General Counsel and Executive Vice President, Legal and Corporate Affairs, Microsoft
Brad Smith is Microsoft’s general counsel and executive vice president, Legal and Corporate Affairs. He leads the company’s Department of Legal and Corporate Affairs (LCA), which has just over 1,000 employees and is responsible for the company’s legal work, its intellectual property portfolio and patent licensing business, and its government affairs and philanthropic work. He also serves as Microsoft’s corporate secretary and its chief compliance officer.
Since becoming general counsel in 2002, Smith has overseen numerous negotiations leading to competition law and intellectual property agreements with governments around the world and with companies across the IT sector. He has helped spearhead the growth in the company’s intellectual property portfolio and the launch of global campaigns to bring enforcement actions against those engaged in software piracy and counterfeiting, malware, consumer fraud, and other digital crimes. As software has migrated online and into a computing “cloud,” one of LCA’s current principal goals is to help establish the legal foundation for this next generation of technology.
Smith has played a central role in ensuring that Microsoft fulfills its corporate responsibilities. In recent years Microsoft has consistently ranked in the top 2 percent of the S&P 500 for corporate governance scores. During Smith’s tenure, the company’s citizenship programs have reached almost 300 million people in 120 countries through technology training programs that help individuals develop the skills needed to obtain jobs. Smith has also helped advance several significant diversity and pro bono initiatives, both within Microsoft and in the broader legal profession. He currently co-chairs the board of directors of Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) and serves as chair of the Pipeline Committee of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity.
Smith also serves as Microsoft’s senior executive responsible for the company’s corporate citizenship in Washington State. He has served as chair of the Washington Roundtable, a leading Washington state-based business organization. In 2010 he chaired for Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire her Higher Education Funding Task Force, and in 2011 he helped advocate for the successful adoption by the legislature of the Task Force’s recommendations, including tuition-setting authority and increased accountability for the state’s public universities and for the nation’s first private-public funded endowment to enable more students to attend college. During the past year, Smith and his wife, Kathy Surace-Smith, co-chaired the annual campaign for the United Way of King County, the country’s largest United Way campaign.
Before joining Microsoft in 1993, Smith was a partner at Covington & Burling, having worked in the firm’s Washington, D.C., and London offices. He graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University and received his law degree at the Columbia University School of Law. He also studied international law and economics at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland.
Smith has written numerous articles and commentaries regarding international intellectual property and Internet policy issues, and has served as a lecturer at The Hague Academy of International Law. He can be followed at http://twitter.com/#BradSmi.