In this month’s CREW Member Spotlight, we’d like to introduce you to Leslie M. Smith. Leslie began her career with the law firm Dentons Bingham Greenebaum in 2006, and she recently became a Capital Partner in the firm. In 2020, Bingham Greenebaum Doll, together with Cohen & Grigsby, combined with Dentons through Project Golden Spike to form the largest law firm in the world, and they are one of CREW Tampa Bay’s Silver Annual Sponsors.
Leslie grew up in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. She moved from Indiana to begin her undergrad degree at the University of Florida. Two years later, she relocated to Washington, D.C., where she met her husband and earned her B.A. from George Mason University. While working as a paralegal, Leslie decided to pursue a law degree, and in 2011 she graduated from Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. She has been a member of the Indiana Bar since 2011 and she became a member of the Florida Bar in 2019 when she and her husband relocated from Indianapolis to the Tampa Bay area.
Leslie concentrates her practice of law in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, finance, and corporate law. Her roles are varied and vast, and she works with diverse clients, representing local, national, and international firms. Leslie truly enjoys helping people, and she became an attorney because she genuinely likes problem-solving. As she says, “I like seeing an issue and getting to the other side of that issue.”
Leslie joined CREW Tampa Bay as soon as she moved to Florida so she could meet like-minded people, get involved, and network with members. Her involvement in CREW Tampa Bay has helped to make the transition to Florida seamless. She was the UCREW Committee Chair in 2020 & 2021, and she joined the Board of Directors in 2021. She is currently serving the Board of Directors in the Delegate role for 2022 as well as being the Board Liaison to the UCREW Committee. Prior to joining CREW Tampa Bay, Leslie was very involved with IndyCREW, and she brings a lot of knowledge, experience, and expertise to CREW Tampa Bay.
When asked about a quote that sticks with her, Leslie recited something her dad used to say, “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should!” That quote has stuck with her over the years and has impacted many choices and decisions in her daily life.
Although not many people knew about it, Leslie used to have a very severe fear of flying—a fear she knew she had to learn how to overcome. One day, while on vacation and walking through the town of Interlaken, Switzerland, Leslie saw an advertisement for a hang-gliding excursion in the Swiss Alps. To her husband’s surprise, Leslie told him she wanted to sign up! He knew she had a fear of flying, but she insisted. In the spirit of “seeing an issue and getting to the other side of that issue,” Leslie knew if she could fly tandem on a hang-glider over the Swiss Alps, she would have no reason to fear flying in a perfectly good airplane! After weighing out the choice, especially in this case, Leslie knew that it was more of a “Just because I can does mean I should” decision! She made it to the top of the mountain, went hang-gliding over the Swiss Alps, and she absolutely overcame her fear of flying. Problem solved!
In Leslie’s free time, she and her husband enjoy traveling, jet-skiing, and spending time with her family and her two adorable French Bull Dogs: Hank and Gus.