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

Boutique product liability firm Bowman and Brooke LLP plays a preeminent role in the automotive space, representing a wide array of manufacturers in client relationships that often span decades. Drawing on a strong trial bench the firm defends clients in a full range of litigations from class actions and mass consolidated actions to personal injury cases involving severe injuries and fatalities. Its expertise in advanced driver-assistance systems puts it at the cutting edge of industry developments. Firm chair Paul Cereghini in Phoenix is one of the top go-to trial lawyers in this space. Bard Borkon in Minneapolis also co-heads the group together with Tom Branigan in Detroit. San-Jose-based Vincent Galvin continues to be a prominent lawyer in this field, and Joel Smith in Columbia is involved in the high-profile litigation surrounding Takata air bag non-deployment as overall lead counsel to Honda. Daniel Bauch joined the firm in October 2020 from American Honda Motor.