Mr Joel Smith > Bowman and Brooke LLP > Columbia, United States > Lawyer Profile

Bowman and Brooke LLP
1441 MAIN ST, SUITE 1000
United States

Work Department

Product Liability, Automotive, Pharmaceutical


Executive Managing Partner


Joel Smith is a nationally recognized first-chair trial lawyer with more than 30 years of experience dedicated to defending high exposure product liability and mass tort litigation. As lead trial counsel, he has tried to verdict almost 20 high-exposure product liability trials across the country. In recent years, he has been a central figure in two of the biggest product liability crises to hit the automotive industry, including Toyota’s unintended acceleration litigation and Honda’s handling of the massive recall over faulty Takata air bags.
In defending his clients, Joel begins with a robust commitment to understanding a company’s product–how the product works, or how it doesn’t–then drills down to the scientific truth, becoming so well-versed in the most minute of facts and science to fully enable him to teach it to judges, juries, government officials, the media and others.

Named a Product Liability MVP in 2015 by Law360, Joel defends clients in product liability and mass tort litigation, focusing on automotive and pharmaceutical cases. He has represented manufacturers of automobiles, tires, forklifts and other equipment, as well as consumer products. Joel’s experience defending automotive manufacturers in catastrophic injury and wrongful death claims nationwide includes roof crush, air bags, restraints, rollover, crashworthiness, unintended acceleration, and tire defects, among others.

In pharmaceutical litigation, his experience includes the defense of PPA litigation, where Joel was given a first-chair role. He also played a leading role in two MDL Daubert hearings. He was the principal examiner for all defendants in several preservation depositions of MDL experts. In addition, Joel was selected as trial counsel in hormone therapy cases and cases involving infant cough/cold products.

Joel has taught trial advocacy at the University of South Carolina, and has lectured nationally on automotive, pharmaceutical and trial advocacy issues.


Joel is a fellow of The American College of Trial Lawyers, the Product Liability Advisory Council, the Defense Research Institute, the American Bar Association and the South Carolina Defense Trial Attorneys’ Association.


University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D., 1981; College of Charleston, B.A., 1978

Lawyer Rankings

United States > Dispute resolution > Product liability, mass tort and class action - defense: automotive/transport

With bench strength spread across both coasts, niche product liability firm Bowman and Brooke LLP regularly acts as lead trial counsel and national co-ordinating counsel in high-exposure and technically intricate lawsuits in multiple jurisdictions. It has developed a particular strong reputation defending leading car and motorcycle manufacturers, including Toyota, Ford Motor and Honda, and is also at the vanguard of industry developments and the subsequent litigation spawning from the increased computer decision making in vehicles, including disputes arising from airbag control technology, electronic stability control and automatic emergency braking. Vastly experienced Phoenix-based firm chairman Paul Cereghini‘s formidable courtroom skills and subject matter knowledge have ensured that he remains a popular choice for automotive defendants in their highest exposure litigation. San Jose-based Vincent Galvin, Jr. is a favorite among high-profile clients, including Toyota, which he has gained particular acclaim as a result of his work as lead counsel in the well-publicized bellwether “unintended acceleration” trial in 2013. Columbia-based Joel Smith is also recommended and continues to represent Honda against all claims relating to injuries and deaths tied to the much-publicized Takata air bag non-deployment recall. Bard Borkon and Tom Branigan co-chair the automotive practice group from Minneapolis and Detroit respectively.