Adam Smith


My diverse experience enables me to provide ‎comprehensive services to clients because I understand the ‎legal, technical, and political aspects of their land use ‎projects.‎

How I represent clients at Schwabe

Land use issues have been at the core of my practice ‎for more than 13 years. I am often sought out for ‎my in-depth knowledge of the unique challenges ‎faced by Oregon’s commercial, residential, and ‎institutional developers in obtaining land use ‎approval.‎

Prior to joining Schwabe, I worked in local government as an ‎Assistant Legal Counsel for Deschutes County in Bend, Oregon, and ‎Deputy County Attorney for La Plata County in Durango, Colorado. ‎While with Deschutes County, I managed the county’s land use ‎appeal docket and gained valuable experience bringing numerous ‎cases before the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals, the Oregon ‎Court of Appeals, and Deschutes County Circuit Court. In addition, I ‎have significant experience with ad valorem property tax appeals, ‎code enforcement litigation, and policy issues involving natural ‎resources, water law, Federal Public Lands, oil and gas, and tribal ‎matters.‎

Before attending law school, I was a mechanical engineer and a ‎Captain in the U.S. Air Force.‎


  • Defended a local legislative text amendment before the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) and Oregon Court of Appeals, ensuring compliance with the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Person Act.
  • Managed over 70 land use cases before LUBA and the Oregon Court of Appeals.
  • As lead land use attorney for two local governments, provided legal representation and advice to numerous Board of County Commissioners, Planning Commissions, Hearings Officers, and Planning staff regarding quasi-judicial land use matters, legislative text amendments, proposed and adopted statutory changes, policy issues, building code interpretations, and numerous day-to-day land use matters.
  • Represented a local government assessor in ad valorem property tax appeals in Oregon Tax Court’s Magistrate and Regular Divisions.


  • University of Colorado, School of Law, Juris Doctor degree (2008)‎
  • St. John’s College, Master of Arts degree, Liberal Arts (2005)‎
  • United States Air Force Academy, Bachelor of Science degree, Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Mechanics (2001)


  • Colorado Federal Courts
  • Colorado State Courts
  • Oregon Federal Court
  • Oregon State Courts


Oregon State Bar, Executive Committee, Real Estate & Land Use Section (2021-present)

Additional Events

Better Findings Through Modern Case Law: 2020 Update; Association of Oregon County Planning Directors

Effectively Representing Parties in Land Use Hearings; Real Estate and Land Use Annual Summer Conference; August, 2019

Outside Interests

Adam enjoys spending time with his family mountain biking, skiing, climbing, and fly fishing.

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