Mariel E. Smith

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Mariel E. Smith



Mariel E. Smith’s primary practice is comprised of education and employment law. Mariel regularly represents school districts in employment matters, drafting Board policies, handling due process hearings, and handling Title IX claims. She has years of experience in defending companies in lawsuits and pre-litigation investigations involving agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the U.S. Department of Labor, the Georgia Department of Labor, and the United States International Trade Commission.

Her litigation experience in employment and labor law include defending employers in wage and hour, discrimination, and harassment claims. She also has experience in representing clients in mediation. She has assisted clients in workplace internal investigations as well as those involving employees charged with white collar federal crimes. She also has experience assisting private companies undergoing workforce reductions.

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Mariel originally joined the Columbus office of HBS in 2011 after she worked for several years as a Superior Court Judicial law clerk and subsequently as an Assistant District Attorney, all for the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit. During her first few years at HBS, Mariel also served as the Associate Magistrate Judge for Muscogee County and occasionally filled in on the bench for Municipal Court, presiding over civil lawsuits, criminal first appearance hearings, truancy hearings, and warrant applications.

Mariel left HBS in 2017 to work as General Counsel for a global manufacturing company and returned in 2019. During her time as General Counsel, Mariel managed complex litigation, including lawsuits involving products liability matters, patent infringement, and trade secret theft and also maintained the company’s trademark and patent inventory. She gained a significant amount of experience in negotiating, revising, and managing agreements including those with two of the largest multinational retail corporations.

She has also successfully negotiated international agreements as related to operations and procurement in the manufacturing industry. Mariel has unique expertise in consumer and commercial law, particularly as related to ecommerce, business compliance with consumer privacy laws, consumer products packaging/labeling, and international trade.



In the context of education law, Mariel regularly researches various issues for school board members and administrators. She recognizes the importance of ensuring that board policies are up-to-date with the constantly changing state and federal education laws. In that regard, Mariel has drafted and revised many board policies related to governance, students, fiscal management, and personnel.

Additionally, Mariel provides representation to school districts and employees in defending and investigating lawsuits involving sexual harassment, discrimination, special education, and even motor vehicle collision occurring within the scope of a district employee’s job duties.

Labor & Employment

Mariel has had the opportunity to defend public and private sector employers and Department of Labor hearings, write opinion letters regarding suspension and termination procedures, and offer guidance in connection with responding to lawsuits involving current and former employees. Clients frequently benefit from Mariel’s familiarity with employment law, particularly in the context of litigation.



State Courts:

  • Georgia
    • Court of Appeals, Supreme Court

U.S. District Courts:

  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia


  • J.D., University of Arkansas
  • B.A., cum laude, Mercer University


  • Columbus American Inn of Court, Barrister, 2011-2023
  • Columbus Bar Association, 2009-2023
  • Georgia Association for Women Lawyer (GAWL) Columbus Chapter; President (Former), Treasurer (Former); 2008-2023
  • Defense Research Institute (DRI)
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  • Society for Human Resource Management, Columbus Chapter
  • Fountain City Bar Association
  • Georgia Defense Lawyers Association


  • Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch® in America, Education Law, Best Lawyers®, 2021-2024
  • On The Rise, Daily Report’s Georgia Legal Awards, 2020
  • Top 40 Under 40, National Black Lawyers, 2015-2017
  • Top 100, National Black Lawyers


  • Getting Bias out of Our Systems
    From Day One Forum, February 2020
  • Social Media and other Hot Topics in Law
    Presented to Arch Insurance Claims Professionals, October 2019
  • Social Media in Claims and Litigation
    RIMs, Great Plains Chapter, Omaha Nebraska; November 2019
  • Americans with Disabilities Act in the Workplace
    Employer-client presentation, 2019
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  • Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace
    Employer-client presentation, 2018-2019
  • How to Cover your Ass-ets
    Creative South, Trademark and Copyright Law Presentation, 2017
  • Is Your Employee Handbook Up to Date?: Essential Components and Sample Policies for Today’s Workplace; and Wage and Benefits Issues
    National Business Institute, 2017
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In the Press

34 Hall Booth Smith Lawyers Named to 2024 Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch® in America

Hall Booth Smith is pleased to announce that 34 lawyers have been included in the 2024 edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch® in America. The award recognizes associates and other lawyers who are earlier in their careers for their outstanding professional excellence in private practice in the United States.

HR Dive: Mariel Smith on Key Considerations for Companies Hiring Summer Interns

In an article published this week by HR Dive, Hall Booth Smith Columbus Partner Mariel E. Smith writes about key considerations for companies and firms hiring summer interns. “While the chance to contribute to a young professional’s future and gain some much-needed help in the office are exciting opportunities, employers must take time in advance

Security Management: Mariel Smith on Remote Work and Office Relationships

Even amid the growth of remote and hybrid work, intimate relationships among co-workers are on the rise, according to the Society of Human Resource Management. While banning workplace romances may not be the answer, Mariel Smith, Columbus-based partner, said leaders should have a policy in place to protect themselves. “Formal contracts can get a ‘little

Hall Booth Smith Attorneys Recognized as 2023 Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch

Thirty-one lawyers from Hall Booth Smith, P.C. (HBS) have been honored as Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch. This recognition is given to attorneys, in a variety of practice groups, who are earlier in their careers for outstanding professional excellence in private practice in the United States. This honor is based on Best Lawyers®’  highly selective

Inc.: Mariel Smith on Supporting Employees with Long-COVID

Hundreds of thousands of dollars spent to no avail. More than 70 rejections from rehabilitation clinics. Even more visits to hospitals, doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, and other specialists. One long-Covid diagnosis. That’s been the reality for the Smith family for the past two years and counting, after Jason Smith, a psychologist and professor by trade, contracted long Covid.

Forbes: Mariel Smith Advises Consulting Help to Ensure Compliance During Background Checks

In a Forbes article about how employee background checks can help companies avoid a crisis, Columbus Partner Mariel Smith advises business leaders to consult a legal professional to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations. “It is very important for employers and HR professionals to consult an employment attorney if they have any questions regarding

Forbes: Mariel Smith on the Impact of OSHA’s Vaccine Rules & Unemployment Benefits

In an update published by Forbes on November 4, 2021, Columbus Partner Mariel Smith discusses how the Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s (OSHA) vaccine rules could impact an employee’s unemployment benefits if they get fired. Subscribers to Forbes.com may read the complete article here.

Part B News: Mariel Smith Discusses Whether Practice Doctors Can Refuse Access to Unvaccinated Patients

In an article published by Part B News on September 20, 2021, Partner Mariel Smith is quoted discutssing whether practice doctors can refuse access to unvaccinated patients. “It’s a very slippery slope,” she cautions. “Think of someone at the door or in the waiting room, and you telling them, ‘Sorry, we can’t see you because

Forbes Advisor: Mariel Smith on Consequences to Unemployment Benefits for COVID-19 Vaccine Refusal

In an article published by Forbes Advisor on August 31, 2021, Partner Mariel Smith is quoted discussing whether employees who refuse to get vaccinated for COVID-19 as per their employer’s policies might find themselves ineligible for unemployment benefits if they get fired. Employees have long understood that if they are fired, they can get unemployment

Hall Booth Smith Attorneys Recognized as 2022 Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch

Thirty lawyers from Hall Booth Smith, P.C. (HBS) have been honored as Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch. This recognition is given to attorneys, in a variety of practice groups, who are earlier in their careers for outstanding professional excellence in private practice in the United States. This honor is based on Best Lawyers’®  highly selective

Part B News: Mariel Smith on How Physician Practices May Limit Liability Related to Patient Violence

In an article published by Part B News on July 19, 2021, Partner Mariel Smith is quoted discussing considerations for physician practices to limit liability related to patient violence. Recent news that a psychiatry resident at Penn Hospital in Philadelphia is suing the facility after a patient stabbed her brought questions of physician practice liability

Eleventh Circuit Holds Websites Are Not Places of Public Accommodation and Rejects the Nexus Standard

Written by: Mariel E. Smith, Esq. In a recent decision, Gil v. Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc., the Eleventh Circuit held that websites are not “places of public accommodation” under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  The ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of

Hall Booth Smith Names Blauvelt, Morrison, and Smith as Partners

ATLANTA – February 3, 2021 – Hall Booth Smith, P.C. (HBS) has named three new partners as the firm elevates leaders and recognizes their outstanding service to clients. Joining the firm’s partnership ranks are Danielle S. Blauvelt in Nashville, Elizabeth F. Morrison  in Charleston and Mariel E. Smith in Columbus. Danielle S. Blauvelt specializes in

Hall Booth Smith Attorneys Recognized in the Inaugural Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch Edition

Twenty lawyers from Hall Booth Smith, P.C. (HBS) have been honored in the inaugural edition of the Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch. This recognition is given to attorneys, in a variety of practice groups, who are earlier in their careers for outstanding professional excellence in private practice in the United States. This honor is based

US Supreme Court Holds That Title VII Protects Homosexual And Transgender Employees

Written by: Melanie V. Slaton, Esq.,  Mariel E. Smith, Esq., and Nicholas J. Garcia, Esq. On June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS”) delivered the landmark opinion in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia and broadened Title VII liability to include actions by an employer based on the homosexuality or transgender status of the individual

What Should Employers Do When Employees Refuse To Return To Work For Fear Of COVID-19?

Written by: Melanie V. Slaton, Esq.,  Mariel E. Smith, Esq., and Nicholas J. Garcia, Esq. As states struggle through the process of re-opening in the wake of COVD-19, many employers are also wrestling with the question of what to do about employees who refuse work due to safety concerns or in order to take advantage

Enactment of the CROWN Act Warrants Review of Employer Policies Governing Grooming and Appearance Standards

Written by: Mariel Smith, Esq. Employers should take note that the CROWN Act is now law in several states and is being considered in many others.  The CROWN Act, which stands for “Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair,” is a law that prohibits discrimination based on hairstyle and hair texture. It is

Department of Labor Issues New Overtime Rules

Written by: Mariel Smith, Esq. On September 24, 2019, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued its final rule modifying the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime rules for executive, administrative, professional, computing positions (white collar), and highly compensated employees. The rule goes into effect on January 1, 2020 and it increases the minimum salary that

Mariel Williams Chosen as Associate Magistrate of Muscogee County

Mariel Williams, an associate at the Columbus Office of HBS, was recently chosen to be the new Associate Magistrate of Muscogee County.  A graduate of the University of Arkansas School of Law, Mariel served as an assistant district attorney and as law clerk for the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit before joining the firm in June 2011.  Mariel

Mariel Williams Chosen as President of the Columbus Chapter of Georgia Association for Women Lawyers

On June 7, 2012, Mariel Williams, an associate in the HBS Columbus office, was sworn in as the new President of the Columbus Chapter of Georgia Association for Women Lawyers (GAWL) during the chapter’s Judicial Reception. Mariel had served as the chapter’s secretary since 2009.  Mariel said in her speech that it is important to become involved