Meet The Member

Meet The Member

Audrey Smith photo
The attorney we trust the most – Ms. Audrey Smith

Meet the Member! This blog is one in a series of posts dedicated to learning a little more about one of our PWBC members. 

“All people are equal before the law in court.  A good attorney is what makes the difference.”

Audrey Smith is a partner at Howie & Smith, LLP an “AV” (top) rated civil litigation law firm located in San Mateo (with satellite offices in Oakland and San Diego) since 1996.  Her practice includes trial court and appellate advocacy, client counseling, and transactional services for plaintiffs and defendants in cases across the civil spectrum, including personal injury cases, real estate and landlord-tenant disputes, premises liability, elder care law, public entity law, products liability, insurance coverage, HOA law and construction defect cases. Audrey works closely with her clients to ensure an efficient, cost-effective, and realistic resolution to legal problems.

Representative Cases

Motor Vehicle Accidents  The firm has successfully and efficiently handled hundreds of cases involving various theories brought against owners and drivers of rental and other motor vehicles, including all aspects of coverage, liability, and numerous theories of damages.  We also represent persons who have sustained serious and debilitating injury as a result of motor vehicle accidents.  Experience representing both sides in these (and other) matters is helpful in achieving an efficient and optimal resolution.

Landlord/Tenant cases.  High value results for tenants in rental units with habitability violations and other landlord misbehavior.  We also have a long track record of successfully representing and advising landlords.

Premises.   The firm has successfully handled hundreds of cases for our clients involving premises liability law.  For example, we obtained a highly favorable settlement following a summary judgment for the owner of winery sued by bicyclist who sustained major head trauma after a hitting a culvert on a roadway at the client’s winery.  We obtained summary judgment for a property owner sued by an injured ATV rider and for a property owner when a guest fell off his dock.  Multiple cases representing both plaintiffs and defendants for injuries sustained on property.

Public Entity/Civil Rights.  The firm has a long history of representing public entities as well as people suing public entities.  We obtained summary judgment for client City in highly complex water damage claims involving interlocking theories of flood and surface water damage.   We obtained summary judgment for client County in gang shooting case at local county fair.  We also represent persons suing public entities, an unusually complex and difficult process.

Construction.  The firm has handled many large cases involving claims of construction defect.  The firm successfully represented a general contractor who was hired to extensively renovate high-end single family homes in San Francisco in multiple cases brought by homeowner clients who sued claiming multiple perceived construction defects and contract violations.  The firm obtained summary judgment for a general contractor in suit by subcontractor’s employee struck by vehicle on the roadway during construction.

Employment.  Successful defense of multiple cases of sexual harassment and other intentional torts. 

Industrial Injuries.   Highly favorable resolution of scalp avulsion injury for designer/manufacturer of large-scale conveyor system. Defense verdict for owners of large farming cooperative sued by farm worker injured by oncoming tomato harvester. 

Howie & Smith regularly handles cases in state courts throughout the San Francisco Bay Area counties (Alameda, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Marin, Sonoma, Solano, Contra Costa, San Benito, Monterey, and Santa Cruz) as well as around the rest of the state. The firm also regularly handles federal cases throughout California up through the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Audrey is a San Francisco native but also grew up in Oregon and graduated from Brown University in Rhode Island.  She moved back to the West Coast and worked as a paralegal in San Francisco. Then she attended Santa Clara University Law School, serving as an editor on the Santa Clara Law Review Board. She was also a published comment writer for the Law Review.   The law has gotten ever more complicated, intimidating, expensive and inaccessible.  Audrey loves to solve legal problems for her clients in the most efficient and inexpensive manner possible. 

Eviction Moratorium Updates

Eviction Moratorium Updates

eviction notice
Something no renter or homeowner wants to see

PWBC Member Audrey Smith offered some brief and helpful points to consider regarding the eviction moratorium that was extended in the Bay Area due to COVID-19.

The eviction moratorium was passed to suspend any evictions directly related to the virus during the months of March through August of this year. It has now been extended through the end of January. The hope is that it will prevent a wave of mass evictions in our area. In order for residential tenants to qualify, they must give notice in writing and offer proof that their income or ability to pay rent has been impacted by a job loss, downturn in business or health condition related to the virus. The tenant is still responsible for any back rent that is not paid during the moratorium period. It is the property owner’s responsibility to arrange a property payment agreement. Neither the moratorium nor the agreement prevents parties from going to small claims court if they so choose. Court cases can’t be filed until October.

There is some comfort for renters with this new moratorium, but it offers little relief or support for landlords who are left without the money they usually receive from rental properties. A legitimate concern is that our government has essentially outsourced the responsibility of housing citizens by having property owners allow non-paying tenants to remain in place. In essence, their private property is being used for the public benefit, leaving a strong argument that this violates the Constitution.

This is a complicated issue, for tenants, landlords and litigators alike. During these most trying times, our wheels of justice continue to grind rather slowly. Unfortunately, with no end to the virus implications in sight, we can expect more litigation about this issue.

Audrey Smith is a partner at Howie & Smith, LLP, a full service AV-rated firm providing effective and efficient civil litigation and legal counseling services to clients in a broad range of businesses with an emphasis on sports and recreation commercial enterprises and products. Contact Audrey directly at 650-685-9300 or visit to inquire about help with your specific litigation needs.