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Ethan W. Smith

Managing Partner

Ethan is a co-founder and Managing Partner of Starfield & Smith, P.C. Ethan focuses his practice in commercial law, with an emphasis on government guaranteed lending, conventional commercial lending and real estate law. He works with various SBA lenders nationwide, ranging from large national lenders to small community banks and credit unions, and is a designated closing counsel for several Certified Development Companies. Ethan has also developed an active practice representing lenders before the US Small Business Administration on a variety of SBA guaranty related matters and leads the firm’s SBA compliance audit team.

Ethan is very active as a writer and speaker on government guaranteed lending issues nationwide. He has been recognized for possessing the highest levels of legal skills and ethics, achieving an “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell and having been repeatedly named a “Rising Star” by Philadelphia Magazine. In 2017, Ethan was recognized as the Instructor of the Year for the National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders. Ethan has also served as an expert witness on several SBA and real estate related litigation matters.

As a closing attorney for commercial lenders, Ethan prepares loan documents and performs compliance reviews for loan files for SBA 7(a), 504, conventional, and USDA B&I commercial loans. He has closed hundreds of government guaranteed commercial loans through the SBA 7(a) and 504 loan programs, the USDA B&I program, and has closed numerous other conventional commercial financing transactions, including warehouse lines of credit, securitizations, asset-based, real estate, and factoring facilities.

Ethan has closed numerous complex commercial transactions, often involving multi-jurisdictional issues and collateral. Ethan also represents numerous lenders in SBA licensing, compliance, regulatory enforcement, and guaranty purchase matters.

• Pennsylvania
• New York
• Federal District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania

• AV® Preeminent™ Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
• Selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers- Pennsylvania Rising Stars in 2005-2011 (Banking, Real Estate, Business/Corporate)
• 2017 Instructor of the Year – National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders
• 2017 Fellow of the American Bar Foundation

• National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders
• Associate Member Committee
• Region II Liaison Committee
• National Association of Development Companies
• Designated Closing Attorney
• Vistage International
• Risk Management Association
• American Bar Association
• Pennsylvania Bar Association
• New York Bar Association
• American Land Title Association
• Pennsylvania Land Title Association

• Chicago Title Insurance Company (PA)
• Fidelity National Title Insurance Company (NJ)

• College of William and Mary – J.D.
• The Johns Hopkins University – B.A.

Contact Information:
Direct Dial: 267.470.1186
Phone: 215.542.7070
Fax: 215.542.0723
Address: 1300 Virginia Drive, Suite 325
Fort Washington, PA 19034


  • June 21, 2017:  Best Practices: Prudent Liquidation Deadline is Quickly Approaching
  • May 3, 2017:  Best Practices: The Burden of Proving Your Guaranty Purchase Case
  • March 29, 2017:  Best Practices: The Burden of Proving Your Guaranty Purchase Case
  • February 8, 2017:  Best Practices: Getting the SBA Fundamentals Right
  • May 18, 2016:  Best Practices: Clarification of 25% Contribution in a Partner Buyout
  • May 11, 2016:  Best Practices: The “Art” of Ordering Public Records Searches
  • May 4, 2016:  Best Practices: Executed Purchase-Sale Agreements
  • April 13, 2016:  Best Practices: When Between a Rock and a Hard Place, Facts Matter!
  • March 16, 2016:  Best Practices: Getting the SBA Fundamentals Right
  • December 16, 2015:  Best Practices: When is Equity Injection not really “Equity Injection?
  • November 4, 2015:  Best Practices: Change of Ownership Challenges
  • October 2015:  Unconventional Wisdom: Speedy Liquidation Required for SBA Lenders
  • September 23, 2015:  Best Practices: NEW Credit Elsewhere Requirements Effective 10/1/2015
  • July 29, 2015:  Best Practices: New Credit Elsewhere Requirements Effective 10/1/2015
  • June 24, 2015:  Best Practices: Due Diligence Documents for Single-Member LLCs
  • May 20, 2015:  Best Practices: NEW E-Tran Requirements in SOP 50 10(H)
  • May 6, 2015:  Best Practices: Clarification to SBA’s Debt Refinance Requirements
  • April 29, 2015:  Best Practices: Proving Eligibility for Debt Refinance Transactions
  • April 2015:  Unconventional Wisdom: Proactive Monitoring of Borrowers Can Mitigate SBA Portfolio Losses
  • December 17, 2014:  Best Practices: SBA Electronic Signature Requirements – A Primer
  • September 2014:  Unconventional Wisdom: How Abusing Your PLP Authority Can Cost You Your Guaranty
  • September 24, 2014:  Best Practices: Prompt Liquidation of SBA Loans Can Avoid Unanticipated Costs
  • June 11, 2014:  Best Practices: The “Art” of Ordering Public Records Searches
  • March 5, 2014:  Liquidation Leverage in SBA Lending – Opportunities to Protect Your Loan Guaranty When Your Borrower Defaults
  • December 18, 2013: NEW SOP 50 10 5(F) EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 2014: ARE YOU READY?
  • July 3, 2013: Best Practices: NEW SBA Change of Ownership Rules
  • February 27, 2013: Best Practices: SBA’s Proposed Elimination of the Personal Resources Test
  • February 6, 2013: Best Practices: Guaranty Purchase Packages: Common Deficiencies
  • January 23, 2013: SOP 50 57: 7(a) Loan Servicing and Liquidation
  • December 19, 2012: Best Practices: There’s a New Sheriff in Town…
  • August 22, 2012: Best Practices: Legal Impediments to Pledging Collateral
  • June 6, 2012: Best Practices: Get to Know the New SOP
  • May 30, 2012: Best Practices: New Debt Refinancing Rules
  • April 4, 2012: Best Practices: EPC Rule Clarification
  • March 28, 2012: Best Practices: Protecting the SBA Guaranty
  • February 25, 2012: An Examination of Confession of Judgment Statutes in the Mid-Atlantic States
  • October 26, 2011: Best Practices: New SOP Requirements
  • September 28, 2011: Major SOP Changes on the Way for Lenders
  • August 17, 2011: Best Practices: Executed Purchase-Sale Agreements
  • June 15, 2011: Best Practices: Avoiding Repairs Through Proper Servicing
  • May 18, 2011: Best Practices: Stock Purchase Update
  • February 16, 2011: Best Practices: Guaranty Purchases and the Materiality Standard
  • January 12, 2011: Best Practices: Avoiding Repairs Through Proper Servicing
  • January 5, 2011: Best Practices: New SBA Policy on Agents