Candace B. Smith


When choosing a litigator, certain characteristics stand out above others, such as curiosity, intellect, and a passion to dig deep to find solutions. These characteristics also define Candace Smith.

Her work ethic was evident even as a young child – on her first day of kindergarten, Candace begged her teacher for homework. Building from there, Candace now zealously advocates on behalf of her clients, Candace lives by the notion that going the extra mile can be the tipping point between success and failure.

Candace is a sought-after energy litigator because she is fiercely dedicated to crafting approaches that support her client’s interests. She has successfully taken on federal government officials within the Mine Safety and Health Administration to defend coal company clients. For years, she has effectively defended large companies in commercial and property disputes in some of the most notorious jurisdictions in Kentucky. Now, she is one of the few attorneys leading the way into renewable energy law in Kentucky. At the same time, Candace has become one of the preeminent appellate attorneys in the Commonwealth by practicing nearly a dozen cases before Kentucky’s appellate courts and the Sixth Circuit.

When Candace is not working for her legal clients, she devotes much of her spare time to helping others in the community. Candace’s other passion is working to heal and empower young, single moms in Lexington in her role as Vice President of the Board of Step By Step, Inc. After years of mentoring young, single moms, Candace joined the Board of Directors in 2017, and has served as Vice President for two years, chaired the annual “Step Into Beautiful” fundraiser for two years, and served on several committees. Through working with Step By Step, Candace has seen first-hand how giving to your community can result in lasting, positive change.

Representative Experience

  • Served as second chair for trials in state and federal court and managed extensive pretrial discovery, motion and brief drafting, and witness preparation
  • Litigated oil and gas well and pipeline claims on surface use, ownership, drilling rights, breach of contract, royalty payments, and lease interpretation
  • Represented oil and gas company operator in matter involving mineral trespass and accusation of depletion of oil and gas reserves
  • Defended trespass actions involving well sites and pipeline locations for natural gas operations
  • Handled claims for surface property damage as a result of oil and gas drilling operations
  • Obtained dismissal due to lack of jurisdiction in a royalty dispute for oil and gas operator company
  • Litigated personal injury matter for international nonprofit organization and obtained summary judgment, resulting in dismissal
  • Interviewed and deposed dozens of key witnesses in matters involving workplace safety, discrimination, and personal injury for mine operators
  • Represented individual and corporate interests in a wide variety of tort, breach of contract, and employment discrimination claims
  • Represented insurance carrier on an uninsured motorists claim involving personal injury
  • Negotiated with the Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration regarding civil penalties for citations
  • Defended recreational business in products liability paraplegia law suit
  • Represented mining companies on a variety of MSHA matters, including 105(c) complaints, flagrant violation challenges, 110(c) investigations, and general Mine Act compliance training
  • Assisted national retail store in enforcing company-wide arbitration clause in employment discrimination suit

Licensed In

  • Kentucky


  • J.D. Wake Forest University School of Law
  • B.A. Transylvania University


  • Board of Directors, Kentucky Oil and Gas Association
  • President, Board of Directors, Step By Step
  • Member, Central Kentucky American Inn of Court
  • Business Editor, Wake Forest Law Review
  • Completed the University of Virginia Trial Academy (2019)
  • Kentucky Coal Association
  • Graduate, Leadership Lexington, 2017
  • Junior League of Lexington, 2014-2015
  • Board, Living Arts & Science Center H’artful of Fun, 2013-2014
  • Member, Junior League of Winston-Salem, 2012-2013


  • The Best Lawyers in America®, Commercial Litigation (2023-Present)

Speaking Engagements

  • “Property Owner Owes No Legal Duty to Neighboring Cattle Farmers for Harm Caused by Poisonous Yew Bushes,” for Cow Country News (December 2019)
  • “Default Method for Calculating Royalties in KY, WV, PA, VA,” Southern Appalachian Association of Professional Landmen, December 2016

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