Phil Smith

Head of Department
Crime & Regulatory

+44 78013 98454
Email Phil

Phil heads the Crime & Regulatory team. He is a Band One ranked leading individual for Crime, and a leading individual for Financial Crime in the Chambers directory, which notes that “Clients applaud his ‘excellent judgement and feel for where the case should be going”. Phil is ranked as a leading individual in Crime (General) by the Legal 500 and is consistently acclaimed as “Outstanding in the field” by the Spear’s 500. He has been recognised by the Lawyer Awards in the Client Partner of the year category.

Phil establishes an immediate dialogue with investigating authorities, often successfully making representations to police and specialist agencies not to charge his client.

With over 25 years experience in all areas of criminal law, Phil is renowned for his versatility and crisis management when acting for clients with a public profile, coordinating with PR specialists and our defamation department to head off reputational fallout. His clients include HNWIs and prominent figures from the arts, sports, finance, the professions, broadcast and print media, and academia.

He has recently acted for a high-profile tech investor acquitted of sexual assault in a widely reported case and has acted for partners in City and US law firms, separately investigated domestically by the NCA and internationally by the U.S. DoJ, FBI and IRS.  He successfully represented a former Police and Crime Commissioner on misconduct in public office allegations.


“He has very assured judgement, is quick to respond but always thoughtful and a master tactician.” Chambers and Partners, 2022

“An exceptional talent and a go-to person across the whole spectrum of crime.” Chambers and Partners, 2021

“During difficult circumstances, Phil was the most delightful and calming influence – he was just fantastic.” Chambers and Partners, 2021

“He is absolutely outstanding – forensic, strategic and reassuring, you know you are in the best possible hands with him.” Chambers and Partners, 2021

“He is calm, in control and very good tactically.” Chambers and Partners, 2021

“He is a very calm and a deep-thinking lawyer who looks at every angle of the case.” Chambers and Partners, 2021

“He is responsive, attentive and puts his clients first.” Chambers and Partners, 2021

“The amount of research and attention to detail by partner Phil Smith and associate Henrietta Ronson was something I haven’t seen anywhere else.” Legal 500, 2023

“Under the leadership of the redoubtable Phil Smith, the team works in unison to make the client feel totally at ease and as if they are the most important client at the firm be their case large or small. Very well resourced technologically.” Legal 500, 2023

“Phil Smith has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the law. Clients appreciate the fact that he provides straightforward advice while making it plain that he is always acting in their best interests. He is confident without talking down to clients.” Legal 500, 2022

“Phil Smith is a huge figure in the field. He has an exceptional feel for a case, is terrific at handling clients, and is a pleasure to work with. You get the sense that he thinks, really thinks, about each aspect of the case, from general strategy to critical key decisions.” Legal 500, 2022

“His experience in all areas of criminal law is second to none and he grasps the issues in any case quickly and reassuringly maps out the best way of dealing with crisis management.” Legal 500, 2021

“Phil Smith’s reputation cannot be overstated – he is a force of nature.” Legal 500, 2021

“He commands respect in all criminal spheres and leads the team with a pragmatism, inventiveness and vibrancy that few can match and none can surpass.” Legal 500, 2021

“An excellent client manner and gives clear and effective advice in dealing with highly complex and serious issues.” Legal 500, 2019

“A high-quality addition to the team and a fierce litigator with a fantastic desire to succeed for his clients.” Legal 500, 2019

“Top recommended criminal lawyer ‘Outstanding in Field.'” The Spears’ 500, 2019 & 2018

“Able to get on top of the most detailed case extremely quickly and has a fantastic personable manner – he is someone who engenders immediate trust and respect.” The Spears’ 500

“A great lateral thinker, clients commend his approach: ‘His ability to communicate… and provide advice on complex legal issues in language that clients can understand is without equal” The Spears’ 500

“He has seen it all and nothing seems to faze him.”

“A very tenacious and gifted solicitor who really goes the extra mile for clients.”

“Dedicated, extremely conscientious and charismatic.”

Practice areas
  • ‘Phil Smith is a force of nature – vastly experienced and able he gives no quarter in pursuit of his client’s needs. His instincts are spot on and he just knows what to do in every situation and in his dealings with all parties.’

    Legal 500, 2024
  • ‘Phil Smith is a man who controls the whole process. Give a case to Phil and a good night’s sleep is assured.’

    Legal 500, 2024
  • “Phil Smith is a sure and steady hand and his expertise is evident.”

    Chambers and Partners 2024
  • “Phil looks at every angle on a case to make sure nothing is overlooked. He is a brilliant tactician and extremely calm, even in a crisis.”

    Chambers and Partners 2024
  • “He very quickly had a clear understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the case, possible angles to pursue, and best and worst-case scenarios.”

    Chambers and Partners 2024
  • ‘Phil Smith, head of department, is a first-rate criminal practitioner. He is very popular with clients and the barristers he instructs.

    Chambers and Partners, 2023
  • “Phil is extremely in control and knowledgeable in his field as well as being brilliant with clients, who he can put at ease very quickly in relation to stressful circumstances.”

    Chambers and Partners, 2022
  • “He is unflappable and very calm in a crisis. A brilliant tactician with exceptional judgement.”

    Chambers and Partners, 2022

    “He has an encyclopedic knowledge of the law and his judgement is unparalleled. He provides often complicated advice without talking down to clients.”

    Chambers and Partners, 2023
  • “Phil Smith is a first rate criminal solicitor. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him to anyone. He gets great results – largely as a result of his hard work and ability to see points others often miss.”

    Legal 500, 2023
  • “Phil Smith was absolutely amazing and very well supported by Henrietta Ronson. They were extremely professional.”

    Legal 500, 2023
  • “Department head Phil Smith remains a force of nature: he provides leadership, huge ability, wisdom and the personal touch. Strategically astute, he gives no quarter in the pursuit of the best result for the client.”

    Legal 500, 2023
  • “Phil Smith and Henrietta Ronson have instilled dynamism into an already established high end practice.”

    Legal 500, 2023