Carol Z. Smith


“Excellent courtroom presence – always prepared. Excellent attorney.”


Carol Smith is an experienced litigator, committed to obtaining great results for her clients. Carol is a well-known thought leader in matters involving surety, fidelity and construction claims. She also regularly helps clients with claims on financial institution bonds and commercial crime policies. In addition, Carol reviews and negotiates construction contracts and pursues recovery of losses from responsible parties.

Carol is active in the ABA TIPS Fidelity and Surety Law Committee.  She was a co-editor of Bond Default Manual, 4th Ed. and a contributing author to, among others, The Surety’s Indemnity Agreement: Law and Practice, 2nd Ed., The Contract Bond Surety’s Subrogation Rights, Managing and Litigating the Complex Surety Case, 3rd Ed., and Annotated Commercial Crime Insurance Policy, 3rd Ed. She sits on the board of directors of the Surety Claims Institute and is a regular speaker on various topics in the industry.

Thirty years into practice, Carol works with some of the largest surety and fidelity underwriters in the country. Taking a collaborative approach, Carol strives to ensure her work is in the best interest of her clients, and the industry as a whole.



  • Represents surety clients in a variety of claim situations, litigation and arbitration
  • Analyzes and defends claims on financial institution bonds and commercial crime policies
  • Handles claims on court fiduciary, public officials, bankruptcy trustee, supersedes and subdivision bonds
  • Defends construction defect cases
  • Reviews and negotiates construction contracts
  • Investigates discrimination and harassment claims as a neutral fact finder
  • Defends employers in administrative proceedings and lawsuits


  • American Bar Association
    • Fidelity & Surety Law Committee, Vice-Chair 2009-2014 and 2018-2019
    • Fidelity & Surety Law Committee, Co-Chair of the Communications Division 2015-2018
    • Fidelity & Surety Law Committee, Co-Chair of the Membership Committee 2018-2020 
  • Surety Claims Institute Board of Directors
  • Kansas Bar Association
  • Missouri Bar Association
  • Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, Construction Law Committee
  • Johnson County Bar Association
  • University of Kansas School of Law, J.D., 1987
  • University of Kansas, B.A., 1984
  • Selected for inclusion in the Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers list from 2006 – 2019
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent
  • Managing the Complex Surety Case, 3rd Ed.-Chapter Co-Author, 2018
  • A Primer on Insurance Coverages for the Surety Professional – 
    Co-Editor, 2018
  • Bond Default Manual 4th Ed. – Co-Editor, 2015
  • The Annotated Commercial Crime Insurance,  3rd Ed., Chapter 13 – 
    Co-Author, 2015
  • The Contract Bond Surety’s Subrogation Rights, Chapter 4, 2013
  • Fifty State Construction Lien and Bond Law – Kansas and Missouri, Aspen Publishing – Co-Author, 2013-2019
  • TIPS Annual Survey of Fidelity and Surety Cases 2012-2013, ABA – Editor
  • TIPS Annual Survey of Fidelity and Surety Cases 2009-2011, ABA – Contributor
  • The Surety’s Obligation to Correct Defective Work and Performance of Warranty Work and their Effect on Negotiating Terms of Completion, presented at January 21, 2011 Mid-Winter Meeting program, When the Walls Come Crumbling Down
  • The Surety’s Indemnity Agreement:  Law & Practice, 2nd Ed., Chapter V, ABA – Co-Author
  • Liberty Mutual v. Aventura:  Using the GIA to Settle The Principal’s Affirmative Claims Over its Objections, Surety & Fidelity Claims Institute
  • Handling Fidelity Bond Claims 2nd Ed., Chapter 18: Settlement – 
  • Kansas Construction Law, Chapter 12: Bonds —Bid, Performance, Payment, Kansas Bar Association
  • “A Marvelous Mediation of Heroic Proportions: Insurance Coverages in Complex Construction Litigation,” January 25, 2018, 2018 FSLC Mid-Winter Conference-Construction Program Co-Chair
  • “Surety Defenses in Practice: Modification of Contract, Impairment of Collateral, Release and Discharge and Extensions of Time – Proof, Problems, and Practice in Asserting these Defenses,” Surety Claims Institute, June 24, 2016
  • “Duties of Insured in the Event of Loss,” November 5-6, 2015 FSLC Fall Meeting Program
  • “Obtaining and Protecting the Surety’s Right to Contract Funds,” Surety Claims Institute, June 27, 2014
  • “Where is the Finish Line—Analyzing a Surety’s Risk in Asserting a Defense to a Claim or Continuing to Investigate the Claim Under a Reservation of Rights,” May 8-9, 2014 FSLC Spring Meeting Program
  • “The Necessity of the Principal’s Default,” May 2-3, 2013 FSLC Spring Meeting Program
  • “Mitigating the Completion Loss” (moderated panel of experts), September 2011 Pearlman
  • “When the Walls Come Crumbling Down,” January 21, 2011 FSLC Mid-Winter Meeting Program
  • “Bankruptcy on the Bayou: Gris Gris for the Surety in Bankruptcy Court,” May 2010 FSLC Spring Meeting Program
  • “The Surety’s Indemnity Agreement Law & Practice,” May 2008 FSLC Spring Meeting Program
  • “The Butterfly Effect: How Surety and Fidelity Claims Handlers’ Responses Shape Perceptions,” February 2008 FSLC Mid-Winter Meeting Program
  • “Appeal of a Loan Loss Trial – A View from the Judicial Bench,” January 2000 International Association of Defense Counsel


4420 Madison Avenue, Suite 200
Kansas City, MO 64111


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