Matthew “Matt” Smith was born in Gainesville, Florida and grew up in Plant City, Florida. He is a graduate of King High School in Tampa. Matt attended the University of Florida where he graduated cum laude with a Bachelors of Science degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering. During this time, Matt also joined the Marine Corps and attended Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia. Following graduation, Matt enrolled in the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law, graduating in 2007. While in law school, Matt was a member of the Trademark Moot Court team and the Military Law Student Association. Matt passed the bar and was admitted to practice law in 2008.
After graduating from law school, Matt began his service in the Marine Corps in 2008. After completing the Marine Corps Basic School, a rigorous six month course to train lieutenants to lead platoons, Matt continued his legal training at the Naval Justice School (NJS) in Newport, Rhode Island. Upon graduation, Matt was qualified to practice as a judge advocate in the Marine Corps and was promoted to the rank of Captain.
Matt’s first duty station assignment was Okinawa, Japan where he served as the Deputy Staff Judge Advocate for 3d Marine Logistics Group. While there, Matt advised senior military leaders on many aspects of the law including military justice, fiscal law, ethics, and international law. Matt also provided predeployment Law of War and Rules of Engagement briefs to units prior to their deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa, and the Philippines.
After a successful two year tour in Okinawa, Matt was assigned to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in Southern California. There, his first billet assignment was as a criminal defense attorney where he grew to love criminal defense work. Matt served as a defense counsel and a trial team leader for approximately 20 months before being selected to serve as a company commander. As a company commander in the Headquarters Battalion, Matt was responsible for the administrative supervision of over 400 Marines.
Just before the end of his tour at Camp Pendleton, Matt was hand selected for assignment as the Officer-in-Charge of the Marine Corps Defense Counsel Assistance Program (OIC, DCAP). This assignment relocated Matt to Washington, DC and Headquarters Marine Corps. In this billet, Matt was responsible for the training of all the defense counsel in the Marine Corps and he regularly advised the Chief Defense Counsel of the Marine Corps and other Marine Corps defense attorneys on the handling of the Marine Corps’ highest profile cases. Matt was promoted to the rank of Major during this assignment.
Towards the conclusion of Matt’s more than three year tour as OIC, DCAP, he was selected by the highly competitive Commandant’s Professional Intermediate-Level Education Board for the SEP-Law program to receive an advanced law degree. Although this would have been great for his career, Matt recognized that it likely meant his follow-on assignments would begin to involve more and more administrative and managerial type functions and less time in the court room helping Marines. Matt decided that his desire to represent those in need outweighed his desire to remain an active duty Marine. Matt left active duty Marine Corps service and began Matthew T. Smith Law in order to continue to pursue his passion of helping those in need navigate the complex legal system to achieve the justice and vindication they deserve.
- Bachelor of Science, Industrial and Systems Engineering, University of Florida (2004)
- Juris Doctor, University of Florida (2008)
- Florida Bar, 2008
- U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida
- Military Courts Worldwide
- Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
- Hillsborough County Bar Association
- Florida Bar - Criminal Law Section
- Hillsborough County Veterans Treatment Court - Mentor