Stephen E. Smith


Phone: 303.299.8432

Fax: 303.298.0940

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Legal Secretary

Patricia Weant

Areas of Emphasis

Business and Corporate

Space Law



  • Juris Doctor, Georgetown University Law Center, 1977
    • Editor, American Criminal Law Review
  • Bachelor of Arts, Georgetown University, 1973

Steve Smith is a Member in the firm’s Denver office where he focuses his practice on international arbitration and aerospace and defense matters, including Space Law. Prior to joining the firm, Steve was Vice President & General Counsel of Lockheed Martin Space Systems where he had lead responsibility for all legal issues facing that $8 billion company. In that role, Steve led legal teams in successfully resolving many domestic and international disputes, including major international arbitrations. His background gives Steve a keen understanding that corporate clients expect their outside counsel to understand the client’s needs and objectives, and to produce excellent legal work in a highly efficient manner.

Representative Matters
  • Currently acting as arbitrator in proceedings before the London Court of International Arbitration and the Singapore International Arbitration Centre.
  • Won major London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) Arbitration Against Satellite Operator: In the last major case handled by Smith prior to his early retirement as Vice President and General Counsel of Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Smith acted as counsel and led a team including business personnel and inside counsel and outside counsel from the U.S. and UK in a dispute involving payments due under a commercial satellite contract. Acting as claimant, Smith’s team obtained a complete victory, recovering 100 percent of the claimed amounts, plus interest.
  • Successful resolution in major international arbitration involving software development: Acted as counsel and led team that successfully resolved a large claim by a European prime contractor brought to arbitration under the rules of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). Claimed damages were in excess of $150 million in connection with a software development and hardware installation contract for the air force of a NATO country in Europe. After obtaining a favorable arbitration decision on the liability phase of the arbitration, case was settled for a minimal amount.
  • Successful resolution in major American Arbitration Association (AAA) and ICC arbitrations involving satellite operator and insurers: Acted as counsel and led team that obtained a highly favorable settlement of a large claim by an Asian satellite operator conducted under the ICC rules. Although insurance had been purchased covering satellite anomalies, the insurers declined to pay claims asserted by the satellite operator before the ICC. Smith’s team then commenced an AAA arbitration against its insurers.  After several years of proceedings, through separate, complex negotiations with the Asian customer and the primarily European insurers, Smith engineered a three-way settlement that resolved all matters at issue.
  • Won major International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR) Arbitration against Space Insurer: Acted as counsel and led team in ICDR arbitration against a major space insurer that threatened to withdraw from participation in a multi-hundred million dollar insurance policy covering over a dozen commercial launch services. After a week long hearing, Smith’s team won a complete victory before the arbitration tribunal, which ordered the insurer to continue coverage.
  • Successful mediation of commercial satellite dispute: Acted as counsel and led team in a dispute involving payment of incentives on a commercial satellite contract. After a 2-day mediation, the customer agreed to pay over 85 percent of the amount at issue.
  • Successful Bid Protest of classified procurement leading to multi-billion dollar program: Acted as counsel and led team that successfully protested the largest classified contract award ever overturned by the U.S. General Accounting Office (now the Government Accountability Office). In this case, a competitor had unseated Smith’s client in a competition for the next generation of a major classified system, which had been a core business for decades.  Smith and his team secured what has become the largest single ongoing program for Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, employing hundreds of employees and having a total value running well into the billions of dollars. In recognition of this effort, was selected as “Manager of the Year” for Martin Marietta’s Denver Division, and received the Jefferson Cup, the highest award bestowed on employees by Martin Marietta Corporation.
  • Persuaded U.S. Government to award over $1.5 billion in launch services contracts: Smith led a team effort that resulted in the U.S. Air Force transferring launch services awards valued at over $1 Billion from a competitor, and awarding an additional approximately $500 Million of launch services awards on a sole source (non competitive) basis. The matter arose out of possession of company proprietary information by the competitor during an Air Force competition. The Air Force also suspended the space launch operations of the competitor from receiving new U.S. Government business for over 20 months (the longest ever suspension of a division of a major defense contractor). This activity helped preserve hundreds of jobs and greatly improved the going forward business case for a core business area.
  •  Won $90M cost accounting case in Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (ASBCA): After the Defense Contract Management Agency disallowed approximately $90 million in overhead costs relating to land sales in Silicon Valley, Smith acted as counsel and led a team which appealed the disallowance to the ASBCA. After a weeklong trial, the ASBCA judge issued a decision ruling for Smith’s client on all points.
  • Reorganization and rebuilding of Export/Import Licensing and Compliance functions: At the request of the U.S. State department, as VP and General Counsel, Smith assumed responsibility for the Export Licensing and Compliance function in LM Space Systems Company. Smith quickly assembled a team of experts to perform a baseline assessment of the state of that function, with the goal of making a largely dysfunctional group a world-class operation. Within one year, the office had been thoroughly reorganized, key staff members were replaced by seasoned professionals and the credibility of the Export office with key decision makers at the State Department was re-established.  This function is now regarded as one of the strongest in the industry. This effort was critical to Smith’s client since further violations could have led to large fines and potential suspension export privileges. In the decade plus time frame since Smith assumed responsibility for the Export/Import function, no further enforcement actions were brought by the U.S. State Department.
  • Seamless transition of Security function into Legal Department: Achieved a seamless transition of the LM Space Systems Company Security Department, which has responsibility for physical, program (i.e. protection of classified information) and IT security, as well as emergency services.  In 2010 the Security Department passed over 35 U.S. Government inspections at multiple sites, with no major issues noted.
  • Obtained antitrust approval for Martin Marietta-GE Aerospace merger: Smith acted as counsel and led the team that convinced the U.S. Department of Justice to allow the closing of Martin Marietta Corporation’s acquisition of General Electric Aerospace. This was one of the first large defense industry mergers in the 1990′s, and doubled the size of Martin Marietta on an annual sales basis. Late in the antitrust approval process, the DOJ raised concerns relating to certain classified businesses of both Martin Marietta and GE Aerospace. Since none of the outside antitrust counsel working on the matter had the necessary clearances, Smith led a team consisting of company lawyers and business executives that persuaded the DOJ to allow the merger to proceed.
  • Obtained antitrust approval for Lockheed-Martin Marietta merger: Smith acted as counsel and led the team that convinced the Federal Trade Commission to allow the closing of the merger between Martin Marietta Corporation and Lockheed Corporation. This merger combined the businesses of two of the largest U.S. defense contractors to form the largest U.S. defense and aerospace firm. Antitrust approval was obtained in an exceptionally expeditious fashion with minimal conditions.
  • Successful resolution of major construction litigation: Smith acted as counsel and led the team that resolved a lawsuit by a subsidiary of a competitor involving the construction of a space launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Total damages claimed were in excess of $250 million. Case was settled for pennies on the dollar. All costs of settlement were recovered from the U.S. Government under as allowable costs under government contracts.
  • Won major toxic tort case: Smith acted as counsel and led the team that obtained summary judgment on all counts against plaintiffs claiming that a manufacturing facility caused hazardous chemicals to reach a major water treatment plant supplying water to Denver and its suburbs. Smith’s team obtained dismissal of the case by a Federal District Judge who concluded “no reasonable juror” could find that the plant caused the injuries of which the plaintiffs complained. Potential liability ran into the billions of dollars.
  • Successful resolution of $400+ million breach of contract litigation by subcontractor: Smith acted as counsel and led the team the team that successfully resolved a $400 million lawsuit brought by a major subcontractor involving development of a new solid rocket motor. Case was settled under terms fully acceptable to management, and all costs of settlement were recovered as allowable costs under government contracts.
  • Successful resolution of $350+ million breach of contract claim by customer:  Smith acted as counsel and led the team that successfully resolved litigation brought by a major international commercial satellite operator relating to the failed launch of a large commercial satellite. Total claim exceeded $350 million. Case was resolved with a true “win-win” business arrangement that involved purchase of additional satellites by the operator.
  • Mr. Smith has acted as counsel in and managed a considerable number of U.S. domestic and international arbitrations and mediations, including proceedings before the AAA, ICDR, ICC and LCIA and also recently served as a “mock arbitrator” in an ICDR aviation related arbitration involving considerable claimed damages.
Professional Activities
  • Admitted Colorado
  • U.S. Representative, Commission on Arbitration and ADR of the International Chamber of Commerce
  • Member, Board of Directors, American Arbitration Association
  • Member, Panel of Arbitrators, American Arbitration Association
  • Member, Panel of Arbitrators, International Centre for Dispute Resolution
  • Member, International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA)
  • Member, London Court for International Arbitration
  • Inaugural Practitioner in Residence, University of Denver Sturm College of Law Roche LLM in International Business Transactions, 2013
  • Fellow, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
  • Co-Chair Emeritus, Rocky Mountain Chapter, North American Branch, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
  • Co-Chair, Interlaw International Arbitration and Litigation Special Business Team
  • Co-Chair, Corporate Counsel Subcommittee of the U.S. Council for International Business Committee on Arbitration,
  • Member, Steering Committee, Corporate Counsel International Arbitration Group, 2008-2013
  • Member, American and International Bar Associations
  • Member, Aerospace General Counsel’s Group
  • Member, Association of Corporate Counsel of America
  • Board Member, Association of Corporate Counsel’s Colorado Chapter, 2003-2011
  • Member of the Board of Directors, Challenger Center of Colorado
  • Member, Board of Directors, Colorado Consortium for Earth and Space Science Education
  • Member, General Counsel Coordinating Committee of the Colorado Campaign for Inclusive Excellence 2008-2011
Publications and Presentations
  • Co-Author, Chapter on “Arbitration of International Commercial Disputes,” Successful Partnering Between Inside and Outside Counsel, Association of Corporate Counsel and West Publishing
  • Frequent speaker at International Arbitration and Space Law presentations worldwide
Previous Experience
  • Vice President and General Counsel, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, 1995-2011
  • Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Lockheed Martin Corporation, 2000-2006
  • General Counsel, Martin Marietta Astronautics Group (largest Martin Marietta division), 1990-1995
  • General Counsel, Martin Marietta Data Systems, 1987-90
  • Assistant General Counsel, Martin Marietta Corporation, 1981-87