As a litigator, Ruel Smith represents life, health, and disability insurers, managed care entities, consumer financial services providers, third-party debt collectors, hospitality and retail organizations, and various licensed professionals before state and federal courts and administrative agencies throughout Florida. He also handles bankruptcy and other insolvency proceedings on behalf of lenders, landlords, and targets of avoidance actions and represents Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustees as special counsel.

Ruel also represents property owners, developers, general and trade contractors, and material suppliers in construction litigation. He advises business leaders across industries on business entity formation, regulatory compliance, and transactional matters.

Prior to joining Hinshaw in 2010, Ruel began his practice at one of Florida's oldest and largest statewide law firms. While in law school, he interned for the United States Attorneys' Office for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, and was privileged to assist a team of Assistant U.S. Attorneys in a nationally publicized conspiracy trial.

Before turning to the law, Ruel served as a U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery officer, holding multiple combat leadership positions in the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and the 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized). As a captain, Ruel commanded a mechanized air defense artillery battery in the 2003 coalition assault into Iraq and subsequent peacekeeping mission. For his actions in Iraq, he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal (with "V" device for valor).

Professional Affiliations

  • Florida Defense Lawyers' Association


  • "First Steps - Case Intake and Removal," Hinshaw University, Chicago, Illinois, September 20, 2018
  • "Written Discovery, Electronic Discovery, and Motions to Compel," Hinshaw University, Chicago, Illinois, September 20, 2018
  • "Defending Claims of Emotional Distress as an Element of Damages," Hinshaw University, Chicago, Illinois, August 17, 2017
  • "Medicare Secondary Payor Act Compliance," Sedgwick CMS, Deerfield, Illinois, August 1, 2017
  • "The Telephone Consumer Protection Act - Top 10 Violations For Businesses," Rotary Club of Pinellas Park, Pinellas Park, Florida June 15, 2017


Ruel is a proud husband, father, and veteran whose interests include live music, military history, and football.

Community/Civic Activities

  • Stetson University College of Law, Veterans' Pro Bono Initiative, Attorney
  • Hillsborough County Bar Association
    • Military and Veterans' Affairs Committee
  • Veterans' Treatment Court, 13th Judicial Circuit Court in and for Hillsborough County, Florida, Volunteer Mentor

J.D., cum laude, Stetson University College of Law, 2006

  • National Order of Barristers

B.A., English, Florida State University, 1997