Professor Deirdre Smith, Director of the Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic at the University of Maine School of Law, was named Outstanding Alumna for 2013 by the law school’s Women’s Law Association.
Prof. Smith, a 1994 graduate of Maine Law, was honored at a reception on Nov. 22 in Portland. An accomplished scholar and teacher, Prof. Smith has been Director of the Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic since 2004. The Clinic, which was established in 1970, is one of the oldest continuously-operating law school clinical programs in the country. Through the Clinic, student attorneys are specially licensed to practice law and provide free representation to low-income individuals and families. The Clinic is a defining program of Maine Law, providing practical skills training for students, and helping fulfill the school’s commitment to social justice.
Under the leadership of Prof. Smith, the Clinic has expanded to include clinical courses in the areas of Juvenile Justice and Refugee and Human Rights, in addition to programs in general practice for clients in need, for prisoners, and for victims of domestic violence.
“Most of all, I want to thank the students of Maine Law,” Smith said at the reception. “What is most meaningful to me about this award is that it comes from you, for you are what makes Maine Law the very remarkable place that it is. It is a great privilege to teach you, and a deep honor to be recognized by you.”
Every fall semester, the Women’s Law Association awards one alumna for outstanding contributions to the legal community. Past recipients have included former U.S. Attorney Paula Silsby, Maine District Court Judge Beth Dobson, Maine Superior Court Justice Nancy Mills, Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Leigh Saufley, Professor Nancy Wanderer, and attorneys Jennifer Archer and Sara Gagne-Holmes.