Attorney Katrina Smith

by Terry Watson | May 13th, 2016
Attorney Katrina Smith (Photos by Ty Coley)

Attorney Katrina Smith (Photos by Ty Coley)

Fierce. That is how Katrina Smith describes herself. The attorney and entrepreneur who was born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina says the road has never been easy and all of her life she’s had to fight. She had to fight to have a voice, had to fight to get an education, and had to fight to get respect.

Even though her parents kept her in church, almost daily, she still strayed as a teenager. “I did everything that I was big and bad enough to do,” she says. When she was in the tenth grade, she had a confrontation with a teacher who told her she wasn’t going to make it. “You ain’t going to make it. You are going to end up dead or in jail,” she recalls her saying. Smith says she responded by telling the teacher “just watch me”. That was the turning point in her life and Attorney Smith got to work.

Her grades got better. She studied her bible verses and prayed and in July of 2002, she received an acceptance letter to North Carolina Central University. She graduated with her first Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice in May of 2005, with the highest honors. She received her second Bachelor of Science Degree in Family & Consumer Sciences in May of 2006 with the highest honors.

In August of 2006, Attorney Smith began her journey as a law student at North Carolina Central University School of Law. As a law student, she was selected to serve as the President of Phi Alpha Delta (Watkins Chapter) for two consecutive terms and received the “Outstanding Justice” Award and “Community Service Recognition Award” during the 2007-2008 term. She was also a Senior Board Member of NCCU School of Law Moot Court Board for two consecutive terms and received extensive training from the Honorable Judge Wanda Bryant on appellate advocacy.

After graduating from NCCU School of Law in May of 2009, she sat for the North Carolina State Bar Exam and received her license to practice law on August 28, 2009. After obtaining her law license in August of 2009, the State of North Carolina was on a hiring freeze. This meant that there were no jobs for anyone, including attorneys. Attorney Smith says she had no choice but to work three jobs to make ends meet. One, was serving as an Independent Contractor at a small law firm.

Although she gained a lot of practical experience working with this small law firm, she says she was tired and fell into a mini depression. “Why is this happening to me? Why must I borrow from Peter to pay Paul? I did everything right, why must I work three jobs as an attorney to survive,” she questioned herself. However, her Christian background and strong relationship with God did not allow her to stay in that depressed state for long. She began to pray. Soon God gave her a sign to move and she did. She started her own practice, Smith Legal Solutions, in April of 2010 with six active clients and $560 that she borrowed from her father. By December of 2010, her practice grew to fifty-two active clients.

Attorney Smith handles every phase of a client’s case including initial consultations, investigations, legal research, negotiation, motions practice, hearings and trial. Still her primary focus is family law and landlord tenant law. “What I love most about my business is being a voice for the voiceless,” she states. Quoting Proverbs 31:8-9, Attorney Smith says she “speaks up for people who cannot speak for themselves. Protects the rights of all who are helpless. Speaks for them and be a righteous judge and protects the rights of the poor and needy.” This is the goal that she strives to meet daily with each client that comes in contact with Smith Legal Solutions.

She says that each and every client is very important. There have been memorable ones that have help to shape her as an attorney. One case that stands out is a probation violation case that she was assigned to handle in October of 2009. “Many people told me that it was a losing case and that I should not put a lot of energy into it, but I ignored them. I researched the law for days and had many sleepless nights. When it was time to appear in front of the judge, I argued my little heart out. I felt that there was no way the judge would have found that my client violated the terms of probation, but I was wrong. Everyone in the court was shocked when the judge found my client in willful violation of her probation and sent her to jail,” she says. Surprisingly her client wasn’t upset with the results but instead thanked her for fighting them. Whenever Smith comes in contact with them, she is always happy to her.

Another memorable case Smith recalls is when she represented a father who was seeking visitation with his daughter. The mother was ruthless and decided that she would do everything in her power to prevent this man from having a relationship with his daughter. Even though the mother was ruthless, she failed to realized that Attorney Smith was (and still am) relentless in her pursuit of justice. Attorney Smith and her client spent many, many nights prepping for their hearing and going over every single detail of the facts. The end result – her client received sole legal and sole physical custody of his daughter.

Attorney Smith is inspired by the smiles on her clients’ faces when they realize that they have found an attorney who they can trust and who will fight for them. Most importantly she is inspired by serving others and getting them the results that they desperately need and deserve. Although not required, Attorney Smith also is grateful for receiving local and national recognition for her good work.

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