Born and raised in Alberta, Steve graduated from the University of New Brunswick law school in 2011, and immediately commenced his articles with a respected Edmonton criminal law firm. Called to the Alberta bar in 2012, he remained at that firm as an associate and then a partner until 2021, when he left to found Steve Smith Law. In 2017, he was called to the bar in the Northwest Territories (while he let this membership lapse in 2022, he is still able to act on matters in that jurisdiction through restricted appearance certificates); he has also tried cases in Saskatchewan and the Yukon.
Steve learned early in his career to aggressively challenge police investigations, and is regularly successful in having evidence excluded because of breaches of his clients’ rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. However, he never loses sight of the fact that it is the Crown’s burden to prove guilt, and not the accused’s to prove innocence, and he has also won many trials by sitting back and watching the Crown fail to prove its case. He believes in proceeding to trial – including before a jury, where appropriate – in almost all cases, but will sometimes negotiate plea deals with the Crown, albeit grudgingly and as a last resort.
Steve has argued appeals in the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, the Alberta Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court of Canada. He is frequently referred appeals by other counsel who believe that their clients were wrongly convicted at trial and trust Steve to make that case on appeal, and is among many lawyers’ first calls when they want a second opinion on one of their own files. He is also referred cases by other justice system participants – including court clerks, Crown prosecutors, police officers, and judges – who have seen him in action and trust him to represent the people they care about. However, his main source of referrals, and the one that means the most to him, is satisfied current and former clients.
Steve won the Criminal Trial Lawyers Association’s Bruce Gunn Junior Barrister Award in 2015. He has presented in seminars put on by the Legal Education Society of Alberta, the Criminal Trial Lawyers Association, several sections of the Canadian Bar Association, and the University of Alberta law school, where he is a sessional instructor co-coaching the school’s trial moot team.
In his spare time, he enjoys reading case law.
Steve’s idiosyncrasies and his large and colourful client base have been the ruin of many a support staff member. From the moment that Jessica joined Steve’s old firm in 2017 after graduating from an Edmonton college with a paralegal diploma and became his case manager, it was apparent that she was different. She thrives on the pressure of a fast-moving criminal law practice, and has become a expert at refocusing Steve’s attention from the esoteria of legal theory to the immediate needs of his clients. When Steve was contemplating leaving his old firm to start his own practice, he couldn’t imagine doing it without Jess; fortunately, she decided to come along. If you have a question about your file, chances are that Jess can answer it.
#870 Phipps-McKinnon Building
10020 101A Avenue NW, Edmonton AB, T5J 3G2
Ph: 587-442-0453 Fax: 587-442-2816
08:30 a.m. – 04:30 p.m.
Closed from 12pm - 1pm daily