meet our coach

head coach Turner smith

After graduating from Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia, Turner Smith graduated from Princeton University in Political Science, where he fenced on the varsity team and was in the Army ROTC unit.  He took a regular US Army commission, went to Infantry Officer’s Basic Training, and Ranger and Airborne schools.  He served in Germany in an infantry battalion as an infantry platoon leader and as platoon leader of the battalion’s tactical nuclear weapons platoon.  He then transferred to a Transportation Corps battalion, where he commanded a light truck company.  On discharge, he went to Harvard Law School, during which time he was in the US Army Reserves as the executive officer of a Special Forces A Team.  

He then began the practice of environmental law at Hunton & Williams, a Richmond, Virginia law firm.  He practiced at various times in the firm’s offices in Richmond, Virginia; Brussels, Belgium; and Washington D.C., chiefly representing the national electric utility industry in EPA rulemaking under the Clean Water Act and in the U.S. Courts of Appeals.

During his practice, he opened his firm’s first foreign office, in Brussels, Belgium, and was its managing partner there for three years. During that time, he practiced European Environmental Law and participated in the Centre International de Droit Comparé de L'Environment headed by Professor Michel Prieur, Doyen Honoraire de la Faculté de Droit et des Sciences Economiques de Limoges.

On returning to Washington, D.C., he worked chiefly, until his retirement, in the broader, rapidly evolving field of international environmental and energy law, dealing mainly with administrative law, and with policy, transactional and litigation work.  He was also active in U.S. regulatory reform efforts and in U.S. regulatory work.

During that time, he took a detour into the field of international war crimes litigation.  From 1998 to 2001, he headed up Hunton & Williams’ legal team representing a senior Bosnian Croat political leader from Central Bosnia in a war crimes trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague.

He has published widely in the field of environmental and international environmental law.  He co-edited a book entitled, Understanding U.S. and European Environmental Law-A Practitioner's Guide, contributed a chapter in a book entitled The Reality of Precaution, and co-authored the volume entitled Rulemaking in a set of American Bar Association books on Administrative Law of the European Union.  During a sabbatical at University College, Oxford he studied British and EC environmental law and wrote "Approaches to Environmental Legislation -- A Comparison Between Practice in British and U.S. Point Source Air and Water Pollution Regulation"

He has testified before both Congress and the UK House of Lords, and has served as the Chairman of the Virginia Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, as Chairman of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Environmental Law, and as Secretary and Chairman of the Board of the Environmental Law Institute.

He has taught environmental law at Washington and Lee and William and Mary law schools, and international environmental law at the University of Virginia and George Mason Law Schools.

Mr. Smith currently lives near Middleburg, in the Virginia Piedmont, with his wife, Christine Perdue.  His wife and he enjoy gardening and bird-watching.  He has also recently taken up fencing again, has fenced in two National Championships in the 70+ age category, and is now helping coach the varsity fencing team at the Middleburg Academy.  He and his wife spend their summers in western Massachusetts.  

Much of his time in retirement has been devoted to land conservation in the Virginia Piedmont, through service as President and Board Chair of The Land Trust of Virginia.  He has a personal interest in seeing this land preserved, since his family comes from just outside Marshall, and one of his ancestors was a member of Company B of Mosby’s Rangers.  During his time on the Board of The Land Trust of Virginia, he received an award as the 2009 Conservationist of the Year from the Virginia United Land Trusts (VAULT).  In 2017, he received the Land Trust’s award as Conservationist of the Year, for leadership and lifetime achievement.