Brad Smith is Microsoft’s general counsel and senior 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 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 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 280 million people in 110 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.
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 regarding international intellectual property and electronic commerce issues, and has served as a lecturer at The Hague Academy of International Law.
Smith currently serves as chair of the Washington Roundtable, a leading Washington state-based business organization. He also chairs the Advocacy Committee of the Association of Corporate Counsel, co-chairs the Board of Directors of Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), and serves on the board executive committees of the Business Software Alliance, the Seattle Foundation, and the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity.
In 2010, Smith and his wife, Kathy Surace-Smith, general counsel of a Seattle medical devices company, will co-chair the annual campaign for the United Way of King County, the country’s largest United Way campaign.
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