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About RJ Smith

RJ Smith has been an editor for Los Angeles Magazine and The Village Voice, and a contributor to Spin and Details. He has written for The New York Times Magazine, Elle, GQ, Grand Royal and the Los Angeles Times. He is the author of four books, including The One: The Life and Music of James Brown and the upcoming Chuck Berry: An American Life. A former Visiting Scholar at the Getty Research Institute and Community Scholar at USC, Smith lives in Los Angeles.

Articles Written by RJ Smith

Niloufar Park talks business, food and connections

The Seattle attorney has a special place in her heart for her hospitality clients

The Two-Culture Edge

Irene Y. Lee’s motto is ‘avoid drama’; opposing attorneys don’t always help

'A Presence You Can't Learn'

Jennifer Moore is eloquent, charismatic—and takes no prisoners

Alan vs. the Volcanoes

Taking on a mountain—occasionally, even an avalanche—keeps life in balance for Alan Smith

A Fighter and a Gentleman

Gordon Greenwood is known for his civility, but he’ll go to the mat in the hunt for justice

The Big Picture

Jill Smith is the hip, sardonic attorney making deals for Lego, Rube Goldberg and Godzilla

Charity Begins at Home

But local lawyers are reaching out to neighbors here and across the world

Fighting Fire

Five attorneys talk about the massive class action against PG&E

Won't Back Down

Alreen Haeggquist and Amber Eck have taken on the Salk Institute, Fairmont Grand, and Donald Trump

The Ties That Bind

Brian Neary came from a 'city of hope' and it hasn’t left him

Calming the Waters

Robert Brandt tries to lower temperatures in family law cases and raise them at the ping-pong table

The Wading Game

From fly-fishing to courtrooms, Carey Matovich wades instead of floats, and it’s made all the difference

Call of Duty

Seattle litigator John Devlin makes sure the needs of Rangers and their families don’t get overlooked 

The Master

Philip X. Wang brings a chess-champion mind to patent law

The Housing Authority

Antoinette C. Oliver’s collaborative Landlord Tenant Project has helped thousands navigate the public housing system

Our Man in Nicaragua and Guatemala and Germany

Aaron Freiwald wrote his way through the world before taking to the law

The Unsticking Point

How Miriam Barish arrived at the intersection of law and gender

Larry Spiller Kimmel's Second Chance

After Wilmington attorney Paul Spiller, his wife and two of his three children were killed in a plane crash, Spiller’s law partner (and brother-in-law) Mort Kimmel adopted the only survivor, Larry Spiller Kimmel, who has been paying it forward since. 

Wearing the White Hat

Former Marine K. Knox Nunnally still works toward the greater good

The Calm Man in the Arena

For Ron Makarem, it’s about righting wrongs while enjoying the journey

Mike Ungar’s Town

The business litigator is part of a Cleveland legal community that punches above its weight class

The New Kid on the Block

From the Philippines to LA to St. Louis to KC, and now into new digs in midtown, José Bautista brings it all back home

Making a Life-Size Difference

The community’s need can be overwhelming, but Rachel Gusman just keeps chipping away

Notes from Justice Souter

Clerking for a SCOTUS judge left a lasting impact on Riyaz Kanji

Public Access

Michael Nunez fights for the right of people of all abilities to enjoy the good things in life

Drawing on Experience

A little humor never hurts—just ask Kennewick litigator Jay Flynn

The Long Commute

For David Nevin, the miles between Boise and Guantánamo Bay are secondary to justice for high-profile client Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

Kill ’em With Calmness

Before you know what hit you, Patti Dodge has opened you up

Reflecting with Marie-Joëlle Khouzam

To this Columbus lawyer, it’s all about listening before jumping in

Turning Over the Soil

Whether in law, cattle or politics, Todd Graves knows if you strategize too long, you’ll never get the hole dug

Cream of the Crop

Cannon and Dunphy have built powerful legal careers from lessons they learned growing up in Wauwatosa

Justice Net

Why so many lawyers do pro bono work—and why so many people still slip through the holes


IP specialist Jennifer Ko Craft thinks way outside the box—or any other many-sided shape you throw her way

The Incredible Shrinking Jury Trial

For better or for worse—depending on your perspective—lawsuits and criminal cases are increasingly being resolved outside the courtroom

The Classic American Urban Story

“Lifetime Detroiter” Saul Green fights every day for his city and its people

The Green Team

The eco-friendly environs of the Romano Law Group

Family Ties

How Craig Bashein helped the Chardon High victims’ families

Practicing Peace

For environmental lawyer and guardian ad litem LeAnne Burnett, it’s not about competition; it’s about relationships

Walking Tall

Riyaz A. Kanji goes to bat for tribal clients

Polsenberg’s Charge

Appellate lawyer Dan Polsenberg gets 15 minutes of fame—250 times and counting

The Big Guy

Pierce Hamblin’s tactical weapons include humor, listening skills and powers of persuasion. Plus an Elvis shrine

The Natural

Litigator E. Powell Miller loves the national pastime and has one of his own: winning multimillion-dollar cases


Steve Morris is rooted in Las Vegas, and he knows the business infrastructure. He also knows what it’s like to play trumpet until four in the morning

Break It Down

Carol Dan Browning’s cases can get abstract, but she speaks to juries in concrete terms

Find Something I Say That Isn’t True

Louisville litigator David Tachau dares his adversaries to find a hole in his story

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