About

For 20 years, I’ve been a local, state, and national voice for tolerance, diversity, and inclusion within the legal profession. Comfortable on stage before hundreds, or in quiet meetings of a few, I am a persuasive voice of reason for sensible progress. America’s most prestigious legal professional organizations have endorsed my balanced approach: “Pioneer”, “Leader”, “Humanitarian”. Now, I’m focusing that experience on helping law firms and corporations achieve their own inclusive excellence. Valorem Institute was created to recognize and grow value: the individual, the team, and the overall excellence of your organization.

Larry D. Smith, Esq.

Valorem is Latin for value. Inclusive Excellence is a concept borrowed from the academic world linking the concepts of diversity, inclusion, and excellence in a cohesive program to benefit students, teachers, and the institution itself. The Institute serves as a clearing house for speaking and consulting, as a resource for lawyers to stay abreast of current events in the area of diversity and inclusion, and a forum to provide suggestions and recognition to further the goals of inclusive excellence. We’d like to help your team.

Larry D. Smith, Esq.

Larry is the recipient of the following notable awards:

  • The Litigation Counsel of America and Diversity Law Institute’s Diversity Award (2019);
  • The Florida Bar G. Kirk Haas Humanitarian Award (2016);
  • The Florida Bar Young Lawyer Division Diversity Award 2016 (for “his commitment to diversity in the legal profession”);
  • Defense Research Institute Sheryl J. Willert Pioneer Diversity Award, 2015 (“for demonstrated commitment to diversity in the legal profession”);
  • The Litigation Counsel of America’s Inaugural Peter Perlman Service Award, 2015 (recognizing those who “contribute in meaningful ways to society by giving back their time and resources in an effort to improve the lives of others”);
  • The American Bar Association Section of Litigation Diversity Leadership Award 2013 (for “commitment to promoting full and equal participation in the legal profession through the encouragement and inclusion of women, people of color, persons with disabilities and/or persons of differing sexual orientations and gender identities); and
  • Florida Bar Henry Latimer Diversity Award 2013 (submitted unanimously by the Florida Association for Women, the Virgil Hawkins National Bar Association Florida Chapter, and the Florida Bar Equal Opportunities in Law Section, for

Larry is the first openly gay attorney to receive any of these awards and the only person to win all of them. He continues to write and speak about the importance of diversity and inclusion.

At Valorem, we believe diversity drives innovation and inclusion creates strength. Together we can create inclusive workplaces that move beyond socially constructed barriers and stereotypes to drive value for your company.

Larry Smith defends American and global companies in complex, catastrophic, or otherwise high-exposure personal injury cases throughout Florida and the southeast. His clients range from small businesses to Fortune 10 companies, including product, medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturers, and insurance/reinsurance companies (and their insureds). He has been selected as a Super Lawyer for the past 10 consecutive years, listed among Florida Trend Magazine’s Legal Elite, and ranked as AV-Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell. Through additional peer nomination and election, he is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, Member of the International Association of Defense Counsel, and Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel. Larry has been a member of the Defense Research Institute (DRI) – the Voice of the Defense Bar – for more than 25 years.

Larry obtained his B.S. from the University of North Alabama With Great Honor in 1979 and his J.D. from the University of Alabama in 1984. He is a member of The Florida Bar, Alabama Bar, U.S. Supreme Court, Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and United States District Courts for the Northern, Southern, and Central Districts of Florida.

Larry recently celebrated his 22nd anniversary with his partner, Clayton Glover. They are the proud parents of Jennifer, an attorney in Orlando, and Marybeth, Assistant Director for Undergraduate Affairs in the Office of the Provost at Emory University.

A firm believer that we make a living by what we earn, but we make a life by what we give, Larry has long been active in the profession and in professional organizations on a local, state, and national level. Some of Larry’s past or present diversity and inclusion activities include:

  • First openly gay attorney asked to address The Florida Bar on diversity issues and assisted in development of the first training manual on diversity sensitivity;
  • First openly gay attorney to serve on the Florida Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism (Chair, Diversity Subcommittee, three terms);
  • Charter member, and eventual Chair, of The Florida Bar Equal Opportunities in Law Section;
  • The Florida Bar Leadership Academy;
  • The Florida Bar Special Committee on Diversity and Inclusion;
  • The Florida Bar Standing Committee on Diversity and Inclusion (Executive Council 2018- );
  • The Florida Bar Standing Committee on Professionalism;
  • Diversity Law Institute, Advisory Board;
  • Former chair of the Diversity Committee of the ABA Section of Litigation’s Ethics and Professionalism Committee;
  • Former Co-Chair of the Defense Research Institute’s Diversity Committee;
  • Former Chair of the Diversity Committee of the Claims & Litigation Management Alliance;
  • Co Vice-Chair of the International Association of Defense Counsel’s Diversity Committee;
  • Former Chair of the Orange County Bar Association Diversity & Inclusion Committee;
  • Founder, Former President, and Member of the Board of Directors, Central Florida Gay & Lesbian Law Association – the second LGBT voluntary bar association in the state;
  • Surrounded by armed undercover policemen on the steps of Orlando’s City Hall, Larry helped successfully champion employment, housing, and public accommodations equality for Orlando’s LGBT citizens for which he was named Co-Person of the Year 2002 by Watermark Magazine;
  • Larry is a frequent national author and speaker on diversity issues.

For nearly twenty years, I have had the privilege of a front row seat to Larry’s commitment to diversity. … I thank and credit Larry for enhancing my own ability to more effectively communicate and engage others on the true concept of diversity and inclusion beyond just race and gender.

Toyja Kelly

Past President, Defense Research Institute (DRI)