Nicole A. Smith

Nicole Smith is a Partner at Venable LLP, she is an experienced labor and employment attorney whose practice involves counseling clients concerning discrimination and wage and hour issues, preparing executive agreements, negotiating issues arising out of such agreements, counseling and litigating matters arising from the various statutes overseen by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), such as the Occupational Safety and Health Act, assisting with labor and employment matters that arise in the course of corporate mergers and commercial real estate transactions, and working on all aspects of traditional labor matters, such as union avoidance, counseling, negotiations, and arbitrations.

Ms. Smith's practice is balanced between traditional employment law issues, including collective bargaining, arbitrations, union avoidance strategies, unfair labor practice cases, and representation cases, and those problems arising from the individual employee-employer relationship, such as race, sex, age, national origin, and disability discrimination claims, wage and hour matters, and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) issues.

A particular area of concentration for Ms. Smith is occupational safety. She has frequently represented companies in the aftermath of major workplace accidents, including industrial mishaps causing serious injuries and fatalities. Often among the first at the scene, Ms. Smith helps clients minister to grieving co-workers, even as she assists the client in preparing for and responding to the DOL's imminent investigation.

Ms. Smith also has extensive experience working with in-house counsel and human resources professionals on a daily basis, providing counseling on a wide range of employment matters (including compliance with local, state, and federal laws, personnel matters, and management-labor relations) and working closely with in-house professionals to prepare personnel policies and procedures.

Recent Experience

  • Serves as national outside OSHA counsel for clients, including a major U.S. retailer and oil and gas refinery
  • Represented Fortune 500 companies in numerous labor arbitrations
  • Represented several clients as lead negotiator in collective bargaining negotiations
  • Assisted with group collective bargaining negotiations for 10 employers with contracts covering 60,000 employees
  • Assisted client in collective bargaining negotiations involving a multi-union unit
  • Won an arbitration before the International Centre for Dispute Resolution that dismissed all age discrimination claims brought against a global health partnership
  • Obtained dismissal of six unfair labor practice charges in which it was alleged that the employer had terminated employees because of their union affiliation
  • Represented major multimedia client in restructuring work force domestically and globally


Ms. Smith is a board member and general counsel for the National Capital Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America and a board member for National Children's Medical Center, Safe Kids Worldwide.

Her pro bono commitments include Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools, the National Capital Area Food Bank, and Georgetown Law School and Auburn University, where she serves as a student mentor.