Phillip Smith is Of Counsel with The Van Winkle Law Firm, where he practiced 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.

Practice Areas


Awards & Honors

  • The Best Lawyers in America® 2020, Asheville Area – 
    • Commercial Litigation
    • Construction Law
    • Litigation – Construction
  • 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. The 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 a 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.


  • Temple University, Juris Doctor, 1972
  • Wake Forest University, Bachelor’s Degree, 1968

Professional Affiliations

  • Defense Research Institute
  • Harry C. Martin American Inns of Court
  • Inactive Member of the Buncombe County Bar
  • Retired Member of the American Health Lawyers Association
  • Retired Member of the Buncombe County Bar Association, Past President
  • Retired Member of the North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys
  • Retired Member of the North Carolina Bar Association
  • Retired Member of the North Carolina State Bar

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

Born in Birkenhead, 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 was the 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