Michael Smith advises clients with starting up new businesses, with buying and selling businesses, with negotiating contracts, with resolving internal disputes among the owners of businesses, and with protecting the rights of businesses and business owners through litigation. He is particularly experienced in creating and advising limited liability companies (or LLCs). His practice also includes tax exempt, nonprofit organizations, including 501(c)(3)'s. He also represents clients in appeals, both civil and criminal, and in seeking post-conviction remedies. Mike has served as an adjunct professor at the Indiana University law school in Indianapolis, and he frequently teaches continuing education courses for other lawyers, paralegals, and accountants. He has published the Indiana Business Law Blog, https://businesslaw.handponist.com/blog/, since 2009.
Mike was born and raised in Tennessee, but he has been a Hoosier for most of his life. He moved to Indiana in 1978 after receiving a B.E. in chemical engineering (summa cum laude) from Vanderbilt University to work for Eli Lilly and Company in Lafayette, Indiana. In 1989 he enrolled in law school while continuing to work full time at Lilly, obtaining a J.D. (summa cum laude) from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in 1993. He then moved to the Lilly Law Division, working first in the Environmental Law Group, and then in Securities and Commercial Transactions. While he was in the Law Division, he organized and led the Lilly Law Divison Pro Bono program. In 2008, he retired early to open a business law practice in Fishers, Indiana, originally known as Michael Smith Law Office, LLC and later as Smith Rayl Law Office, LLC. In 2018, he and his partner, Susan Rayl, joined with attorneys Joel Hand, Rachelle Ponist, and Valerie Horvath in forming Hand Ponist Horvath Smith & Rayl, LLC. His recreational interests include backpacking and woodworking with hand tools.