Drahcir Marie Smith
Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila
Employment law
40 Under Class – 2018

Her peers describe Drahcir Marie Smith as a leader in the Chicago legal field. This young attorney's career proves that this description is accurate.

Smith has already risen to become a partner at Chicago's Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila. She is also a frequent contributor to legal and non-legal publications, where she shares her knowledge of employment law.

And when it comes to advocating for her clients? Smith is a leader here, too. Her peers say that Smith's dedication to her clients is impressive. She works the long hours and turns in the research necessary to make sure that she is always prepared to provide her clients with the best possible representation.

"She is an excellent advocate and a trusted client counselor with the technical knowledge and skill to walk her many clients through thorny issues," said Wynter Jackson, director of management and labor affairs with the Chicago Police Department.

But Smith's sterling reputation in the Chicago legal community isn't limited to her paid work at Riley Safer. She also takes time away from her practice to log 100 to 200 hours a year in pro bono work. She also spends considerable time educating her clients and colleagues on employment law issues.

Amiel Harper with the Illinos Department of Central Management Services has also observed Smith's work. He, too, says that she is a fierce advocate for her clients and a keen scholar of employment law.

"Drahcir is a standout litigator who has tried cases in a number of areas of law. And she achieves the best results for her clients every time," Harper said.

Smith began her career in the labor and employment space, but has since branched out to try cases in commercial, criminal and domestic matters. She has succeeded in these areas, too.

Smith's expansive career gives her an edge when representing her clients, Harper said.

"The breadth of her litigation experience gives her the ability to find creative solutions for her clients and reach settlements that are uniquely crafted for the situation," Harper said. "Drahcir's breadth of experience makes her an asset to her clients because she is able to quickly synthesize and solve the biggest problems inside and outside of litigation."

When not fighting for her clients, Smith devotes time to mentoring younger attorneys and giving back to the legal community. She ran the summer internship program at her law firm last year, ensuring that litigators there had several opportunities to learn from experienced litigators.

"Drahcir is the most authentic person I know," Harper said. "She brings her whole self to the courtroom. This allows her to fight for the best result for her clients."