Mary Leslie Smith


Mary Leslie Smith


Leslie Smith is a partner with Foley & Lardner LLP. Leslie litigates a range of commercial matters at both the trial and appellate levels in both federal and state courts. Her franchising and distribution practice provides clients with counseling and litigation services, from initial negotiations through resolution, including mediation, arbitration and trial. Leslie has represented franchisors and distributors in a variety of commercial disputes involving trademarks, trade secrets, covenants not to compete and vicarious liability claims. She is a member of the Distribution & Franchise Practice and the former managing partner of the Miami office.


Representative Experience

  • Obtaining a favorable verdict for a hospitality franchisor client on its counterclaim for breach of a franchise agreement preceded by the entry of summary judgment in favor of the franchisor, its parent company and two former employees on the franchisee’s complaint alleging RICO violations. The counterclaim was tried non-jury after the court granted our clients’ motion to strike jury demand
  • Obtaining a summary judgment on a franchisor’s claims for post termination trademark infringement and counterfeiting against its former franchisee
  • Obtaining injunctive relief on a distributor’s claims against a former employee for misappropriation of trade secrets and violations of a covenant not to compete
  • Successfully defending a franchisor client from a competitor’s motion for injunctive relief arising out of claims of false advertising
  • Obtaining a summary judgment for a franchisor in a wrongful death action involving Florida’s Dram Shop law
  • Obtaining a preliminary injunction against a former employee of a logistics client for violation of the employee’s covenant not to compete who claimed the covenant to be unenforceable on the grounds of workplace harassment
  • Winning preliminary injunctions on behalf of many franchisor clients to prevent former franchisee’s unauthorized use of the franchisor’s registered trademarks

Awards and Recognition

  • Selected as a 2023 “Franchise Law Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers.
  • Recognized by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business as one of the top franchise attorneys nationwide (2010 – 2023)
  • Selected by her peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© in the field of Franchise Law (2013 – 2024)
  • Recognized as a Top Lawyer – Franchise in South Florida Legal Guide (2015 – 2018)
  • Named to BTI Consulting Group’s coveted Client Service All Star Team in 2017, this honor is bestowed upon individual attorneys who deliver outstanding client service according to corporate counsel interviewed at large organizations with $1 billion or more in revenue
  • Peer Review Rated as AV Preeminent®, the highest performance rating in Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™
  • Recognized by The International Who’s Who of Franchise Lawyers (2009 – 2013, 2016 – 2017)
  • Selected for inclusion in the Florida Super Lawyers list (2014 – 2017)
  • Recognized by her peers as one of Franchise Times Legal Eagles (2013 – 2014)


  • Member, Forum on Franchising
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, International Franchise Association
  • Member, Board of Governors Young Lawyers Division Executive Committee
  • Member, Women Presidents’ Organization
  • Member 100+ Women Who Care
  • Past member, Governing Committee
  • Past member, Florida State Bar Association
  • Past-president, Dade County Bar Association

Presentations and Publications

  • Co-author, “Annual Franchise and Distribution Law Developments,” American Bar Association (2004)
02 January 2024 In the News

Leslie Smith Discusses Growth in Florida Legal Market

Foley & Lardner LLP Miami office managing partner Leslie Smith spoke with Law360 for its article, “Fla. Law Firm Leaders Envision Continued Growth In 2024.”
17 August 2023 Honors and Awards

Foley Attorneys Recognized in 2024 Best Lawyers in America

Foley & Lardner LLP proudly announced today that 236 of the firm’s attorneys across 20 U.S. offices have received recognition in the 2024 edition of The Best Lawyers in America©.
01 June 2023 Press Releases

Foley Earns Top Rankings in Chambers USA 2023

Foley & Lardner LLP is pleased to announce that it has again been recognized by Chambers & Partners as one of the top law firms in the country in the 2023 edition of Chambers USA, America’s Leading Lawyers for Business.
18 August 2022 Press Releases

Foley Attorneys Recognized in 2023 Best Lawyers in America

Foley & Lardner LLP proudly announced that 250 of our attorneys across 20 offices have received recognition in the 2023 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.
01 June 2022 Press Releases

Foley Ranks Among Nation’s Top Law Firms in Chambers USA 2022

Foley has again been recognized by Chambers & Partners as one of the top law firms in the 2022 edition of Chambers USA, America’s Leading Lawyers for Business.
19 May 2022 Events

Words Matter: Crafting Arbitration Agreements That Stick — A View from the Trenches

Join Foley’s Roland Potts, Leslie Smith, and Michael Lockerby on May 19 in a detailed discussion of arbitration agreements and how to ensure they remain enforceable, mean what they say, and say what they mean.