Jenner & Block

Damon Y. Smith is a partner in the firm’s Government Controversies and Public Policy Litigation and Real Estate Practices.  Mr. Smith counsels a variety of clients from Fortune 100 companies to multifamily housing developers and online mortgage and real estate start-ups, on complex financial regulatory compliance matters.

In his practice, Mr. Smith draws on his extensive property law and urban planning experience, which he gained through several senior public sector positions, work in the private sector and academia. As former acting general counsel for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Mr. Smith provided legal and policy guidance on a range of programs and activities and set the Department’s litigation strategy and regulatory agenda. 

From his experience at HUD, Mr. Smith gained extensive knowledge of banking and consumer regulations impacting the current housing finance environment; experience with leadership at the highest levels of the primary regulators in the field, including the Federal Housing Finance Agency and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; and background in resolving controversies with the Executive Branch, the Legislative Branch and private parties.

Before joining HUD, Mr. Smith had varied transactional experience in private practice, representing clients in a variety of real estate matters, including negotiating office and retail leases for commercial building tenants, representing purchasers and sellers in office building and hotel transactions and negotiating and closing complex transactions involving public-private partnerships and other multilayered financing.

Mr. Smith taught property and local government law, as an associate professor at Rutgers School of Law-Camden. He has also been a visiting professor at American University Washington College of Law and was the founding director of the University of Illinois East St. Louis Neighborhood Technical Assistance Center.