Damon Y. Smith is a partner in the firm’s Government Controversies and Public Policy Litigation and Real Estate Practices. Mr. Smith draws on extensive experience in property law and urban planning gained in the private sector, academia and in several senior public sector positions, including as acting general counsel for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In the general counsel role, he provided legal and policy guidance to the HUD secretary, deputy secretary and assistant secretaries on a range of programs and activities and set and implemented the Department’s litigation strategy and regulatory agenda.
With his experience at HUD, Mr. Smith has 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 experience in private practice, representing clients in a variety of real estate issues, 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 has 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.