L. Lee Smith focuses his practice in the area of federal litigation. He is also a mediator. In addition to his white-collar criminal defense practice, he has represented businesses and individuals against claims of employment discrimination and in complex commercial litigation, including ERISA.

Professional Background

Mr. Smith joined Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP in February 2001. He is the Partner-in-Charge of the Peoria office.

Previously, Mr. Smith served from 1980 to 1990 with the office of the United States Attorney for the Central District of Illinois. He was Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Central District from 1980 to 1987, when he became Supervising Assistant U.S. Attorney, Peoria and Rock Island Divisions. Among his special assignments during this period, Mr. Smith served as:

  • Instructor, Attorney General’s Advocacy Institute, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C., (1985 – 1990).
  • Coordinator, Financial Institution Regulatory and Enforcement Group (an interagency, banking crimes task force), Central District of Illinois, (1988 – 1990).
  • Evaluator, U.S. Department of Justice, Evaluation and Review Program for United States Attorneys’ Offices, (1988 – 1990).

Before joining the U.S. Attorney’s office, Mr. Smith served a two-year judicial clerkship with Chief Justice Joseph H. Goldenhersh, Illinois Supreme Court, Belleville, Illinois. He also was an instructor at The University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign.

Mr. Smith was a charter member of the American Inns of Court, A. Lincoln Chapter, Peoria, Illinois. He was a Master of the Bench for seven years, and is currently an Emeritus Member.

In the Fall of 2005, Mr. Smith completed intensive training in mediation from the faculty of Pepperdine University School of Law’s top-ranked Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution.

Honors & Awards

  • Recognized as a "Super Lawyer" by Illinois Super Lawyers magazine (2005)
  • Holds the highest rating from Martindale-Hubbell for ethics and legal ability
  • Recognized by his peers as a Leading Lawyer in the area of Criminal Defense Law: White Collar.


  • “Investigating Employee Misconduct,” for the Community Bankers Association of Illinois seminar, “A Guide to Human Resources Law,” in Springfield, Illinois, June 2008.

J.D., magna cum laude, Southern Illinois University College of Law, 1978

  • Editor-in-Chief, Southern Illinois University Law Journal

B.A., University of Illinois, 1975