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WM Michael Smith

  • Profile
  • Credentials
  • Community Involvement
Bio

Award-Winning Yuma Criminal Defense Lawyer

Michael was admitted to the Arizona Bar in 1969; Arizona and U.S. District Court, District of Arizona; U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit; and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Michael has represented defendants in cases ranging from capital murder to DUI. He has over 40 years of extensive trial experience in both major criminal defense and serious injury cases. In addition, he was also rated AV Preeminent® by Martindale-Hubbell® in 2016.

His past practice includes civil and criminal litigation, domestic relations, personal injury, practice before federal, state and local courts and administrative agencies, commercial law and practice in the United States Bankruptcy Court. Today, his practice is now limited primarily to civil and criminal litigation with an emphasis on personal injury matters, criminal defense, and representation of the Cocopah Indian Tribe as its general counsel.

Memberships

  • County Attorney, Yuma County, Arizona, 1971-1975
  • Member and President, Board of Education, Yuma School District #1, Yuma, Arizona, 1976
  • Member, Board of Directors, 1976-1991 and Chairman, 1984 and 1990, Yuma Regional Medical Center
  • Chairman, Board of Directors, Arizona Voluntary Hospital Federation, 1991
  • Member, State Bar of Arizona
  • Yuma County Bar Association – President, 1980
  • Arizona County Attorneys' Association – President, 1974
  • Yuma Area Law Enforcement Association – President, 1974
  • Special Deputy Yuma County Attorney, 1983-present
  • General Counsel, Cocopah Indian Tribe, 1983-present

Publications, Lectures & Professional Committees

  • Lecturer for the State Bar of Arizona Seminar on the New Bankruptcy Code.
  • Lecturer for Law School Forum, University of Arizona, College of Law, on "Practice as a Sole Practitioner.”
  • Lecturer for the State Bar of Alabama on the "Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure.”
  • Lecturer for the Arizona Justices of the Peace Association on the “Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure.”
  • Lecturer for Arizona Judicial Conference on “Drug Enforcement, Prosecution and Its Present Status.”
  • Appointed by the Chief Justice, Arizona Supreme Court, to serve on the Committee to draft Rules of Procedure for the Arizona State Grand Jury.
  • Served on a subcommittee for the State Bar of Arizona on Local Bankruptcy Rules.
  • Lecturer for State Bar of Arizona seminars for Public Lawyers and presentation of material entitled “Is It a County Highway or Isn’t It?”
  • Written several significant published school opinions as the Yuma County Attorney which were reviewed by the Arizona Attorney General and remained unchanged.
  • Served on the Arizona State Bar Committee on the Future of the Profession, Interdisciplinary Practice. Appointed by Honorable Stephen M. McNamee, Chief United States District Judge, to serve as a Lawyer Representative from the District of Arizona to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference.

Honors & Awards

  • 1968-69 President of the Student Bar Association, University of Arizona College of Law
  • 1974 Arizona County Attorney of the Year
  • 1975 Special recognition by the United States Attorney, District of Arizona for meritorious service in the attainment of justice.
  • 1975 President, Arizona County Attorneys’ Association
  • 1982 Unanimously nominated by the Arizona Judicial Nominating Commission for Judge of the Arizona Court of Appeals.
  • 1983 Designated as one (1) of the Best Lawyers in America, field of Debtors’ and Creditors’ Rights, State of Arizona, in publication entitled "The Best Lawyers in America” by Naifeh and Smith, Copyright 1983.
  • 1985 Unanimously nominated by the Arizona Judicial Nominating Commission for Judge of the Arizona Court of Appeals.
  • 1997 Received an “A” rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory. The “A” rating is the highest rating available. It is peer originated and there are only 20 Yuma lawyers with this rating.

Prior Law Practice & Experience

  • 1983-1999 - Served as Special Deputy County Attorney for Yuma County as special counsel for the Department of Public Works, Flood Control District, Department of Development Services and Yuma County Jail District.
  • Prior trial experience in courts of record of cases tried to verdict or judgment (rather than settled) is approximately 130. He was sole counsel in all but approximately 5 cases and in these he was co-counsel.
  • Prior Appellate Court Experience: 8 published opinions in State of Arizona, 1 published opinion before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and 1 case briefed to the U. S. Supreme Court (Def. Pet. For Cert. Denied).
  • Completed death penalty defense of criminal defendant
  • June, 1969 - January, 1970
    • Law Clerk for the Hon. James "Duke" Cameron, Chief Judge, Arizona Court of Appeals, Division 1
  • January, 1970 - August, 1970
    • Coconino County Attorney's Office Coconino County Courthouse Flagstaff, Arizona 86001 (Deputy County Attorney)
  • August, 1970 - September, 1975
    • Yuma County Attorney's Office Yuma County Courthouse Yuma, Arizona 85364 (1970-71 Deputy County Attorney) (1971-75 County Attorney)
  • September, 1975 - May, 1977
    • 230 South Third Avenue Yuma, Arizona 85364 (Sole Practitioner)
  • May, 1977 - June, 1979
    • RICHARDS, SMITH & SMITH, P.C. 200 South Third Avenue Yuma, Arizona 85364 (Partner)
  • June, 1979 - March, 1986
    • 219 South Second Avenue Yuma, Arizona 85364 (WM. MICHAEL SMITH, P.C.)
  • March, 1986 – Present
    • BOWMAN, SMITH & KALLEN, P.L.L.C. (fka.) BOWMAN & SMITH, P.C. (Partner)
Education
  • Bachelor of Science University of Arizona - University 1966
  • Juris Doctor University of Arizona - Graduate School 1969
Community Involvement

OFFICER OR DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS ENTERPRISES

  • Yuma Regional Medical Center 1976-1991 Member, Board of Directors 1984 & 1990 Chair, Board of Directors
  • This position primarily involved establishing management policy, credentialing of physicians, quality assurance of physicians and staff and adopting budgets for a 287 bed acute care hospital with approximately 900 employees and an annual budget of approximately ninety million dollars ($90,000,000).
  • Arizona Hospital Federation 1987-1991 Member, Board of Directors 1990 Chair, Board of Directors