Terry J. Smith

Top rated employment litigation attorney in Chicago, Illinois

Smith O'Callaghan & White
Terry J. Smith
Smith O'Callaghan & White

Practice Areas: Employment litigation, Employment & labor, Business litigation; view more

Licensed in Illinois since: 1987

Education: Cornell University Law School

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2007 - 2023

Smith O'Callaghan & White

33 N. LaSalle Street
Suite 3600
Chicago, IL 60602 Visit website


As the founding partner at Smith O’Callaghan & White, Terry J. Smith is dedicated to serving clients in the Chicago, Illinois area and throughout the United States. He focuses his practice in the areas of labor and employment law at both the federal and state level. He handles a wide variety of cases, including those involving employment-related litigation, breach of fiduciary duty, non-compete litigation and enforcement, employee pirating, employment counseling, executive compensation, employment discrimination, sexual harassment and theft of trade secrets.

Mr. Smith graduated from Cornell Law School in 1984 and Lawrence University, magna cum laude, in 1981. After graduating from law school, he joined Foley & Lardner LLP, a well-known international law firm, and then joined and became a partner with Schiff Hardin LLP, another well-known large law firm, before establishing his own firm. He is the founding partner of Smith O'Callaghan & White, a labor and employment boutique law firm located in downtown Chicago.

With more than three decades of experience in the legal field, Mr. Smith is admitted to practice in Illinois, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia, as well as before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin, and the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 4th, 6th and 7th Circuits. Recognized for his excellent legal skills and ethics, Mr. Smith has earned the highest possible rating of AV-Preeminent* from his peers through Martindale-Hubbell for the years 2000 - 2022. He additionally holds a 10.0 "Superb" peer review rating through Avvo.

Mr. Smith is a member of The Chicago Bar Association’s Employment Law and Federal Civil Practice committees, the 7th Circuit Bar Association and the American Bar Association’s Section of Labor and Employment Law. He has been responsible for several noteworthy and precedent-setting reported decisions in Illinois and throughout the nation.

*AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished and Martindale-Hubbell Notable are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell® is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Rating™ fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.

Practice areas

Employment litigation: defense, Employment & labor: employer, Business litigation, Business/corporate, Employment & labor: employee

Focus areas

Employment discrimination, Wrongful termination, Retaliation, Employment law - employer, Employment law - employee, Wage & hour laws, Whistleblower, Sexual harassment, Labor law, Trade secret, Non-compete agreements

  • 40% Employment litigation: defense
  • 30% Employment & labor: employer
  • 10% Business litigation
  • 10% Business/corporate
  • 10% Employment & labor: employee

First Admitted: 1984, Wisconsin

Professional Webpage: http://socw.com/terry_j_smith.html

Scholarly Lectures/Writings:
  • Business Section of Chicago Tribune, "Important Noncompete Rulings for 2015," Employment Law360; and "Employment Law Roundtable" in Illinois Legal Times
  • Chicago Law Bulletin's 8th Annual Employment Law Conference, U.S. District Court Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer, Speaker and Panelist, 2013
  • Co-Author, Employment Law360, July 18, 2017, "Use of Inevitable Disclosure Doctrine under Federal Trade Secrets Act" https://www.law360.com/employment/articles/944045/using-the-inevitable-disclosure-doctrine-in-dtsa-cases     
  • Co-Author, Employment Law360, February 1, 2018, "An Expansive View of Non-compete Agreements at Wisconsin High Court" https://www.law360.com/articles/1007285/an-expansive-view-of-noncompetes-at-wis-high-court, 2018
  • Brill v. McDonald's Corporation, 28 F.3d 633 (7th Cir.)
  • Kelley v. Crosfield Catalysts, 135 F.3d 1202 (7th Cir.) and 962 F. Supp. 1047 (N.D. Ill.)
  • Dikcis v. Indopco, Inc., 1997 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5276 (N.D. Ill.) and 1998 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 234 (N.D. Ill.)
  • Johnson v. Northern Indiana Public Service Co. (NIPSCO), 844 F. Supp. 466 (N.D. Ind.)
  • Layne v. Builders Plumbing Supply Company, Inc., 210 Ill. App. 3d 966, 569 N.E. 2d 1104 (Ill. App. 2d Dist.)
  • Wohl v. Spectrum Mfg., Inc., 94 F.3d 353 (7th Cir.)
  • Adamczyk, et al. v. Lever Brothers Company, 991 F. Supp. 931 (N.D. Ill.), 33 F. Supp. 2d 679 (N.D. Ill.) and 1999 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3494 (N.D. Ill.)
  • Messing v. InPhynet Medical Mgmt., et al., 872 F. Supp. 539 (N.D. Ill.)
  • Rose, et al. v. Consolidated Elec. Distributors, Inc., 816 F. Supp. 489 (N.D. Ill.)
  • Rolark v. The University of Chicago Hospitals, 688 F. Supp. 401 (N.D. Ill.) and 1989 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14429, 51 Fair Empl. Prac. Cas. (BNA) 1230 (N.D. Ill.)
  • Johnson v. Indopco, Inc., 887 F. Supp. 1092 (N.D. Ill.), aff'd, 79 F.3d 1150, 1996 U.S. App. LEXIS 6313 (7th Cir.)
  • Ottley v. Anixter Inc., No. 11-2502-JTM, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147763 (D. Kan.)
  • Stevenson v. Unichema North America, 1995 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10547 (N.D. Ill.)
  • Johnson and Wilkes v. Indopco, Inc., 834 F. Supp. 1039 (N.D. Ill.) and 846 F. Supp. 670 (N.D. Ill.)
  • Patton v. The University of Chicago Hospitals, 706 F. Supp. 627 (N.D. Ill.)
Bar/Professional Activity:
  • Seventh Circuit Bar Association
  • District of Columbia, 1984
  • U. S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, 1992
  • U. S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin, 1984
  • American Bar Association, Member, Labor and Employment Law Section
  • Wisconsin, 1984
  • U. S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, 1986
  • U. S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois Trial Bar, 1987
  • Litigation Counsel of America Trial Lawyers Honorary Society, Fellow
  • Illinois, 1987
  • U. S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, 1984
  • U. S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, 1987
  • U. S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin, 1984
  • Chicago Bar Association, Member, Labor and Employment Law and Federal Civil Practice Committees
  • Henry M. Wriston Scholar
  • Named Illinois Super Lawyer in Labor and Employment Law twelve consecutive years, Chicago magazine, 2007-2020
  • Featured as America's Premier Lawyers, Forbes Magazine's Sky Radio
  • Highest rating for legal ability and ethics, AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell
  • Recognized by peers as a Leading Lawyer Employment Law: Management, Law Bulletin Publishing Company, 2009-2020
  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • Inclusion in Corporate Counsel Edition of Super Lawyers magazine, 2009 and 2010
Educational Background:
  • Lawrence University, B.A., magna cum laude, 1981
  • Cornell Law School, J.D., 1984
Industry Groups:
  • Distribution
  • Financial Services
  • Industrial
  • Law Firms
  • Technology

These comments were made by fellow attorneys during the annual nomination process.

“The best lawyer with whom I've ever dealt.”

Office location for Terry J. Smith

33 N. LaSalle Street
Suite 3600
Chicago, IL 60602

Phone: 312-419-1000


17 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2007 - 2023

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