Nossaman LLP

Nancy C. Smith


T 213.612.7837
F 213.612.7801
777 South Figueroa Street, 34th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90017

Nancy Smith is nationally recognized as one of the leading attorneys in the field of innovative contracting and finance for infrastructure project development. She helped pioneer the use of design-build, design-build-operate-maintain, and public-private partnership methodologies on projects ranging from airports to joint highway and transit corridors. Ms. Smith represents public agency project owners including state departments of transportation and local transportation agencies, and advises states developing design-build programs.

With a passionate interest in seeing projects through to completion, Ms. Smith guides her clients through the entire project delivery process, from determining appropriate contracting methodologies to contract close-out and warranty enforcement. She has a sophisticated sense of what makes projects successful – gained through her own experience and high level investigations into innovative contract administration procedures and finance tools in Europe.

Ms. Smith is frequently asked to speak or write about design-build and innovative contracting at key industry conferences and in professional publications.

Ms. Smith is AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell.

Representative Work

Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority – Mid-Corridor Design-Build Project.  Lead attorney for ACTA's $712 million Mid-Corridor Design-Build Project.  Involved in contract administration and claims avoidance for the Mid-Corridor Project and other contracts and assisted in project finance.

California High Speed Rail Authority – Initial Operating Segment.  Key member of the team advising on the institutional arrangements, procurement plan and financing options for an 800-mile, multi-billion dollar high-speed train system to connect the state's major urban centers, including a series of design-build contracts to develop the Initial Operating Segment, the first of which is expected to be executed in Q3 2013.

City of San José - Norman Y. Mineta San José International Airport.  Principal in charge of the San José airport project, overseeing the Nossaman team responsible for negotiating and drafting the contract as well as an amendment to expand the rental car facility, and advising the City over the course of the project.

Colorado Department of Transportation/Regional Transportation District – Transportation Expansion Project.  Key member of the Nossaman team that represented CDOT/RTD on the award winning $1.2 billion Transportation Expansion Project (T-REX), the first design-build contract in the U.S. combining major highway and light rail transit elements.  Role included facilitating the risk workshop for the project and addressing risk issues in the contract documents.  Responsible for quality assurance in preparation of procurement and contract documents.

Foothill/Eastern and San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agencies.  Lead attorney for over $2 billion of design-build contracts and operation and maintenance contracts for toll roads, facilities and systems; ongoing involvement in contract administration, claims avoidance and project finance.  Providing legal oversight for contracting and procurement issues since 1981. 

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority – Design-Build Transit Projects.  Lead attorney for the Nossaman team acting as outside counsel to the MTA in connection with its initial design-build projects, including the $290 million design-build contract for the 14.4-mile Orange Line, a Bus Rapid Transit line in the San Fernando Valley area of the County of Los Angeles and the $898.8 million Eastside Extension Project.  

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority – Highway PPP Program.  Key member of the program management team for the Authority's PPP program.  Currently leading the Nossaman team working on procurement documents for the Authority's first availability payment PPP project—the Accelerated Regional Transportation Improvements project.

Maryland State Highway Administration – Intercounty Connector (ICC).  Lead member of Nossaman team and member of the program management team that assisted the SHA in developing procurement strategy, determining appropriate risk allocation, drafting procurement and contract documents, and assisting in evaluation of statements of qualifications and proposals for a 19-mile greenfield toll road project through environmentally sensitive areas, involving multiple design-build contracts awarded on a best value basis.

Maryland Transit Administration.  Co-lead attorney for the team serving as lead outside legal advisor for MTA's PPP program.  Currently assisting in (1) the evaluation and potential development of PPP approaches to major public transit initiatives, including the proposed Red Line, the Purple Line, and the Corridor Cities Transitway (CCT) and (2) the development of policies, regulations, procedures, and/or legislation required to implement public transit and other transportation initiatives as PPPs in the State of Maryland.

Metro Gold Line Construction Authority – Gold Line Light Rail Project.  Co-lead attorney advising the Authority on structuring the procurement and contracts for Phase 2A of the Metro Gold Line Light Rail Transit Line, including separate procurements for the I-210 Gold Line Bridge (completed in December 2012), the Phase 2A Alignment Design-Build Contract, and the Intermodal Parking Facilities and Enhancements Design-Build Project (both still under construction).  Work included structuring the design-build-finance program, risk allocation analysis, preparing the procurement and design-build-finance contract documents, and assisting in proposal evaluations and contract award.  Also advised the Authority on structuring three separate procurements for Phase 1 of the Metro Gold Line, the $22 million Chinatown Aerial Structure Project, the $262 million Arroyo Seco Project and the $10 million Sierra Madre Villa Parking and Bus Facility project.  Work included legislative analysis and development of administrative procedures for design-build procurements, preparing the procurement and design-build contract documents and assisting in contract administration, change order preparation and claims resolution.

Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas (Houston METRO).  Lead outside counsel for the program to develop an expansion of its light rail line system.  Role has included: assistance in risk analysis and strategic planning; development of procurement and contract documents; participation in industry review meetings; negotiation of preliminary contracts with the selected developer; negotiation of implementation agreements with the team members responsible for design, construction, supply of vehicles and operations and maintenance of the project; participation in the finance working group; interaction with FTA representatives in connection with participation in the Penta P Program and negotiation of contract modifications addressing the removal of the Uptown Line and other changes.  The North, East End and Southeast Lines are currently under construction and scheduled for completion in 2014.

New Jersey Transit Corporation – Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Transit Project and River LINE Project.  Lead attorney for the Nossaman team that assisted NJT with respect to procurement and contract documents for the $800 million design-build-operate-maintain contract for the 20-mile Hudson-Bergen LRT project and the $675 million design-build-operate-maintain contract for the first phase of the 34-mile River Line LRT project.

Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority – Silicon Valley Rapid Transit Program.  Lead attorney representing VTA as special design-build counsel for the proposed Berryessa Extension Project, an estimated $2.1 billion, 10-mile extension of the existing Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system into the Silicon Valley.  The Authority awarded the design-build contract to the Skanska-Shimmick-Herzog joint venture in December 2011.  Work included advising on the use of the design-build delivery method, preparation of contract documents, and review of technical specifications.  Nossaman continues to assist VTA in contract administration issues, and work on contracts with BART for vehicle supply and system operations and maintenance, as well as a separate design-build procurement for a design-build contract for parking structures at the Milpitas and Berryessa Stations.

Texas Department of Transportation – PPP Projects.  Key member of the team advising TxDOT on procurement and project financing structures and strategies for its statewide comprehensive development agreement program (public-private partnerships, franchises/concessions and design-build).  Assisted with procurements for (among other projects):  the North Tarrant Expressway; the DFW Connector; the Grand Parkway Project; the I-635 HOV/HOT project; and the statewide toll collection systems developer.  Assisted TxDOT in the pre-development agreement for the IH-35 High Priority Project program, including obtaining approvals required from FHWA for use of innovative contracting methodologies, and negotiating an Early Development Agreement with FHWA under the SEP-15 program.  Also assisted TxDOT in development of procurement and contract documents for the $1.3 billion Exclusive Development Agreement for the SH 130 project, awarded in 2002.

Utah Department of Transportation – Design-Build and PPPs.  Served as primary design-build counsel with respect to UDOT's $1.4 billion design-build-maintain contract for reconstruction of approximately 17 miles of Interstate 15 in Salt Lake City, as well as the design-build contract for the Legacy Parkway Project and the Region 3 Design-Build Program.  Also served as advisor to the Department on PPP legislation adopted in 2006 and implementing regulations.

Washington State Department of Transportation – Design-Build Projects.  Lead attorney who assisted WSDOT in development of its design-build procurement and contract documents, including for the Alaskan Way Viaduct, Tacoma Narrows Bridge and the Urban Corridors Projects.

Awards & Honors

Design-Build Institute of America's 2007 Meritorious Service Award.

AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell.

Bio Photo
Bio Photo



J.D., Yale Law School, 1981

B.A., University of Florida, 1978, Phi Beta Kappa, with high honors




Professional Affiliations

Transportation Research Board, Member, Committee on Contract Law, Committee on Project Delivery Methods, AFH15

Design-Build Institute of America:  Co-Chair of Legislative Subcommittee, Member of Transportation Infrastructure Committee, Co-Chair of 2003 Transportation Conference; Founding Board Member of Western Pacific Chapter

Women's Transportation Seminar, Advisor to the President, Los Angeles Chapter

American Bar Association, Member, Public Contract Law Section and Forum on the Construction Industry

Awards & Honors

Design-Build Institute of America's 2007 Meritorious Service Award.

AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell.

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