Susan (Susu) Smythe is a problem solver who loves to learn. Her more than forty years of practice has given her an immense breadth of experience in a wide range of areas, including real estate, mergers & acquisitions, finance, corporate and conservation easements. Her approach is to think broadly about a client’s issues, to consider a range of options based on cost/ benefit analysis and reward/risk approaches and to craft creative and pragmatic solutions, using outside of the box thinking. She appreciates that success involves some level of risk. She embraces the challenge of learning the essentials of a client’s business and applying the breadth of her legal knowledge in order to find the “win-win” transactional solution. She is deeply engaged in the practice of law and highly values the depth of her client relationships.

Susu assisted the developers of Daniel Island from the beginning when it was 3,000 acres of farmland to its current status of a fully developed town. In connection with this representation, she drafted the first development agreement statute for South Carolina, negotiated the development agreement with the City of Charleston, assisted with the PUD zoning and participated in the myriad of strategic decisions made over the decades that helped make Daniel Island successful. She is now assisting related parties develop in a similar fashion Cainhoy Plantation which is 9,000 acres in the City of Charleston.

Susu has represented the Medical Society of South Carolina for decades, both before and after its restructure with two regional health systems in the 1990’s. She provides legal advice to the Medical Society in connection with its membership stake in the Roper St. Francis Healthcare System, including various bond financings, real estate transactions and agreements among the other founding members.

Susu’s experience with conservation easements spans four decades, having helped develop a façade easement program prior to the passage of the Uniform Conservation Easement Act and having drafted many of the conservation easements for the ACE Basin as counsel for land trusts and private owners at the beginning of this successful initiative. Susu understands how conservation easements can be used for family planning, mitigation and land protection.

Professional Activities

South Carolina Bar Association

Honors and Awards

  • Chambers USA Ranked Lawyer, Real Estate, South Carolina, 2004 – Present
  • Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America (BL Rankings) in the fields of Banking and Finance Law, Corporate Law, Real Estate Law, 1991 – Present
  • Recognized in South Carolina Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters), (2008-2023)
  • Recognized in Charleston Business Magazine’s Legal Elite, Corporate Law, Mergers & Acquisitions, 2020 – Present
  • Received the Best Lawyers™ Real Estate "Lawyer of the Year" award in Charleston, South Carolina, 2011 
  • Martindale Hubbell Law Directory, AV rating
  • Who's Who in American Law
  • Who's Who Legal USA – Real Estate, 2006


Any result the lawyer or law firm may have achieved on behalf of clients in other matters does not necessarily indicate similar results can be obtained for other clients.

  • Draft innovative planned unit development (PUD) zoning for 9,000 acres in the City of Charleston Experience with Endangered Species Act issues, including safe harbor agreements for red cockaded woodpeckers, habitat conservation plan, Section 7 consult and candidate conservation agreement with assurances
  • Assist with permittee responsible mitigation plan in connection with a 404 Clean Water Act permit for large mixed use development, including the associated conservation easement and formation of a non-profit entity.
  • Participation in $85 million bond transaction as counsel to borrower, including formation of a tax exempt special purpose limited liability company and guaranteed lease arrangements
  • Legal work for a conservation development, including acquisition work, conservation easement and restrictive covenants that protected a vulnerable property from intensive development