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John D. Smart

Following a four-year stint with the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps, including two years as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas, John Smart has devoted his practice to the representation of management in traditional labor, employment and immigration law matters. Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, John has extensive first-chair experience in the defense of claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, Fair Labor Standards Act, Occupational Safety and Health Act and National Labor Relations Act. He also handles all forms of common law employment claims, including actions for unfair competition, violations of non-competition and employment agreements, and claims for defamation, tortious interference with contract, intentional infliction of emotional distress and other tort actions. In addition, John devotes a significant amount of time to human resources counseling, negotiation and drafting of employment and severance agreements, and the preparation and review of employee handbooks and personnel policies.

Apart from his litigation and counseling practice, John is the leader of the firm's immigration law practice, which involves obtaining both immigrant and nonimmigrant visas for key foreign employees of firm clients. John is well versed in the procedures for obtaining visas for specialty occupations workers, intracompany transferees, multinational executives and managers, treaty and trade investors, professional athletes and coaches, physicians, surgeons, nursing personnel and outstanding researchers.


  • J.D., With Highest Honors, University of Arkansas School of Law, 1987
  • B.A., magna cum laude, Vanderbilt University, 1984


  • State Bar of Texas
  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States District Courts for the Northern, Southern, Eastern and Western Districts of Texas
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth and Eleventh Circuits
Representative Matters
  • Defense of single, multiplaintiff and class action discrimination claims
  • Prosecution and defense of unfair labor practices under the NLRA
  • Client counseling in human resources and personnel matters
  • Preparation and review of employment policies and handbooks
  • Immigrant and nonimmigrant visa petitions (H-1B, L-1, E, J, O, P, TN, blanket petitions, permanent residency and labor certification)
  • Featured in Best Lawyers®’ Texas' Best Lawyers, 2020
  • Named one of the "Best Lawyers in Dallas" by D Magazine, 2018
  • Selected by attorney peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America®, 2018-2022
  • Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization
  • Selected by attorney peers for inclusion as Texas Super Lawyers®, 2009-2013, 2018-2021
Activities & Memberships
  • State Bar of Texas
  • Dallas Bar Association
  • American Immigration Lawyers Association
  • First United Methodist Church
  • Munger Place Historic District Association
  • 2018: "Sexual Harassment and Misconduct in the Sports and Entertainment Industries: Redrawing the Lines," DBA Entertainment, Art & Sports Law Section, January 24
  • 2017: "The Top 10 Employment Law Developments of 2016," Texas Aggregates and Concrete Association Short Course, College Station, Texas, March 3
  • 2016: "Myths versus Facts: 12 Common Employment Law Misconceptions," DallasHR (Affiliate of SHRM), September 13
  • 2014: "Hiring Foreign Workers in the Hospitality Industry," CHHRMA, Austin, Texas, September 17
  • 2012: "Recent Developments in Labor and Employment Law," Texas Association of Business, Dallas Chapter, May 24
  • 2011: "Labor and Employment Law Issues - Legal Implications of Employing Undocumented Workers," Tarrant County Bar Association, October 21
  • 2011: "Immigration Issues for Contractors and Subcontractors," University of Texas Construction Law Seminar, September 22
  • 2008: "Legal Implications of Drug Testing: Avoiding Litigation," CONEXPO-CONN/AGG National Convention, March 14
  • 2008: "Keeping Retaliation Claims at Bay," Lorman Education Seminar, Ft. Worth, Texas, February 5

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