Paul M. Smith is a professor from practice at Georgetown Law and also the Vice President for Litigation and Strategy at the Campaign Legal Center. Until 2017 he was in private practice at the firm of Jenner & Block LLP. He had an active appellate practice for several decades, including oral arguments in 21 Supreme Court cases in a wide range of cases but emphasizing civil rights and civil liberties issues. Among his important victories have been Lawrence v. Texas, the landmark gay rights case, and Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Ass’n, establishing the First Amendment rights of those who produce and sell video games. Professor Smith also argued a long list of voting rights cases in the Supreme Court.
Chambers USA has repeatedly named Professor Smith one of the country’s leading lawyers in appellate litigation, media and entertainment law, and First Amendment litigation for multiple years. In 2010, The National Law Journal named him one of the “Decade’s Most Influential Lawyers,” and the ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice gave him its prestigious Thurgood Marshall Award for his work promoting civil rights and civil liberties. He has won similar awards from the American Constitution Society, the DC Bar, the Legal Aid Society of DC, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, and the Human Rights Campaign. In 2015 Professor Smith received an honorary degree from his alma mater, Amherst College. He is a board member and former President of the D.C. Bar Foundation, a Trustee of Amherst College, and a board member of EPIC, the Folger Shakespeare Library, and the Castleton Festival.
Professor Smith attended Yale Law School, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Law Journal, and then clerked for Judge James Oakes on the Second Circuit and Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr.