Paul M. Smith

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Paul Smith
Personal details
Born1955 (age 63–64)
Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.
Alma materAmherst College
Yale University
Paul Smith's staff photo for Campaign Legal Center

Paul March Smith (born 1955) is an American attorney who has argued many important cases, most notably Lawrence v. Texas and has argued 21 cases before the Supreme Court of the United States. In January 2017, he joined the faculty at Georgetown University Law Center, and also the Campaign Legal Center in Washington, D.C., as Vice President of Litigation and Strategy.[1][2] Until 2017, he was a partner at Jenner & Block's Washington, DC office where he served as co-chair of the firm's Election Law and Redistricting practice.[3]


Smith graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Amherst College in 1976 and received his J.D. degree from Yale Law School in 1979, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Law Journal.[4][5] In 2016, Smith was elected to the Amherst College Board of Trustees.[6]

Professional career[edit]

After law school, Smith was a law clerk to Judge James L. Oakes of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. From 1980-81, Smith was a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell. Smith practiced law for 13 years in Washington, D.C. with the firms of Onek, Klein & Farr and Klein, Farr, Smith & Taranto.[7]

He had an active Supreme Court practice, including oral arguments in nineteen Supreme Court cases. These arguments have included two congressional redistricting cases, Lawrence v. Texas, involving the constitutionality of the Texas sodomy statute, United States v. American Library Association, involving a First Amendment challenge to the Children's Internet Protection Act and Mathias v. WorldCom (2001), dealing with the Eleventh Amendment immunity of state commissions.[8] Smith also worked extensively on several other First Amendment cases in the Supreme Court, involving issues ranging from commercial speech to defamation to "adult" speech on the Internet.

In February 2017, it was announced that Smith would be representing a group of 12 voters in the State of Wisconsin who were challenging the voting maps for its state assembly districts as unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering.[9][10] Smith argued Gill v. Whitford before the Supreme Court on October 3, 2017.[11] It was the first partisan gerrymandering case to be heard by the Supreme Court since 2004.[12] In that case, Smith argued that partisan gerrymandering is a harm to democracy and that we are on the "cusp of a more serious problem" because officials drawing redistricting maps now have access to vast amounts of data, and because the electorate is now so polarized that voting has become more predictable than ever.[13]

Smith is also a former Chair of Lambda Legal's National Board of Directors. Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of the LGBT community.


  • Best Lawyers named him the Washington D.C. First Amendment Lawyer of the Year for 2012.[14]
  • The American Bar Association presented Smith with the Thurgood Marshall Award in 2010.[15]
  • Named one of "The Most Influential Lawyers of the Decade" for civil rights by The National Law Journal in 2010.[16][17]

Bar membership[edit]

Smith was admitted to the bar in DC (on December 18, 1981), Maryland (on June 3, 1988), and New York (in 2006).[18]


  1. ^ "Paul M. Smith". Campaign Legal Center. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
  2. ^ Rosenstein, Peter (January 20, 2017). "Comings & Goings". Washington Blade. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
  3. ^ "Paul M. Smith". Campaign Legal Center. 2017-01-04. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  4. ^ "Masthead for Vol 88, Paul M. Smith, editor-in-chief". Yale Law Journal. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  5. ^ "Paul M. Smith Biography". Jenner & Block LLP. 2017. Retrieved 2017-01-04.
  6. ^ "Trustee Biographies: Paul Smith '76". Amherst College. Retrieved 2016-07-06.
  7. ^ Wermiel, Stephen J. (Summer 2010). "Interview with Paul M. Smith". ABA Human Rights Magazine. 37 (3). Retrieved February 17, 2017.
  8. ^ Schwartz, John (June 24, 2013). "A Lawyer's Evolution, Mirroring the Law's". New York Times. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
  9. ^ Marley, Patrick; Stein, Jason (February 2, 2017). "GOP lawmakers to write blank check to hire lawyers". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
  10. ^ "Gill v. Whitford". Campaign Legal Center. 2017-08-28. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  11. ^ (PDF) Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ "Keeping it Real: Distinguished Visitor from Practice Paul Smith Argues a Historic Gerrymandering Case in the Supreme Court — Georgetown Law". Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  13. ^ "Argument analysis: Cautious optimism for challengers in Wisconsin redistricting case? - SCOTUSblog". SCOTUSblog. 2017-10-03. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  14. ^ Staff/Contributed (2012-11-01). "Supreme Court advocate Smith speaks at Library". Rappahannock News. Retrieved 2018-02-14.
  15. ^ "Smith Receives ABA's Prestigious Thurgood Marshall Award". Jenner & Block. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  16. ^ "The National Law Journal Names "The Most Influential Lawyers of the Decade"". Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  17. ^ "Jenner & Block | Our Firm". Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  18. ^ New York State Attorney Directory, New York State Office of Court Administration. Retrieved October 3, 2017.

External links[edit]