Working with Smith Haughey Rice & roegge
Since 1941, Smith Haughey has been helping our clients overcome challenges and take advantage of opportunities. Built on the foundation of litigation excellence, Smith Haughey has grown into a firm that serves businesses and individuals at every stage of their growth and planning.
Whether it’s assessing a potential lawsuit, growing your business, or protecting your personal assets, our attorneys are committed to fully understanding your particular needs while keeping you informed along the way. With our specialized practice areas, we provide the most qualified counsel for a full range of legal matters.
We recognize that it’s people who define success. Our attorneys appreciate the importance of enhancing your existing team – whether it be your employees or your family members – to determine solutions to your problems and aide in your success.
While our clients benefit from services suited to a large firm, they experience the intimacy, flexibility and availability that our team provides.
With offices across the state and more than 60 attorneys, we offer comprehensive legal expertise and accessibility.
At Smith Haughey, we believe that the communities we serve are largely responsible for our decades of success. We also believe that service to others is a privilege. And we believe that we have a responsibility to make our communities a better place. That’s why we’ve made it a habit of giving back to our communities, both through corporate philanthropy and our commitment of time.
Our attorneys and professional staff express their deep sense of community in many ways. We serve as mentors and sit on civic and community boards. We raise money for charities and are actively involved in our children’s schools and our places of worship. Some of us seek to effect change through the political process. Our attorneys regularly provide pro bono legal services to low income individuals and non-profit organizations. Nearly everyone devotes time to a professional affiliation, and everyone is encouraged to do so.
As a firm, Smith Haughey is deeply committed to doing everything we can to support our lawyers and professional staff so that they may make contributions to the causes that are important to them. To that end, we only consider charitable requests that originate from our lawyers and staff. For more information about our community responsibility, please contact Shannon Cunningham or call 616-458-1332.
Smith Haughey recognizes that diversity is a strength and an asset that advances our rich and dynamic environment where individuals are respected for their uniqueness. All of our diversity initiatives and policies reflect Smith Haughey’s deep commitment to equality and social justice. A diverse workforce is essential to our ability to provide our clients with the best possible legal services and to create an atmosphere in which all our people thrive. This includes people of varying races, religions, ages, genders, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, national origins, sexual preferences or orientations, medical conditions or disabilities, and marital, veteran or family status, and all other variances that make each of us who we are. Smith Haughey is committed to maintaining and promoting an inclusive environment and it is this goal that is embodied in the very fabric of the firm.
The firm’s dedication to diversity is reflected in our commitment to time, talent, and resources, and is reinforced by the work of our Diversity & Inclusion Committee. This committee champions the efforts to develop and advance diversity by endorsing and encouraging diversity and inclusion throughout all levels of our firm through training, education, and example.
At Smith Haughey, we appreciate that true diversity is a journey, not a destination, and we are committed to continuous efforts to achieve and maintain an inclusive environment.
Smith Haughey an organization committed to bringing equal communication to our Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing clients.
World War II was well underway in Europe when Clifford A. Mitts, Jr. engaged a new business partner. Mr. Mitts had 15 years of practice under his belt, including nine years as a solo practitioner. At the time, he was operating out of the tallest building in Grand Rapids, Michigan—the historic McKay Tower. Mr. Mitts was a reputed trial attorney and had a solid base of business, including serving as general counsel for Fidelity Corporation and The Hartford.
In 1941, Mr. Mitts formed a partnership with A. B. “Bud” Smith, Jr., who had been an associate at Mr. Mitts’ firm since 1938. That enterprise never had a chance to properly flourish since Mr. Smith was called to military service in 1942. When Mr. Smith returned from the war in 1945, the Mitts & Smith partnership was reestablished. Their business was strongly oriented toward litigation.
In 1948, David O. Haughey, a recent law school graduate, joined the firm. By 1950 he was made a partner and the firm name changed to Mitts, Smith & Haughey. As a young lawyer, Mr. Haughey developed a practice in tort litigation and real estate and financing matters. Later, he focused on product liability litigation, having successfully represented clients such as Dow Chemical and General Motors in important trials.
For the next few decades, the firm came to be regarded as a well established and successful small firm in Western Michigan. Its approximately seven attorneys were consulted by a diverse clientele including insurance agents and companies, realtors, and businesses, mostly in the construction and real estate development industry.
Early in 1962, just after Mr. Mitts’ sudden death, the firm decided to hire the best new law school graduate they could find. L. Roland “Bud” Roegge accepted the offer to join the firm, despite what was a turbulent time in the firm’s history. Although the firm traces its origin back to 1941, it was, in effect, reborn in 1962. Mr. Roegge was immediately thrust into responsible work and over the next decade was involved in all types of matters handled by the firm. That foundation served him well, when in 1974 he was selected to lead the defense of Michigan Chemical Company, now Velsicol, against claims involving the largest environmental disaster in Michigan history. The PBB cases included some 1,000 claims and over 250 lawsuits, and involved sophisticated issues of chemistry, manufacturing, farming, and economics. Mr. Roegge devoted 100% of his time to the successful litigation of the PBB cases, which established him as one of the premier trial attorneys in the state.
Additional attorneys and staff were hired, including Robert V. V. Rice who was previously senior trust officer at Old Kent Bank. His name was added to the masthead in 1965.
The increasing scope of the firm’s client base and an enhanced statewide reputation allowed for mergers with other firms and the opening of offices in cities including Ann Arbor, Holland and Muskegon. The firm’s historical reputation as a leading litigation firm is now equally matched by its leading work in areas such as health care, construction, business law, and estate planning.