David Smart has a name befitting of his profession. The double alumnus (BA ’82, LLB ’85) from UBC works as a lawyer in Richmond, working on commercial litigation, employment law and personal injury.
Besides the surname, Smart says his career in law seemed like a natural fit, given his undergraduate degree in economics.
“Law and economics use similar skills,” he said. “Economics is analytical and mathematical, and law lends itself to that way of thinking.”
Smart talks about his work and his time at UBC in this Q&A.
Describe your current role.
As a lawyer, I deal exclusively in litigation, which means I’m involved in dispute resolution. Much of my day involves negotiation. For example, a client could buy a large piece of property, but then discover that they didn’t get what they were promised, or their real estate agent misrepresented the deal. Other cases involve shareholder or contractual disputes. A vast majority of lawsuits conclude long before it goes to a trial, which means being a strong negotiator is key. A good negotiator is logical and analytical, and having an economics background when it’s combined with an understanding of the law helps.
What do you enjoy the most about your job?
One of the most rewarding parts is producing a good result for a client. Litigation is expensive, and when you’re able to work out a cost-effective solution, as well as meeting the expectations of a client, it leads to a gratifying day.
I grew up on Vancouver Island and I wanted to go to a big school, in a big city, and UBC seemed like an obvious route. My mother worked in finance and my dad was a doctor, so I had aspirations of a career that matched in sophistication. UBC helped me down that path.
What’s your favourite memory of UBC?
I played on the Rugby Club at UBC. We had a lot of fun and I still have a lot of close friends from the team to this day.
Smart works for the law firm, Pryke Lambert Leathley Russell. He holds a bachelor’s honours degree in economics from UBC’s Dept of Economics, now the Vancouver School of Economics, and a law degree from UBC’s Faculty of Law, now the Peter A. Allard School of Law. He lives in Vancouver.