If asked for the key component in professional leadership, attorney Scott A. Smith has his answer. It’s integrity.
“I am a firm believer that knowledge, experience, hard work and skill can take you to the top of your profession, but only integrity will keep you there,” he says.
For that reason, Smith strives to live, work and lead with integrity as managing member of the Rooney McBride & Smith LLC law firm.
One mountaintop Smith has reached in his profession was earning the Equal Access to Justice Award from the Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association in 2018. The award recognizes attorneys who have contributed to the mission of Legal Services of Southern Missouri by providing services pro bono or at a significantly discounted rate.
“When I was sworn in as a member of The Missouri Bar, I took an oath to practice law to the best of my knowledge and ability and with consideration of the defenseless. I have come to recognize in my career that in many instances the defenseless are so because of an inability to afford legal representation,” he says. “While it is not always the best business practice, and can only be done in certain circumstances, it is rewarding to help individuals that otherwise would not have been able to have representation.”
That’s the payoff, he says.
“I was once told that if ‘gratitude was a form of currency, I would be the wealthiest lawyer in the world.’ That solidified my decision to be an attorney and was more rewarding than any payment I have received for my work,” Smith says.
In the office, Smith demonstrates leadership by taking on any task needed – from cleaning the restrooms to filling in as office administrator. He acknowledges it might sound silly for a managing member to scrub the bathroom, but it’s in the name of leading by example.
“My willingness to complete such a task develops a feeling of camaraderie and family amongst my office (and) causes my firm to function as a close team,” he says.
He has experience in three law practices now, but his longest stint is with practice partner Heather Rooney McBride. They teamed up in 2012, after Smith had worked five years with Reynolds, Gold & Grosser PC and three with PalmerOliver PC. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Missouri Southern State University and a Juris Doctor from University of Missouri.
Smith’s current civic work includes board roles with Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, the Price Cutter Charity Championship, the Greater Ozarks Chapter of the Mizzou Alumni Association and on the executive committee for Child Advocacy Center.
Even with the significance of running his law practice, Smith says it’s not all there is: “My most important job is to lead my family, to be a loving and supportive husband, and to be an example for my boys. My No. 1 goal for the future is to raise three respectful, integrity driven and generous young men. I want to leave a legacy of integrity.”
General aviation terminal expansion is set to wrap by August.