Michael Smith advises clients with starting up new businesses, buying and selling businesses, negotiating contracts, resolving internal disputes among the owners of businesses, and 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.
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. Along the way, he earned a Master of Science degree in chemical engineering from Purdue University. 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 left Lilly to open a business law practice in Fishers, Indiana. In 2018, he and his partner, Susan Rayl, joined with attorneys in forming Harshman Ponist Smith & Rayl, LLC.
Mike has served as an adjunct professor at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis, and he frequently teaches continuing education courses for other lawyers, paralegals, and accountants. He has published the Indiana Business Law Blog since 2009.
Mike's recreational interests include backpacking, fishing, kayaking, gardening and native plants, and woodworking with vintage hand tools.