April Member of the Month: Denise J. Smyler

Commissioner; Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board

1.    Tell us briefly what a typical work day is like for you.

There is no “typical day”. In my last position as General Counsel for the Commonwealth, my day was often driven by external factors (such as the legal analysis of newly filed lawsuits, proposed or enacted legislation and/or unique policy initiatives).  In my present role, as a Commissioner for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, I am able to dictate much of my day’s agenda.  With the exception of scheduled board meetings and activities associated therewith, I can decide how to structure my day.  For example, I can elect to meet with various department directors, visit and tour a casino facility or consume various materials regarding historical, current and/or future gaming industry activities/events.

2.    What do you enjoy most about your job?

I take great pleasure in regulating an industry in a manner that serves and protects the citizens of the Commonwealth in general, and patrons of the gaming industry in particular.  I also enjoy participating in a constantly growing and developing industry.

3.    What do you enjoy most about being a member of the Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia?

I believe the Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia contributes to meaningful growth and development of African American attorneys in the Philadelphia region.  The multi generational networking events allow for an important exchange of information and ideas.

4.    What do you believe has been your most important personal attribute in your legal career?


5.    What has been the best moment of your career thus far?

Serving as General Counsel for the Commonwealth.

6.    If you hit the lottery tonight, where could we find you tomorrow?

Exactly where I am today.  I truly enjoy my current lifestyle.

7.    What artists are you listening to now?

I love classical and jazz music.  Thus, I listen to Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, etc. performed by various artists.  I also adore jazz musicians like Nina Simone, Billy Holiday, Miles Davis and John Coltrane.  I really enjoy the contemporary artist, Alicia Keys.

8.    What is your favorite restaurant in the Philadelphia area?

It is difficult to say, as excellent restaurants are abundant in Philadelphia.  However, I love Mediterranean food, so Estia is one of my favorite eating establishments.

9.    If you had a chance to give out your own award, who would you recognize?

Michelle Obama.

10.    What advice would you give to members of the Barristers?

Never lose sight of the importance of establishing and maintaining a strong support network based upon honesty and the goal of giving back to the community.