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Don Smith

Senior Director, Diversity and Professional Development
Crowell Morning
Washington, DC

Don Smith is the Senior Director, Diversity and Professional Development at Crowell Morning, serving the dual role of developing and implementing all of the firm’s cross-department professional development training programs and initiatives while overseeing all diversity and inclusive initiatives in the firm’s New York and Washington, D.C. offices.  Don’s responsibilities include managing all aspects of attorney professional development, including training programs, CLE, mentoring, performance reviews, and the associate committees.  In addition, Don also creates strategies and programs to improve diversity and maintain an inclusive work environment, overseeing the firm’s affinity groups and serving on the firm’s recruitment committees.  Before assuming his current position, Don spent five years as a corporate attorney in the New York office of Fried Frank and the Washington, D.C. office of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, specializing in mergers and acquisitions, private equity, capital markets, and venture capital work. Don received a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley and J.D. from Howard University School of Law.  Don currently serves as Chair of the Professional Development Consortium (PDC) Board of Directors and is an active member of the National Association of Law Placement (NALP).

Recent speaking engagements:

  • Fewer Law School Applicants, More Adjustments: Developing Strategies for Marketing and Recruiting Top Students,” NALP Annual Conference, Boston MA, April 13, 2016
  • “The Many Faces of Talent Management: How to Succeed As a Multi-Role Talent Manager,” NALP Annual Conference, Boston, MA, April 13, 2016
  • “Deconstructing Ownership of Work,” Charting Your Own Course Conference, Orlando, FL, February 6, 2016
  • “Recharging Mentoring with Mentoring Moments,” Professional Development Consortium Summer Conference, Chicago, IL, July 9, 2015
  • “The First 90 Days: Enhancing the On-Boarding and Integration of our Diverse Lawyers,” NALP Annual Conference, Chicago, IL, April 24, 2015
  • “Leveraging Associate Evaluations as an Asset,” Charting Your Own Course Conference, Orlando, FL, February 8, 2015
  • “Taking the Soft Out of Soft Skills: Why Focusing on Core Skills Development Develops Better Lawyers,” Professional Development Consortium Summer Conference, Montreal, Canada, July 11, 2014
  • “Tailor-made Mentoring: Two Law Firm’s Perspectives on Implementing, Refocusing and Sustaining Formal Programs,” NALP Annual Conference, Seattle, WA, April 10, 2014

About Don: 

What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done (professionally or personally)?

One of the most daring things I’ve done professionally and personally was the leave the practice of law.  After all the time and energy invested in my legal education and the investment in my early legal career, walking away to pursue a career in professional development was extremely difficult.

If you were a superhero, what powers would you have?

It would have to be either i) time control, ii) the power to heal, or iii) the ability to talk to animals.  All would be really cool.

What’s your favorite family tradition?

I do a thing with my daughters called, “weekly walks.”  Although not all the time a “walk,” it is our time to break away from our hectic schedules and be fully present with each other.  It know it’s been impactful because my five year old recently “reminisced” about the special time we spent teaching her how to skip rocks at a local creek.