Michele Y. Smith Elected President of the International Association of Defense Counsel


The International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC) has elected Michele Y. Smith, a shareholder at MehaffyWeber, P.C. in Houston, Texas, as president of the IADC for 2023-24. The announcement was made at the organization’s 2023 Annual Meeting July 14 in Waimea, Hawaii.

The IADC is the preeminent invitation-only global legal organization for attorneys who represent corporate and insurance interests.

“I am honored and grateful for the opportunity to lead the IADC and its outstanding membership,” Ms. Smith said. “Through the IADC, I have made lasting relationships which are professionally and personally meaningful. I look forward to working with our members to further the mission of the IADC, to promote the rule of law, and to protect the civil justice system.”

Ms. Smith has been a member of the IADC since 2005, serving as president-elect during the 2022-23 term. She also has served as chair of the organization’s Civil Justice Response, In-House and Law Firm Management, and CLE committees, and as chair of the CLE program for the 2017 IADC Annual Meeting. In addition, she is a member of the IADC’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and International committees, and previously served on the organization’s Nominating and Membership committees. She also was a faculty member with the IADC’s Trial Academy in 2013. During her service on the IADC board, she worked as liaison for the CLE, Trial Academy, and Construction Law and Litigation committees.

Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Ms. Smith has represented clients in complex litigation matters, spanning a wide variety of areas including products and premises liability, pharmaceutical, commercial litigation and construction defect litigation. In addition, she has represented diverse businesses in sophisticated mass tort causes of action involving numerous chemical substances and exposure. She has also been involved in several high-stakes arbitrations. She currently chairs her firm’s Diversity, Equality, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) committee, and has served on her firm’s Management, Marketing, Recruiting and Compensation committees.

In addition to her current leadership role with the IADC, Ms. Smith is an Advocate member of the American Board of Trial Advocates. She also served on the board of the Lamar University Foundation and was a member of the Texas Pattern Jury Charge Committee for Products Liability. Previously, Ms. Smith served as president of the Texas Association of Defense Counsel, Jefferson County Bar Association, and Jefferson County Young Lawyers’ Association.  She also is very active in her community having served on numerous charitable boards, including for the Shorkey Center, which serves children with special needs.

In addition to her inclusion in The Best Lawyers® in America lawyer referral publication multiple years, Ms. Smith was recognized by Best Lawyers as “Lawyer of the Year” in Beaumont, Texas, for Litigation – Insurance (2024), Production Liability Litigation – Defendants (2015), Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants (2017), Insurance Law (2017, 2023), and Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions-Defendants (2019). She also has been included in the Thomson Reuters Texas Super Lawyers list annually for more than a decade (2005-2023).

Ms. Smith is the recipient of the President’s Award from the Texas Association of Defense Counsel (2010) and numerous honors from the Jefferson County Bar Association, including the Cris Quinn Award (2014) and the Kenneth Lewis Professionalism Award (2019). She received the St. Thomas More Society Award in 2017 from St. Thomas More Society of Southeast Texas.

Ms. Smith earned her J.D. from Baylor University School of Law. She also holds a Bachelor of Administration in accounting from Lamar University.

IADC activities benefit the organization’s members and their clients, as well as the civil justice system, the legal profession, and society in general. In addition to its core purpose involving professional development for members, the IADC takes a leadership role in many areas of legal reform. IADC members are among the world’s leading corporate and insurance lawyers at large and small law firms and senior counsel in corporate law departments, as well as corporate and insurance executives. Members represent the largest corporations around the world, including many of the companies listed in the FORTUNE 500.

About the International Association of Defense Counsel

The IADC is the preeminent invitation-only global legal organization for attorneys who represent corporate and insurance interests. Founded in 1920, the IADC has members who hail from six continents, 47 countries and territories, and all 50 U.S. states. The core purpose of the IADC are to enhance the development of skills, promote professionalism, and facilitate camaraderie among its members and their clients, as well as the broader civil justice community. For more information, visit www.iadclaw.org.