John Smith is a member, partner and co-founder of the law firm of Smith Butz, LLC, in Washington County. He focuses his practice in the areas of commercial litigation, construction litigation, zoning and land use law, municipal law matters and energy law. He is at the forefront of gas lease negotiations, local zoning regulations on drilling, and the litigation of ownership of oil and gas rights. He has tried hundreds of cases representing both individuals, businesses and municipalities in various courts and jurisdictions throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He counsels municipalities and is often appointed as Special Counsel to consult on matters relating to oil and gas laws and litigation issues. Mr. Smith was the lead attorney who successfully argued before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on behalf of Pennsylvania local municipalities in the landmark decision, Robinson Township vs. Commonwealth, wherein the Pennsylvania Supreme Court found several provisions of Act 13, the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Act of 2012, unconstitutional. The Supreme Court’s decision returned to local governments their zoning rights as it relates to oil and gas.
Mr. Smith was admitted to the practice of law in Pennsylvania and New Jersey in 1995. He is licensed to practice law in all Pennsylvania and New Jersey state courts, the United States District Courts for the Western District of Pennsylvania, the Middle District of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, as well as the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. He is a member of the Washington County Bar Association, the Allegheny County Bar Association, the Pennsylvania Bar Association and the New Jersey State Bar Association. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Communication Rhetoric and Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh in 1991 and his Juris Doctor Degree, magna cum laude, from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 1995 He is active in his community providing many pro bono services. He is the founder of his township’s historical society and has taught mock trial to area High School students for many years. He currently serves as the solicitor for Peters Township, East Finley Township and the Washington County Business District Authority.