Elbridge W. Smith is the President and principal attorney of Smith Himmelmann. He has been representing federal employees for over 35 years. He is a 1970 graduate of Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, and received his law degree from the University of Hawaii, Richardson School of Law in 1977. He is admitted to practice by the Hawaii Supreme Court, the United States District Court of Hawaii, the Federal and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeal, and Court of International Trade (U.S. Customs). He is a member of the Hawaii, American, Federal, and Federal Circuit Bar Associations. He is the President of the Hawaii Chapter, National Employment Lawyers Association, the only professional organization of lawyers (3,000+ nationwide) who specialize in representing individual employees.
Prior to and during law school, he was employed as an Immigration Inspector (INS, Dept of Justice) and then as a Customs Inspector (Dept of Treasury) in Honolulu, Hawaii (now both agencies are combined as Customs and Border Protection, Dept of Homeland Security). He became active as a steward, local director and national officer with the then Customs union NCSA and later with the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU).
He has been in private practice since 1977, with firms concentrating on civil rights and employment interests litigation. He primarily represents individual civilian Federal employees in adverse action appeals, in discrimination complaints, and other employee matters before the MSPB, EEOC and in Federal court, but has also practiced before the FLRA, NLRB, OWCP, SSA, and has represented various federal and private sector unions such as NTEU, AFGE, Metal Trades Council, Federal Firefighters, IBEW, SEIU, the Hawaii Nurses Association, Hawaii Teamsters, Hotel Workers and UPW.
He has appeared on local and national panels on federal employee practice and procedure for the National Employment Lawyers Association and the Federal Circuit Bar Association (and for two years was its MSPB section co-chair). He has presented on federal employee appeal rights at local seminars and meetings, guest lectured at Kapiolani Community College and University of Hawaii in law and legal assistants program courses, and has been an invited guest on the “You and the Law” public-access TV series several times. He authored a short article on Federal Employee Termination Appeals for the 1997 and 2000 Hawaii Women’s Lawyers series, “Our Rights, Our Lives, A Guide To Women’s Legal Rights In Hawaii” and a more substantive article on Federal employee appeal rights was published in the HAWAII BAR JOURNAL, Vol. I, No. 13 (1998).
Over the past 35 years, He has been awarded, or otherwise paid via settlement, attorneys fees at then current rates many times by Federal and State agencies in Title VII or other Section 1988 (Federal court and administrative) cases, in MSPB and EEOC cases, and under the Equal Access to Justice Act and has been responsible for expanding the definition and/or coverage of attorney fees and expenses on occasions. See, e.g., Shimotsukasa v USPS, 18 M.S.P.R. 679 (1998); Michelson v. Cheney, Sec’y of Defense, EEOC Appeal No. 01913684 (1993); Colon v. Dept. of Navy, 58 M.S.P.R. 190 (1993); Batey v. DMA, 92-3570 (Fed. Cir., 1993) (1993 W.L. 500301) [subsequent fee petition granted]; and Russell v. Dept. of Navy, 43 M.S.P.R. 157 (1989).
Mr. Smith has also been named as one of Hawaii’s Top Lawyers by Honolulu Magazine from 2010-2014, and is recognized by Martindale-Hubbell as a Super-Lawyer with the highest AV Preeminent peer rating (5/5.0).
Mr. Smith participates in numerous community and service activities. He serves on the Board of Directors of Windward PONY Youth Baseball League, as governor of the Hawaii State Society of Mayflower Descendants, and as Registrar and Treasurer of the Hawaii Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR).