IADC elects LU alum Michele Smith as president

The International Association of Defense Counsel has elected new Board of Directors and members for 2022-2023. The new appointments were announced at the association’s 2022 annual meeting in mid-July in Berlin, Germany. Among eight newly appointed board members is LU alumna Michele Smith ’88, who was named president-elect for the board.
The IADC is a global legal association comprised of the world’s leading insurance lawyers and insurance executives. The IADC board aims to enhance the development of skills, professionalism and camaraderie to serve and benefit the members, their clients as well as the civil justice system, the legal profession and society in general.
With nearly 30 years of experience in the legal field, Smith is the only Texas-based lawyer to serve on the board in this capacity since 1991. LU alum David J. Beck held the feat just 31 years earlier while serving as president of the board. Smith is an LU distinguished alumna and is a member of the President's Circle, Mirabeau Society and is an endowed scholarship donor. She also serves as a Trustee of the LU Foundation, where she chairs the Trustee and Governance Committee. 

Members represent the largest corporations around the world, including many FORTUNE 500 companies. The new IADC board members, along with their law firm or company affiliations, are:

Mark R. Beebe

Adams and Reese LLP
New Orleans, Louisiana USA


Michele Y. Smith

MehaffyWeber, P.C.
Houston, Texas USA


Immediate Past President
Spencer H. Silverglate

Clarke Silverglate, P.A.
Miami, Florida USA


Vice President of Corporate
Mark D. Hansen

Growmark, Inc.
Bloomington, Illinois USA

Alex J. Hagan

Ellis & Winters LLP
Raleigh, North Carolina USA


Board Members

Donna L. Burden
Burden, Hafner & Hansen, LLC
Buffalo, New York USA


Board Member

Joseph D. Cohen
Porter Hedges LLP
Houston, Texas USA


Board Member
Jessalyn H. Zeigler

Bass, Berry & Sims PLC
Nashville, Tennessee USA

About Michele Smith:

For more than 25 years, Michele Y. Smith has represented clients in complex litigation matters. Her practice has spanned a wide variety of areas including products and premises liability, pharmaceutical and construction defect litigation. She also has represented a variety of businesses in sophisticated mass tort causes of action involving numerous chemical substances and exposures and has served on the coordinating team for the state-wide defense of several clients. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the International Association of Defense Council, where she previously served as the past chair of the CLE and In-House Law Firm Management Committees.

Smith is board certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and is well known in the legal community for her leadership skills across multiple legal organizations. She has served as a past president of the Texas Association of Defense Counsel, a past president of the Jefferson County Bar Association, and a past president of the Jefferson County Young Lawyers’ Association. She is an Advocate member of the American Board of Trial Advocates and currently serves on the board of the Lamar University Foundation. She also participates as a member of the Texas Pattern Jury Charge Committee for Products Liability.

Smith also has been honored with numerous accolades over the years. She has been recognized in the Best Lawyers® “Lawyer of the Year” in Beaumont on four separate occasions, for Product Liability Litigation – Defendants (2015), Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants (2017), Insurance Law (2017) and most recently Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants (2019). She has also received the President’s Award by the Texas Association of Defense Counsel (2010) and has been selected to the Texas Super Lawyers List by Thompson Reuters every year for over a decade (2005-2021). She has been honored by the Jefferson County Bar Association with the Cris Quinn Award (2014) and the Kenneth Lewis Professionalism Award (2019). She was named recipient of the St. Thomas More Award in 2017.

Outside of her work at MehaffyWeber, Smith dedicates time and energy to her community through volunteer work and pro bono legal services. Michele has served on the boards of several philanthropic organizations and volunteered at numerous events, including the Spindletop Spin bike ride to raise funds for legal-aid programs, the Julie Rogers Gift of Life Program, the Symphony of Southeast Texas and the Shorkey Center, which offers physical rehabilitation services for children.