Thursday, April 30, 2009

Christopher A. Smith, Attorney for Lauderdale County

Dewey Mitchell has not yet announced that he will retire at the end of his current term, yet many are already speculating on his replacement. Current Lauderdale County Commission Attorney Christopher A. Smith is a close friend of Mitchell and one of the names most often mentioned as his successor.

Smith was born in Florence on November 8, 1962, and graduated from the University of North Alabama in 1985. He received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Alabama in 1989 and returned to Florence where he began his practice with the law firm of O'Bannon and O'Bannon. Smith is currently affiliated with the firm of Self, Smith, & Burdine where he practices as a personal injury attorney.

The Lauderdale County Commission retained Smith in 1997, a short time after Dewey Mitchell became Probate Judge. In 1998, Smith led a lawsuit against the State of Alabama prison system that led to more stringent enforcement of existing laws concerning the housing of state prisoners by the county.

Martindale-Hubbell currently ranks Smith 26th in visibility out of 111 local attorneys, perhaps in part due to his reported plans to run for Probate Judge. If Smith does choose to run, he will be assured of competition on the Democratic front, and quite possibly from the Republican as well. This is an office that many have speculated will attract James E. Hall II, current municipal judge in Florence.

Assuming Chris Smith runs and loses, he would assuredly forfeit his position as County Attorney. Smith would do well to consider his formidable competition before declaring for this race.

What's up with this: T. Wayne Mitchell, former editor of the TimesDaily has been seen around town pressing the flesh--perhaps he also has political aspirations.