David S. Smith


Phone: 978-744-8918 x. 12
Email: dsmith@fsofirm.com

Attorney David Smith provides legal services in maritime matters to various corporate and individual clients in Massachusetts and Maine. Additionally, he provides legal advice to many different types of business entities throughout Massachusetts in corporate formation, risk assessment, contracts, negotiations, and litigation. In terms of litigation, the types of cases attorney Smith handles include: contract, vessel arrest, charters, collisions, partnership disputes, real estate, environmental clean-up matters and insurance coverage issues. Attorney Smith is admitted to practice before the courts for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and State of Maine, the United States District Court for the Districts of Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont, and the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.  He has also appeared in Florida and New Hampshire on a pro hac vice basis. 

Attorney Smith graduated as an engineer from Massachusetts Maritime Academy and sailed for several years, ultimately upgrading his U.S. Coast Guard 3rd Engineer’s License (Steam and Diesel Propulsion, Unlimited Horsepower) to a 2nd Engineer’s License (Steam Propulsion, Unlimited Horsepower).  He has also sailed under a limited Master License.  Attorney Smith lends an uncommon perspective to his clients. His unique maritime education and practical work experience have proven to be an invaluable combination in representing various clients involved in the marine industry.

Attorney Smith is the Co-founder and President of Sail Salem, Inc. a non-profit community boating center located on Winter Island in Salem, Massachusetts, as well as the CFO of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy Alumni Foundation.  Attorney Smith is currently serving as the Secretary of the Fisheries Committee for The Maritime Law Association of the United States. He has taught the Admiralty Law Course at New England Law | Boston.

Practice Areas

  • Admiralty and Maritime Law

  • Insurance Defense

  • Insurance Coverage

  • Trial Practice

  • Corporate Formation

  • Corporate Governance

  • Contract Drafting


  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts

  • State of Maine

  • U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts

  • U.S. District Court, District of Maine

  • U.S. District Court, District of Vermont

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit


  • New England School of Law, J.D., 1996

  • Massachusetts Maritime Academy, B.S. Marine Engineering, 1989

Professional Affiliations & Bar Associations

  • The Maritime Law Association of the United States

  • Chair, Fisheries Committee Proctor in Admiralty

  • Massachusetts Marine Trades Association

  • Connecticut Maritime Association

  • Massachusetts Bar Association

Notable Cases

  • Yasi v. M/V HORIZON'S EDGE (O..N. 1092911), D.Mass. Civil Action No. 14-10128-DJC.  (Plaintiff was the first preferred mortgage holder and arrested the vessel for failing to pay its mortgage.  Seven years later, mortgage holders challenged the Plaintiff's preferred status on the basis of equitable subordination and economic duress.  After the vessel was sold, Attorney Smith took the vessel through several sea trials with prospective buyers, one shipyard period, and removed the vessel's gaming equipment cost effectively. The Plaintiff was the successful bidder at the U.S. Marshal's auction.)

  • Pierce v. Royal Caribbean Cruise Ltd., D. Vermont Civil Action No. 2:25-CV-0156-JMC (Jones Act crew member sought in connection with closed head injuries related to a shipboard accident.  Crew member initially demanded a large six figure settlement.  Case was resolved through mediation for five figures.)

  • Farnsworth v. Towboat Nantucket Sound, Inc., 790 F.3d 90 (1st Cir. 2015) (Boat owner sought a preliminary injunction to prevent the towboat company from enforcing the arbitration in a salvage contract and declaration that the salvage contract was unenforceable because the vessel owner entered into the contract under duress.  In affirming the lower court ruling, the First Circuit held the boat owner's challenge to the arbitration provision was too late and the District Court had no basis to refuse to confirm the arbitration panel's award.)

  • Smith Marine, Inc. v. Kyle Conti Construction LLC, D. Mass. Civil Action No.11-11537-LTS (2013) (represented a tug and barge company in a breach of a time charter party for failure to pay hire.  The Delaware River charterer counterclaimed for breach of charter party and breach of the implied warranty of workmanlike performance.  The Court granted the tug and barge company’s summary judgment motion and held the charterer in breach, awarding hire based on all outstanding invoices plus 18% charter party prejudgment interest.  In a subsequent order, "considering the high quality of counsel’s written and oral advocacy in this action," the Court awarded the tug and barge company all of its attorneys’ fees and costs too.”)

  • Suzanne Demers, et. al. v. Ambrose Environmental Management, Inc., New Hampshire Superior Court, Rockingham Civil Action Number 2010-C-75 (2011) (Obtained a defense verdict for an environmental management company after a ten day trial.   Plaintiff was seeking over a $1,000,000 in damages.)

Speeches and Presentations

  • Massachusetts Abandoned Vessel Statute Implementation for the Massachusetts Marine Trade Association.

  • Differences between Salvage and Towing for the Blue Water Sailing Club and United States Power Squadron.