Milton “Skip” Smith
Milton “Skip” Smith

Member

Phone: 719.448.4010

Fax: 719.635.4576

msmith@shermanhoward.com

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Legal Secretary

Joyce Chase
719.448.4021

Areas of Emphasis

Construction

Space Law

International

Litigation, Trials & Appeals

Education

  • Doctorate, Institute of Air and Space Law, McGill University, 1989
  • LL.M., Institute of Air and Space Law, McGill University, 1984
  • Juris Doctor, George Washington University, 1976
  • Bachelor of Science, U.S. Air Force Academy, 1973

With more than 40 years of experience, Milton “Skip” Smith advises on aerospace, defense and government contracts, risk management, and construction law matters.

 

AEROSPACE & DEFENSE

Skip possesses a unique skillset and is regularly sought after for his deep industry knowledge and aerospace insight and experience. Skip represents clients in nearly every segment of the aerospace industry, from large companies to startup ventures and from manufacturers to launch service providers. He helps national and international clients address legal matters ranging from the planning, purchasing, and operation of space assets to launch services and space insurance, government contract issues, regulatory issues, and other matters. Skip has also negotiated deals and litigated disputes with dollar values in the hundreds of millions. Further, he has considerable alternative dispute resolution experience and was selected by the American Arbitration Association as one of 26 members of its Aerospace, Aviation, and National Security Panel.

An Air Force Academy graduate with a doctorate in air and space law, Skip is a former Air Force JAG who held several significant leadership positions during his Air Force career, including director of space law at Space Command and chief of air and space law for the Air Force. He also served in Geneva as the legal advisor of the 50-person U.S. Delegation at the ITU Conference on the Geostationary Satellite Orbit. A past chair of the Colorado Space Business Roundtable, Skip is on the board of the International Institute of Space Law. He has served as an adjunct professor of space law at the University of Colorado Law School and the George Washington University Law School.

Regarded as a leader in the field, Skip has received numerous honors, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Institute of Space Law. Skip was selected to author the United States chapter in the inaugural edition of the “Space Law Review,” a series published by The Law Reviews. He is the author of six space-related law review articles and of a book on the international regulation of satellite communication. Skip speaks nationally and internationally on commercial space law issues.

 

CONSTRUCTION 

In the construction law arena, Skip represents general contractors, subcontractors, and property owners, negotiating, advising on, and enforcing contracts; providing counsel regarding large-scale infrastructure projects; and resolving disputes in and out of court. Skip often represents construction clients in disputes with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and obtained the largest award ever against CDOT in a hotly contested five-week arbitration.

Repeatedly recognized by “Best Lawyers in America” in the field of construction law, Skip frequently speaks, writes, and advises on construction law issues.

Representative Matters

AEROSPACE & DEFENSE

  • Represented a major aerospace company in insurance recovery litigation stemming from a launch failure. Handled numerous insurance defense counsel motions with outstanding success, which ramped up the settlement value of the case.
  • Represented major aerospace company suffering unfair competition from the U.S. government in addressing the issues with the government agencies involved.
  • Drafted launch services agreements for clients, including hosted payload and rideshare agreements. Minimized risks for clients.
  • Represented defense contractors in litigation involving the U.S. government, with values exceeding $300 million.
  • Represented a steel fireproofing subcontractor against its major prime contractor at the Hanford Nuclear Site, achieving a favorable settlement of multimillion-dollar claims.
  • Litigated major multidistrict cases for the Air Force, including asbestos, Agent Orange, and aviation accident cases, and international arbitration for the Department of State (Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal).

 

CONSTRUCTION

  • Represented construction clients in disputes with CDOT and obtained the largest award ever against CDOT in a hotly contested five-week arbitration. Successfully asserted more than 20 claims on behalf of contractors and subcontractors on CDOT highway projects.
  • Represented a general contractor joint venture in negotiation of a dam construction contract valued in excess of $400 million.
  • Represented the owner against design and contractor parties in a five-star hotel construction litigation; negotiated multimillion-dollar settlement in mediation involving five parties, multiple insurance carriers, and excess carriers.
  • Obtained a $6.5 million arbitration award for a general contractor in five-week arbitration regarding differing site conditions and other changes experienced during highway tunnel construction.
  • Achieved a $2.2 million arbitration award, including an award of attorneys’ fees, on behalf of subcontractor in a three-week arbitration of multiple claims experienced during a highway-widening project on a mountain pass.
  • Successfully prosecuted claims against the U.S. government in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and before boards of contract appeals.
Professional Activities

BAR ADMISSIONS

  • Colorado
  • District of Columbia (inactive)

 

PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS

  • Director, International Institute of Space Law (IISL)
  • American Bar Association
    • Litigation Section
    • Construction Committee
  • Adjunct Professor, University of Denver, Commercial Space Law
  • Former Chair, Aerospace Law Committee, International Law Section, American Bar Association.
  • Former Chair, Colorado Space Business Roundtable
Honors and Awards
  • International Institute of Space Law, Lifetime Achievement Award (2016)
  • Best Lawyers in America, Construction Law (2019), Litigation – Construction (2013-2020)
Publications and Presentations

PRESS

 

PUBLICATIONS

 

PRESENTATIONS

  • The Intersection of the Space Industry and Government Contracts
    2019 ABA Annual Meeting
    August 2019
  • Government Missions and the Private Sector: A Legal Roundtable
    The 35th Annual Space Symposium
    April 2019
  • Using Public Private Partnerships to Finance Very Large Space Projects
    The 69th Annual International Astronautical Congress, Germany
    October 2018
  • The Outer Space Treaty and Colorado Space Business
    Secure World Foundation and Sherman & Howard Space Law Presentation
    May 2017
  • What You Need to Know About Space Law, Commercial Space Activities, and Small Satellites
    Sherman & Howard Space Law Seminar
    November 2016
  • Construction Delays
    Sherman & Howard Annual Colorado Springs Construction Law Seminar
    November 2016
  • Dispute Resolution Boards – Obtaining the Best Result
    Sherman & Howard Annual Colorado Construction Law Seminar
    February 2016
  • How to Settle a Construction Case
    Sherman & Howard Annual Construction Webinar
    October 2015
  • Frequent speaker on various construction and space law topics nationally and internationally.