C-Suite: James W. Smith

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Class of 2017 C Suite James W. Smith Founding Partner/Co-Owner Smith Hurst PLC

Achievements: Recognized by several industry publications as one of the state’s most prominent attorneys in the area of mergers and acquisitions; holds an AV ethics rating from Martindale Hubbell (the highest recognition for a lawyer’s legal ability and professional ethics); member of the Northwest Arkansas Council, an adjunct professor at the UA School of Law and president-elect of Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce board of directors.

What is it that drives you in your career? I think primarily fear. Fear of failure, fear of a lack of knowledge, fear of losing, fear of not delivering the best I can, fear of not succeeding in an endeavor.

What is your favorite thing to do when you are not working? Travel and go to concerts. Every chance I get, I do both.

What has been the most fulfilling moment of your career thus far? Starting my own law firm in 2011 and finding success with it after practicing law for 16 years in a large, well-respected law firm and, accordingly, exchanging a stable and secure position that many lawyers would rightfully love to have for an opportunity that had the promise of success that was very counterbalanced with the possibility of failure. There is a price that is paid for stability and security.

What’s something interesting about you that people would be surprised to learn? I’m a certified scuba diver and have dived all over the Caribbean and Mexico, during the day and at night, and with sharks and other kinds of sea creatures.