Philip J. Smith


Phone (828) 258-2991
Fax (828) 257-2767
Temple University
Juris Doctor, 1972
Wake Forest University
Bachelor’s Degree, 1968

Phillip Smith is a principal with The Van Winkle Law Firm, where he practices in the areas of healthcare, construction, professional malpractice defense, products liability, banking and commercial law.  Since joining the firm in 1972, he has supported the business operations of professionals in accounting, architecture, dentistry, engineering and law.  He successfully defended physicians and their practices against multi-million dollar claims of negligence and defended a hospital in a similarly large claim asserting deprivation of due process, freedom of speech, breach of contract, slander and contract interference.

Professional Affiliations 
  • 28th Judicial District Bar, Past President
  • American Health Lawyers Association
  • Buncombe County Bar Association, Past President
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Harry C. Martin American Inns of Court
  • North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys
  • North Carolina Bar Association
  • North Carolina State Bar
Awards and Honors
  • AV Peer-Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Best Lawyers in America
  • Business North Carolina Legal Elite
  • North Carolina Super Lawyers
Practice Highlights
  • Successfully defended local hospital in U.S. District Court in a multi-million dollar claim commenced by a surgeon as a result of his medical privileges being summarily suspended at the recommendation of the hospital’s medical staff. The action asserted claims for deprivation of due process, freedom of speech, breach of contract, slander and contract interference. Case is on appeal to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Unwinding of two major medical practices and successful negotiation of terms without litigation or alternative dispute resolution and no interruption of practice business.
  • Jury verdict in favor of surgeon who bypassed the wrong coronary artery alleged to have been the result of negligence causing the plaintiff to sustain a subsequent myocardial infarction.
  • Successful defense of multiple physicians and an academic medical center in a $24 million impaired baby case.

Born in Berkinhead, England, Phil grew up in Newtown, Pa., before making his home in Asheville, N.C., upon graduation from law school. In his spare time, he enjoys nature, gardening, bicycling, woodworking, snow skiing, tennis and sailing.

Phil has two children with his wife, Pat, who is executive director of the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina.

Favorite Food:             My wife’s paella
Favorite Artists:          Bierstadt, Renoir, Will Henry Stevens
Favorite Music:           At the moment, big bands
Favorite Author:          David McCullough
Favorite Movie:           “The Shawshank Redemption”
Guilty Pleasures:        Chocolate (preferably dark) and good wine

Community Involvement
  • Asheville City Schools Foundation
  • Asheville Chamber of Commerce Healthcare Roundtable
  • Asheville-Buncombe Christian Ministries Board of Directors, Former President
  • Central United Methodist Church Board of Trustees, Former Chairperson
  • Pisgah Legal Services, Former President
  • United Way
  • Wake Forest University Alumni Council
  • YMCA Board of Directors