., with the law firm of Zuckert, Scoutt & Rasenberger, dealing primarily with aviation, government contract matters, and commercial litigation. While attending law school at Georgetown University, Smith worked full time as a legal clerk for the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission and the Department of Justice.

Steve received his undergraduate degree in Government and Economics from Georgetown University in 1973, and his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 1977, where he was a law journal editor. He resides in Colorado with his wife and two grown children, but travels frequently in the United States and abroad for arbitration hearings and events.