New Law Professor Directs Civil Clinic
Posted on December 3, 2012
Annie Smith, who joined the University of Arkansas this fall as an assistant professor at the School of Law, will direct the Civil Clinic beginning with the spring 2013 semester. The clinic, which has provided practical training to law students since its founding by Hillary Clinton in 1975, represents low-income clients in a variety of civil matters.
Smith brings a wealth of experience to the law school and its legal clinic, having served at the George Washington University Law School last academic year as interim director and visiting associate professor of clinical law, and as Friedman Fellow and visiting associate professor from 2009 to 2011. In these roles she, respectively, directed the International Human Rights Clinic and co-taught the Public Justice Advocacy Clinic and International Human Rights Clinic.
Her professional experience includes practice at Legal Services of New Jersey Workers’ Legal Rights and Farmworker Projects and internships with the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Migrant Farmworker Justice Project. She served as lead counsel in the human trafficking case Magnifico, et al. v. Villanueva, et al., in which U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth L. Ryskamp recently granted plaintiffs’ motion for default judgment and awarded the 18 plaintiffs a total of $13.5 million.
“Given her proven track record and demonstrated commitment to social justice, Professor Smith is an excellent addition to our faculty,” said Stacy Leeds, dean of the School of Law. “She will further enhance our strong experiential learning program by supervising students as they represent clients in judicial and administrative forums.”
Under Smith’s leadership, the Civil Clinic will continue to meet civil legal needs in the Northwest Arkansas region while maximizing student learning. During the spring 2013 semester, the clinic will handle unpaid wage cases in state court and appeals of the denial of unemployment benefits in administrative forums.
The clinic docket will expose students to diverse transferable advocacy skills and to multiple areas of law. Under Smith’s supervision, students will handle all aspects of client representation, including interviewing and counseling, fact investigation and discovery, negotiation and court appearances.
“The Civil Clinic will facilitate students’ transition from law students to attorneys,” said Smith. “It will be a learning environment designed to allow them to experience the profound sense of responsibility and satisfaction that can come from the attorney-client relationship. Experiences in the Civil Clinic will aim to inspire a lifetime commitment to justice.”
Smith speaks Spanish and holds a Bachelor of Arts from Brown University and a Juris Doctor cum laude from the University of Wisconsin Law School. She is completing a Master of Laws from the George Washington University Law School.