Melissa R. Smith


Melissa is a partner in the firm of Gillam & Smith. She tries lawsuits in the state and federal courts of the Eastern District of Texas for both plaintiffs and defendants.

As a result of her courtroom success on the plaintiff side, she has had verdicts listed as Verdict Search’s Top Texas Verdicts for 8 separate  years including most recently in 2017 and was inducted into the Texas Lawyer’s , Texas Verdicts Hall of Fame in 2013.

On the defense side, Melissa has tried multiple patent  cases to verdict that resulted in both non infringement and invalidity verdicts. She has served as local counsel for visiting lawyers in more than fifteen hundred  patent cases.

Melissa is recognized among the top lawyers in her field. She has been named a Texas Superlawyer every year since 2008, a top 50 Texas Female Lawyer for multiple years,  and has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as both a Top 100 Trial Lawyer and previously as a Top 40 lawyer under age 40. She has been designated as a “go-to” lawyer by numerous Fortune 500 Companies in the area of intellectual property. She has been rated AV Preeminent by Lexis Nexis  / Martindale-Hubbell. Most recently she was included in Benchmark’s Top 250 Women in Litigation.

Melissa is actively involved in activities in the Eastern District of Texas as a member of the T. John Ward American Inn of Court and the East Texas Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates. She has served in appointed positions including the Eastern District Local Rules Advisory Committee, Eastern District of Texas Bar Board of Directors where she currently serves as Vice-President, Federal Magistrate Merit Selection Panels, and Federal Magistrate Reappointment Evaluation Committees.

Melissa serves as a Jaworski Fellow at Baylor Law School.

Melissa lives with her family on a working cattle ranch and rides and shows cutting horses in her free time.


  • J.D., Baylor School of Law, Waco, Texas
  • B.A., University of Texas at Austin


  • The State Bar of Texas – State Bar No. 24001351
  • The United States District Courts for the Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western Districts of Texas
  • The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • The Supreme Court of the United States


  • American Board of Trial Advocates
  • T John Ward American Inn of Court
  • Texas Trial Lawyers Association
    • Fellowship Member
    • Board of Directors
  • American Association for Justice (formerly “ATLA”)
    • Leader’s Forum Member
    • Executive Committee, 2005-2006, 2011-2012
    • Board of Governors, 2005-2018
    • Women Trial Lawyers Division, Chair 2009-2010
    • New Lawyers Division, Chair 2004-2005
  • Northeast Texas Trial Lawyers Association, President, 2002


  • Moderator, GDPR, Getting Up To Speed On The New Rules. 2018 Eastern District Bench Bar Conference.
  • Moderator, Maximizing and Minimizing Damages. How Best to Monetize Innovation?2017 Eastern District Bench Bar Conference.
  • Speaker, “Role of Lawyer as Officer of the Court and Related Ethical Duties Not to Lead Judges Astray, Not to Unduly Delay, Candor and Fair Play.” 2014 Eastern District Bench Bar Conference
  • Speaker, “Key Decisions from The Eastern District of Texas,” 2012 Eastern District Bench Bar Conference
  • Speaker, “The Ethics of Advocacy,” 2011 Eastern District of Texas Bench Bar Conference
  • Speaker, “Using the New Electronic Discovery Rules to Plaintiff’s Advantage,” WTLA 2007 Winter Meeting
  • Speaker, “Electronic Discovery Roundtable: The New Federal Rules Teleseminar,” Association of Trial Lawyers of America, 2006
  • Speaker, “Patent Litigation: Filling the Void That Tort Reform Left,” Western Trial Lawyers Association 2005 Annual Convention
  • Moderator, “Getting Off to a Running Start: Strategies for the New Lawyer,” ATLA 2005 Annual Convention
  • Author, “The Road Less Traveled,” Trial Magazine, January 2003


  • Rated AV Preeminent by Lexis Nexis/Martindale–Hubbell, the leading guide to the nation’s top attorneys/law firms since 2014
  • Elected to Board of Directors of Eastern District of Texas Bar Association, 2014-18
  • Named to Texas Super Lawyers, 2012-2018, Thomson Reuters
  • Named to Texas Super Lawyers, Top 50 women, 2017 and 2018.
  • Named to Texas Super Lawyers Rising Stars, 2008-2011, Thomson Reuters
  • Inducted into 2013 Texas Lawyers, Texas Verdicts Hall of Fame
  • Verdict Search Top Texas Verdicts, 8 years
  • Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum
  • The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers
  • The National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40
  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
  • Appointed to Eastern District of Texas Federal Magistrate Reappointment Evaluation Committee
  • Appointed to Eastern District of Texas Federal Magistrate Merit Panel
  • Appointed to Eastern District of Texas Local Rules Advisory Committee, 2009-2013
  • Texas Bar Foundation, Sustaining Life Fellow
  • AAJ F. Scott Baldwin Award for “Most Outstanding Young Trial Lawyer”
  • Marshall Texas Hometown Best Attorney
  • University of Texas President’s Associate, Member of Littlefield Society, Longhorn Foundation Member
  • Baylor Law School Jaworski Fellow.


  • Board Certified, Civil Trial Advocate and Civil Pretrial Practice, National Board of Trial Advocacy
  • Board Certified, Personal Injury Trial Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization