Lisa Smith Presta

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Lisa Smith



Lisa has earned a reputation as a formidable trial attorney who has the respect of her colleagues and the complete trust of her clients. As chair of the Litigation Department, she is a leader and mentor in her community and the legal profession, as well as at MacDonald Illig.

Her experience includes the handling of complex, multiparty litigation matters involving commercial disputes, breach of contract claims, fiduciary obligations, professional services and the defense of employment harassment, discrimination, retaliation and wrongful discharge claims. She represents individuals, non-profit entities and for-profit companies in various industries, including health care, manufacturing, economic development, real estate, and insurance.

Lisa regularly appears in state and federal court, before appellate courts, before administrative agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, in arbitration tribunals such as the American Arbitration Association, and in alternative dispute resolution settings. Lisa is a past president of the Erie County Bar Association and has served as the Chairperson of its Civil Litigation Section. She is a member of the Pennsylvania Defense Institute and a frequent speaker and author on issues of substantive law and trial practice.

Bringing attention to detail to every case, Lisa has built a successful and well-respected litigation practice. Lisa puts her clients at ease by consistently delivering quality work, practical and timely advice, and effective trial representation.

       Super Lawyers - 5 Years    


  • Appointed by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania to serve on the statewide, 12-member Supreme Court Rules of Evidence Committee
  • Appointed by the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania to serve on the Lawyers Advisory Committee of the Judicial Council of the Third Judicial Circuit, 2021-2023 
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Attorney Rating
  • Selected for The Best Lawyers in America© for medical malpractice defense, 2020-present
  • Named a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer® 2018-present

Education & Admissions

Memberships & Associations

  • Erie County Bar Association - Board of Directors, 2006 - 2012; Women's Division Leadership Committee, 2014 - present; Personnel Committee, 2012 - present; Diversity & Inclusion Committee, 2020 - present
  • The Pennsylvania Society, Council Member, April 2023 - present
  • President of the Erie County Bar Association, 2011
  • Pennsylvania Defense Institute

Community Involvement

  • UPMC Hamot Board of Directors, 2018-present
  • UPMC Hamot Heart & Vascular Institute Board of Directors, 2018-present
  • Hamot Health Foundation Corporator, 2017-present
  • Erie Club Board of Directors, 2008-2016, 2018-present; President 2014-2015
  • Achievement Center Board of Directors, 1994-2020; President 2010-2012; Capital Campaign Chair; Executive, Governance and Audit Committees
  • Erie County Bar Association Board of Directors, 2006-2012; President 2011; Women's Division Leadership and Diversity & Inclusion Committees
  • American Heart Association Heart Ball Executive Leadership Team, 2018 and 2020
  • United Way 100th Anniversary Campaign Cabinet, 2014-2015

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