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Justia Lawyer Rating
AV Preeminent
Avvo Client's Choice Award 2018
Avvo Rating 10 - Top Attorney
BBB Business Accredited
2019 Champion of Justice
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Derek Michael Smith
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Phone: (253) 203-1645
Fax: (844) 331-1637

717 Tacoma Ave S #C
Tacoma, Washington 98402

I was a prosecutor for 15 years for the cities of Kent and Seattle. I serve or have served as a pro tem judge for the cities of Kent, Federal Way, Des Moines, Algona/Pacific and Issaquah. Since 2011 I have practiced as a defense attorney doing criminal defense, civil rights restoration, and protection order litigation. I represent individuals on cases from murder in the first degree to traffic infractions.


J.D., Seattle University, School of Law, 1996
Graduated with Honors

B.A., University of California, Davis, 1991

Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice Washington, 1996
North Dakota, 2012
Professional & Bar Association Memberships

Washington State Bar Association
Member Since: 1996
Rules Committee – 2012-13
Character and Fitness Board 2013-15

North Dakota Bar Association
Member Since: 2012

Featured Cases and Matters

Murder in the second degree – Not guilty at trial – February 2015

Four counts of Assault in the First Degree – Not guilty at trial December 2015

Robbery in the first degree – Not guilty at trial December 2014

Burglary in the second degree – case dismissed September 2018

Theft in the first degree – case dismissed March 2016

Assault in the second degree domestic violence – case sent to diversion April 2018

Assault in the second degree domestic violence – case dismissed April 2018

Assault in the second degree – case dismissed March 2018


Gun Law in Washington:

May 2016
Title 2 Firearms- unique and misunderstood

November 2017
State and Federal Firearms Law
Title 1 Firearms
Title 2 Firearms
Liability Concerns for Gun Owners/Dealers
Ethical Considerations When Representing Gun Owners

November 2018
State and Federal Firearms Law
Title 1 Firearms
Title 2 Firearms
Liability Concerns for Gun Owners/Dealers

Non-Legal Activities

Judicial Candidate 2018, City of Tacoma

Past President, St. Marks

Client Reviews
I was represented by James White and have been nothing but satisfied with the outcome. Jame is very efficient and eliminates much of the stress that the judicial system can place on an offender. I am very grateful to have such a great attorney and owe him my gratitude for helping me when times were rough. Not only is he professional, but he is also someone you can talk to on a personal level. I highly recommend James White and would undoubtedly use him again in the future. If you are in search of an attorney, do yourself a favor and have the law offices of Smith & White represent you. Mike D.
I contacted James after my charge for reckless endangerment, and right from the start he was informative and reassuring. James worked hard to get me the best possible outcome, and was always very quick to return a call or text. He was straightforward and honest with me about my case, explaining both the good and the bad in a way that was reassuring without being misleading. Overall, I highly recommend Smith and White to anyone who is looking for the most professional representation in their legal matters. Matthew B.
Attorney James White was a beacon of hope for me at a time when my options appeared limited and the likeness of a satisfactory resolution seemed close to nothing. Not only was he able to defend me in a specific sticky situation in which I hired him for, I felt as though he also went above and beyond in efforts to provide me with the best outcome possible. His calm and professional demeanor offered such a great assurance to myself and those I care about around me. I am completely grateful for his service and I most definitely recommend Mr. White. Leyasha J.
Derek Smith guided us through a troubling legal situation with absolute professionalism. This was my first experience with a trial situation and Mr. Smith was able to address all of my questions and concerns in a way that helped address some of the fear I had regarding the legal system. Mr. Smith was highly effective during the trial and the result ended up in our favor. Legal troubles are scary and it was great knowing we had a fantastic legal team on our side to help navigate the somewhat confusing situation. My wife and I emphatically recommend this law firm. Steve B.
Mr. Smith was wonderful to work with. He was professional, knowledgeable and effective!! He takes the time to listen, which is amazing and can be a hard quality to find! He is informative and straight forward, which I truly appreciate! He was quite helpful on another matter that I asked his advise on. Thank you!!! Melika