Walter Joseph Smith Jr. ’61

June 5, 2013

Spring 2014

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Walter Joseph Smith Jr.'61 was a Washington, D.C., trial lawyer and mediator for the district’s Superior Court. He passed away on June 5, 2013, at the age of 77.

Smith was born in Manhattan in 1936 and grew up in New York City and Westhampton Beach, N.Y. After graduating from Hamilton College with high honors in 1958, he received his J.D. from Columbia Law School in 1961. The following year, after graduating from the U.S. Naval Justice School, Smith was commissioned as an officer. As a lieutenant in the Navy from 1962 to 1967, he spent time serving on a destroyer before being assigned to the Judge Advocate General’s Corps.

Smith was a partner in the Manhattan-based law firm Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker for nearly 20 years and the managing partner of the firm’s Washington, D.C., office for a decade. In 1996, he opened his own law office, which specialized in litigation. In recent years, Smith served as a mediator for the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

A grandson of Alfred E. Smith, the former governor of New York and the 1928 Democratic presidential candidate, Smith was the author of Let’s Look at the Record: A Grandson’s Reflections on Alfred E. Smith and an avid collector of political memorabilia. He also regularly published law journal articles on topics ranging from insurance protection in products liability to the role architects and engineers play in construction claims.

Smith is survived by his wife, Felicitas Von Zeschau Smith; his daughters, Caroline Smith Pickering and Alexandra Smith; four siblings; and three grandchildren.

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