Brian Smith

Brian D. Smith

Of Counsel
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Covington & Burling LLP
One CityCenter
850 Tenth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001-4956
Tel: +1 202 662 5090



  • The George Washington University Law School, J.D., 2002
    • With Highest Honors
    • Anne Wells Branscomb Award (for graduating first in the class of evening law students)
    • George Washington Law Review, Senior Managing Editor
    • Moot Court Board, Member
  • College of William and Mary, B.A., 1994

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Maryland

Brian Smith advises clients on challenging public policy matters that combine legal and political risks and opportunities.

Mr. Smith represents companies and individuals facing high-profile and high-risk investigations, congressional investigations, and criminal and civil investigations with political or public relations implications. He assists companies and executives responding to formal and informal inquiries from Congress and executive branch agencies for documents, information, and testimony, and he conducts internal investigations to assess legal risks. He has prepared numerous CEOs and other senior executives to appear before Congress in oversight hearings.

Mr. Smith develops and executes government relations initiatives for clients seeking actions by Congress and the executive branch. He has led strategic efforts resulting in legislation enacted by Congress and official actions and public engagement at the most senior levels of the U.S. government. He has significant experience in legislative drafting and has prepared multiple bills enacted by Congress and legislation passed in nearly every state legislature.

Prior to joining Covington, Mr. Smith served in the White House as Assistant to the Special Counsel to President Clinton. He handled matters related to the White House’s response to investigations, including four independent counsel investigations, a Justice Department task force investigation, two major oversight investigations by the House of Representatives and the Senate, and several other congressional oversight investigations.

Mr. Smith is an Associate Professorial Lecturer in Law at the George Washington University Law School.

Representative Matters

Congressional Investigations

  • Representing numerous individuals and companies involved in several recent high-profile congressional investigations, including investigations related to the Affordable Care Act,, politically active nonprofit organizations, spending by the General Services Administration, and federal grant programs supported by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the Stimulus).
  • Representing a world-leading consumer products manufacturer in a major investigation by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform regarding high-profile recalls of over-the-counter medicines. The investigation included multiple hearings and testimony by two senior corporate executives, including the CEO.
  • Representing a major financial services company in congressional investigations conducted by the House Committee on Financial Services and the House Committee on the Judiciary concerning residential foreclosures. A significant complicating factor was widespread private and state attorneys general litigation on the same subject matter.


  • Representing an individual investigated for operating a drone in Washington, D.C.
  • Representing a manufacturer of commercial and business aircraft on U.S. government relations, trade policy, and government procurement strategies.
  • Representing a large international airline in a major NTSB investigation of an accident involving a wide-body aircraft resulting in multiple fatalities. Managed engagement with the NTSB, prepared company executives for public hearings, engaged directly with Board members, and managed the response to media interest in the accident and investigation.

Previous Experience

  • The White House, Office of the Counsel to the President (1997-1998)
  • U.S. Department of Labor, Special Assistant to the Secretary of Labor (1996)
  • U.S. Department of Labor, Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs (1995)
  • Rep. Alan Wheat (D-Mo.), Assistant Campaign Manager (1994)

Pro Bono

  • Representing a family encouraging Congress to enact an annual national moment of silence in honor of veterans.
  • For a national organization dedicated to youth justice, prepared legislation implementing major revisions to the federal program targeted at juvenile justice and delinquency prevention.
  • Provided advice on legislation related to the treatment of detainees (in connection with the firm’s Guantanamo Bay detainee representation).
  • Advised a homeless advocacy organization on amendments to the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.

Publications and Speeches

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