David Smail



current location


Why did you choose to work at DLA Piper?

In my past life I was a trained commercial litigator but I always had a calling to employment. I loved (and continue to love) the mix of contentious, non-contentious and human psychology that goes into being an employment lawyer. With the firm having one of the largest specialist employment teams in Asia (12 offices in 7 countries), joining DLA Piper was a no brainer. 

Our APAC employment team is truly collaborative. We work with each other on a daily basis, we go to market together and – more importantly – we have fun together!

What have you learned from your experiences at DLA Piper?

DLA Piper is a firm where if you have a vision and a desire to grow, you will be supported and given the freedom to thrive. Our junior lawyers are not wrapped up in cotton wool and hidden out of client sight – they are front and centre of everything we do. I learned this when I first joined DLA Piper as a junior associate, having coming from a Silver Circle firm where there were often multiple layers of red tape between you and the firm’s clients. At DLA Piper I was entrusted to deal directly with clients from Day 1, which gave me confidence and ultimately made me a better lawyer.

Is there anything you would like to highlight about your experiences at DLA Piper?

If there is one word that sums up DLA Piper, it would be “international”. 

One of the best things about being at the firm is that no matter what country our client needs advice in, I’m confident I have a colleague on the ground I can call or email. Recently, a client asked if we could support them on an employment matter involving Singapore, Austria and Brazil employment issues – I said “yes, we can!” A personal highlight was getting to meet my South American colleagues at a client conference in Oxford, UK.

We also have a fantastic international secondment programme. I encourage all our junior lawyers to take advantage as it’s a fantastic way to meet people around our huge network and to broaden your life experience.