Tue, 24 July 2018
Linda Smith returns to Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do for another interview.
Linda is one of the few women to reach the summit of the legal profession. She has represented the world’s foremost companies in “bet-the-company” cases where everything is at stake.
Her successes have allowed her to do wondrous things: travel the world to meet with clients and foreign governments, appear before the U.S. Supreme Court, match wits with Michael Dell and Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone, counsel boards of directors with tens of billions of dollars on the line, and walk the red carpet at the Golden Globes with George Clooney and Viola Davis.
On behalf of AMD, Linda led a team of 200+ lawyers to beat Intel in a multibillion-dollar antitrust case. She successfully defended Exxon in another giant case that falsely questioned the company’s cleanup efforts in Alaska. On behalf of the auditors of BCCI, then the fifth largest bank in the world, she defended a lawsuit brought by one million depositors for $30 billion. In industries ranging from accounting to show business, she’s taken on the toughest challenges and emerged victorious over and over again. She has also given back by handling pro bono cases all the way up to the Supreme Court, most recently when she represented immigrant mothers of U.S. citizen children facing deportation and the breakup of their families.
During her 40-year career at O'Melveny & Myers, Linda has often tangled with outsized male egos, from CBS head Les Moonves to Mick Jagger, without ever breaking stride. Her tenacity as a cross-examiner earned her the prodigious title of “The Meanest Woman Alive.” While she's definitely the “meanest” to hostile witnesses or opposing lawyers who try to pull a fast one, outside the courtroom Smith is known for her sense of humor, fierce loyalty, and deep commitment to collaboration.
After mentoring women for decades, Linda has taken on a broader mission to empower ambitious women in all fields to use their talent, smarts, and femininity to reach their own pinnacles of success. Whether the challenge is defeating gender stereotypes, conquering self-sabotaging behaviors, handling difficult men, or attaining leadership positions, Linda draws on her own experiences and those of other highly successful women to show women how to come out on top by embodying the best traits of women—while beating the men at their own game.