John H. Smith


Gainesville native, John H. Smith, retired from SGWM in 2021 after almost 60 years with the firm.  Prior to his retirement, Mr. Smith practiced in land/real estate transactions, eminent domain, wills, trusts and estates, probate, land litigation, bodily injury, and mediation. Mr. Smith has an AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell, which is based on peer reviews and is the highest rating a lawyer can obtain based on professional and ethical standards.

Mr. Smith served in the US Army from 1963–1965 as an infantry officer, as a company commander and then as a legal officer/JAG. After discharge, Mr. Smith returned to Gainesville and re-entered private practice with his father, R. Wilson Smith Jr., where his practice revolved around banking law, real estate transactions, and commercial matters.

Mr. Smith practiced as a trial lawyer in areas of insurance defense, representing insureds in personal injury and property damage claims and also serving insurance companies at the corporate level. He maintained an active trial practice in eminent domain, representing both utilities and property owners.

Mr. Smith was appointed City Attorney of the City of Gainesville and represented the city for more than a decade. He served as a US Magistrate Judge (part-time), handling federal court proceedings at pretrial and trial levels. Mr. Smith also is certified neutral for mediation and is registered with the Ninth Judicial Administrative District of Dispute Resolution.

Mr. Smith is a former Trustee of the Northeast Georgia Medical Center Foundation and the First United Methodist Church, and past president of the Chattahoochee Country Club.


Professional Admissions

  • State of Georgia
  • US Federal Court
  • US Supreme Court
  • US Tax Court
  • US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
  • US District Court of Northern District of Georgia
  • US Court of Appeals – 5th Circuit, 11th Circuit

Professional Organizations

  • American Bar Association
  • State Bar of Georgia
  • Georgia Defense Lawyers Association
  • Association of Defense Trial Attorneys International
  • Association of Insurance Counsel
  • Gainesville-Northeastern Bar Association

Community Involvement

  • Northeast Georgia Medical Center Foundation (former Trustee)
  • Chattahoochee Country Club (past president)
  • Gainesville Kiwanis Club
  • First United Methodist Church of Gainesville (former Trustee)

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