Q&A with O’Reilly Rancilio Shareholder Lori Smith, President of the Macomb County Bar Association

Q&A with O’Reilly R…

O’Reilly Rancilio welcomed attorney Lori Smith to its Litigation and Disputes Practice Group on April 1, 2022. Lori, a Macomb County resident and native, leads the firm’s Family Law practice area. She is also the current President of the Macomb County Bar Association, a former president and current Director of the Macomb County Bar Foundation, and the President-Elect of the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan Macomb Chapter. Below is a Q&A with Lori on her background, why she chose Family Law, and more."

  1. Why did you decide to become an attorney? “I was in the advertising industry for approximately ten years, and I was working full-time while I was working to obtain my bachelor’s degree. I had to take a business law class as part of the curriculum and found the class interesting. I commented to a family member about how I was considering going to law school and I was told it wouldn’t be possible to work full time and go to law school full time. That was pretty much the final nudge that I needed because I do not like being told what I am capable of doing. I truly believe that you can accomplish anything if you put in the time and effort required to do so.”
  2. Where did you go to college? “I went to Macomb Community College for some of my prerequisites, then I attend Walsh and obtained my bachelor's degree in business administration with a minor in marketing. Then I attended Cooley (Thomas S. Cooley Law School) for law school. All of the schools provided me with the flexibility that I needed to continue to work while obtaining my education.”
  3. Why family law in particular? “Interestingly, I just kind of fell into it. On my first day of law school, I was the first person called on and the instructor asked what area of law we wanted to practice. I responded that I wanted to do anything other than criminal or family law. I participated in an internship with the Macomb County Prosecutor’s office when I was still at law school because I wanted to confirm that I did not want to practice criminal law. Well, it turned out that I enjoyed it. So following law school, I started as a solo practitioner working in criminal defense and I was connected with an attorney in Macomb who needed help with family law, so I just started helping her with it. I just kind of fell into it. I appreciate being able to help clients and their families through difficult times. It’s stressful, but it seems like I’m also giving something back along the way and that’s what I like.”
  4. You practice only family law then? “Yes, I want to be good at what I do, or at least do my best at it. I don’t want to be the proverbial jack of all trades and master of none. I like to focus on this area because the law is always changing, and it helps me to try to stay current on the changes in this area of law.”
  5. Is there any case that comes up as rewarding or memorable? “There are lots, which I know sounds kind of cheesy, but it’s true. Every case that concludes with an amicable resolution to the benefit of the entire family is rewarding. Unfortunately, they do not all work that way because these types of cases can be very contentious. However, anytime I can assist a family to reach an amicable resolution, help them adopt tools to learn to effectively co-parent for the benefit of their children, help a parent whose custody or parenting time rights have been violated, and assist a client with million other scenarios that come into the play in my practice of law – is both memorable and rewarding to me.”
  6. What nonprofits are you involved with and why did you get involved? "The Macomb County Bar Foundation, I’m a former president and current director. Then there’s the Friends of the Macomb County Veteran’s Treatment Court. I’ve been their secretary since its inception in 2011 or 2012. I am also the President-Elect for the Women Lawyer’s Association of Michigan Macomb Chapter. I also serve on the Advisory Council for the Capuchin Soup Kitchen’s Jefferson House and have served on that board since around 2008-2009 I believe. Another program that I have become involved with this Miss Amazing, it’s a pageant for women with special needs. I’ve been very blessed, so I want to give that back as best as I can.”
  7. Why did you choose O’Reilly Rancilio? “O’Reilly Rancilio has the reputation as the preeminent law firm in the county and it didn’t specifically have a family law group, so I knew this was a void that I could help fill. In addition, I wanted to get back to Macomb County. Macomb is my home.”
  8. Where did you grow up? “I grew up in Utica and I attended Utica High School.”
  9. What do you do in your free time? “I have one niece and five nephews and a plethora of other 'nieces and nephews' from some of my dearest friends. I also have a large extended family and I genuinely enjoy doing things and spending time with them. I also love my role as one of the coaches for a NEAR softball team. It is an adaptive softball team for people with special needs. I have met some amazing people in my participation in this program over the past several years, and it is something that I truly enjoy.”