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Abbe Smith


Director, Criminal Defense and Prisoner Advocacy Clinic, Professor of Law

B.A., Yale; J.D., New York University

Areas of Expertise:

Clinical Education, Criminal Law and Procedure

Abbe Smith is Director of the Criminal Defense and Prisoner Advocacy Clinic, Co-Director of the E. Barrett Prettyman Fellowship Program, and Professor of Law at...

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Abbe Smith is Director of the Criminal Defense and Prisoner Advocacy Clinic, Co-Director of the E. Barrett Prettyman Fellowship Program, and Professor of Law at Georgetown University. She joined the Georgetown faculty in 1996. Prior to Georgetown, Professor Smith was Deputy Director of the Criminal Justice Institute at Harvard Law School, and a Clinical Instructor and Lecturer on Law at Harvard. 

Professor Smith has also taught at the City University New York School of Law, Temple University School of Law, American University Washington College of Law, and the University of Melbourne Law School (Australia), where she was a Senior Fulbright Scholar in 2005-06. Professor Smith teaches and writes on criminal defense, legal ethics, juvenile justice, and clinical legal education. In addition to numerous law journal articles, she is the author of Case of a Lifetime: A Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Story (Palgrave MacMillan, 2008), co-author with Monroe Freedman of Understanding Lawyers’ Ethics (4th ed., Lexis-Nexis, 2010), co-editor with Monroe Freedman of How Can You Represent Those People: Criminal Defense Stories (forthcoming, 2013), co-author with Charles Ogletree, et al. of Beyond the Rodney King Story: An Investigation of Police Conduct In Minority Communities  (Northeastern University Press, 1994), and a contributing author of We Dissent (Michael Avery, ed., NYU Press, 2008) and Law Stories (Gary Bellow & Martha Minow, eds., University of Michigan Press, 1996). 

Professor Smith began her legal career at the Defender Association of Philadelphia, where she was an Assistant Defender, a member of the Special Defense Unit, and a Senior Trial Attorney from 1982 to 1990. She continues to be actively engaged in indigent defense—as both a clinical supervisor and member of the Criminal Justice Act panel for the DC Superior Court—and frequently presents at public defender and legal aid training programs in the United States and abroad. Professor Smith is on the Board of Directors of The Bronx Defenders and the National Juvenile Defender Center, and a longtime member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the National Lawyers Guild. Court.  

In 2010, she was elected to the American Board of Criminal Lawyers, an exclusive national society for outstanding criminal trial lawyers.  Professor Smith is also a published cartoonist. A collection of her cartoons, Carried Away: The Chronicles of a Feminist Cartoonist, was published by Sanguinaria Publishing, Inc. in1984.

Recent Scholarship

Books

  • Lawyers' Ethics (Abbe Smith, Monroe H. Freedman & Alice Woolley eds., Abingdon, U.K.: Routledge 2017).    [BOOK]
  • Abbe Smith & Monroe H. Freedman, Understanding Lawyers' Ethics (New Providence, N.J.: LexisNexis 5th ed. 2016).   

Contributions to Law Reviews and Other Scholarly Journals

  • Abbe Smith, Criminal Justice—Or Any Justice At All—Under Trump, 46 Geo. L.J. Ann. Rev. Crim. Proc. iii-xii (2017).    [W]

Book Chapters and Collected Works

  • Abbe Smith, On Representing a Victim of Crime, in Lawyers' Ethics 353-371 (Monroe H. Freedman, Abbe Smith & Alice Woolley eds., Abingdon, U.K.: Routledge 2017).    [BOOK]
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All Scholarship 2000 - Present

Books

  • Lawyers' Ethics (Abbe Smith, Monroe H. Freedman & Alice Woolley eds., Abingdon, U.K.: Routledge 2017).    [BOOK]
  • Abbe Smith & Monroe H. Freedman, Understanding Lawyers' Ethics (New Providence, N.J.: LexisNexis 5th ed. 2016).   
  • How Can You Represent Those People? (Abbe Smith & Monroe H. Freedman eds., New York: Palgrave Macmillan 2013).    [BOOK]
  • Abbe Smith & Monroe H. Freedman, Understanding Lawyers' Ethics (New Providence, N.J.: LexisNexis 4th ed. 2010).    [BOOK]
  • Abbe Smith, Case of a Lifetime: A Criminal Defense Lawyer's Story (New York: Palgrave MacMillan 2008).    [BOOK]
  • Abbe Smith & Monroe H. Freedman, Understanding Lawyer's Ethics (Newark, N.J.: LexisNexis/Matthew Bender 3d ed. 2004).    [BOOK]
  • Abbe Smith & Monroe H. Freedman, Understanding Lawyer's Ethics (Newark, N.J.: LexisNexis/Matthew Bender 2d ed. 2002).    [BOOK]

Contributions to Law Reviews and Other Scholarly Journals

  • Abbe Smith, Criminal Justice—Or Any Justice At All—Under Trump, 46 Geo. L.J. Ann. Rev. Crim. Proc. iii-xii (2017).    [W]
  • Abbe Smith, Representing Rapists: The Cruelty of Cross Examination and Other Challenges for a Feminist Criminal Defense Lawyer, 53 Am. Crim. L. Rev. 255-309 (2016).    [HEIN] [W]
  • Abbe Smith, A Call To Abolish Peremptory Challenges by Prosecutors, 27 Geo. J. Legal Ethics 1163-1185 (2014).    [HEIN] [W]
  • Abbe Smith, Gideon Was a Prisoner: On Criminal Defense in a Time of Mass Incarceration, 70 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 1363-1391 (2013).    [HEIN] [W]
  • Abbe Smith, Are Prosecutors Born or Made?, 25 Geo. J. Legal Ethics 943-960 (2012).    [HEIN] [W] [Gtown Law]
  • Abbe Smith, Defending Those People, 10 Ohio St. J. Crim. L. 277-301 (2012).    [HEIN] [W] [Gtown Law] [WWW]
  • Abbe Smith, "No Older 'n Seventeen": Defending in Dylan Country, 38 Fordham Urb. L.J. 1471-1493 (2011).    [HEIN] [W]
  • Abbe Smith, A Hip-Hop Prosecutor Sings the Blues, 14 Legal Ethics 261-274 (2011) (reviewing Paul Butler, Let's Get Free: A Hip-Hop Theory of Criminal Justice (2009)).   
  • Abbe Smith, Defending Atticus Finch, 14 Legal Ethics 143-167 (2011) (reviewing Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)).   
  • Abbe Smith, In Praise of the Guilty Project: A Criminal Defense Lawyer's Growing Anxiety About Innocence Projects, 13 U. Pa. J.L. & Soc. Change 315-329 (2010).    [HEIN] [W] [Gtown Law]
  • Abbe Smith & Monroe H. Freedman, Misunderstanding Lawyers' Ethics, 108 Mich. L. Rev. 925-938 (2010) (reviewing Daniel Markovits, A Modern Legal Ethics: Adversary Advocacy in a Democratic Age (2008)).    [HEIN] [W] [WWW]
  • Abbe Smith, "I Ain't Taking' No Plea": The Challenges in Counseling Young People Facing Serious Time, 60 Rutgers L. Rev. 11-31 (2007).    [HEIN] [W] [Gtown Law]
  • Abbe Smith, The Lawyer's "Conscience" and the Limits of Persuasion, 36 Hofstra L. Rev. 479-496 (2007).    [HEIN] [W] [Gtown Law]
  • Abbe Smith, Defending and Despairing: The Agony of Juvenile Defense, 6 Nev. L.J. 1127-1136 (2006).    [HEIN] [W] [Gtown Law]
  • Abbe Smith, Defending the Unpopular Down-Under, 30 Melb. U. L. Rev. 495-553 (2006).    [HEIN] [W] [Gtown Law]
  • Abbe Smith, Telling Stories and Keeping Secrets, 8 UDC/DCSL L. Rev. 255-268 (2005).    [HEIN] [W] [Gtown Law]
  • Abbe Smith, The "Monster" in All of Us: When Victims Become Perpetrators, 38 Suffolk U. L. Rev. 367-394 (2005).    [HEIN] [W] [Gtown Law]
  • Abbe Smith, The Dignity and Humanity of Bruce Springsteen's Criminals, 14 Widener L.J. 787-835 (2005).    [HEIN] [W] [Gtown Law]
  • Abbe Smith, The Burdens of Representing the Accused in an Age of Harsh Punishment, 18 Notre Dame J.L. Ethics & Pol'y 451-463 (2004).    [HEIN] [W] [Gtown Law]
  • Abbe Smith, Defense-Oriented Judges, 32 Hofstra L. Rev. 1483-1505 (2004).    [HEIN] [W] [Gtown Law]
  • Abbe Smith, Too Much Heart and Not Enough Heat: The Short Life and Fractured Ego of the Empathic, Heroic Public Defender, 37 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 1203-1265 (2004).    [HEIN] [W] [Gtown Law]
  • Abbe Smith, The Bounds of Zeal in Criminal Defense: Some Thoughts on Lynne Stewart, 44 S. Tex. L. Rev. 31-52 (2002).    [HEIN] [W] [Gtown Law]
  • Abbe Smith, The Difference in Criminal Defense and the Difference It Makes, 11 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y 83-140 (2003).    [HEIN] [W] [Gtown Law]
  • Abbe Smith, The Complex Uses of Sexual Orientation in Criminal Court, 11 Am. U.J. Gender Soc. Pol'y & L. 101-115 (2002).    [HEIN] [W] [Gtown Law]
  • Abbe Smith, Can You Be a Good Person and a Good Prosecutor?, 14 Geo. J. Legal Ethics 355-400 (2001).    [HEIN] [W] [Gtown Law]
  • Abbe Smith & Ilene Seidman, Lawyers for the Abused and Lawyers for the Accused: An Interfaith Marriage, 47 Loy. L. Rev. 415-455 (2001).    [HEIN] [Gtown Law]
  • Abbe Smith, Defending Defending: The Case for Unmitigated Zeal on Behalf of People Who Do Terrible Things, 28 Hofstra L. Rev. 925-961 (2000).    [HEIN] [W] [Gtown Law]
  • Abbe Smith, Defending the Innocent, 32 Conn. L. Rev. 485-522 (2000).    [HEIN] [W] [Gtown Law]

Book Chapters and Collected Works

  • Abbe Smith, On Representing a Victim of Crime, in Lawyers' Ethics 353-371 (Monroe H. Freedman, Abbe Smith & Alice Woolley eds., Abingdon, U.K.: Routledge 2017).    [BOOK]
  • Abbe Smith, Strickland v. Washington: Gutting Gideon and Providing Cover for Incompetent Counsel, in We Dissent: Talking Back to the Rehnquist Court: Eight Cases that Subverted Civil Liberties and Civil Rights 188-226 (Michael Avery ed., New York: New York University Press 2009).    [BOOK]
  • Abbe Smith & Monroe H. Freedman, Understanding Lawyer's Ethics, in Understanding Law School: An Introduction to the LexisNexis Understanding Series and Tips on How to Succeed in Law School (Newark, N.J.: LexisNexis 2004).   

U.S. Supreme Court Briefs

  • Brief of Amici Curiae The Stein Center for Law and Ethics, et al., Weaver v. Massachusetts, No. 16-240 (U.S. Mar. 6, 2017).   

Selected Contributions to Other Publications

  • Abbe Smith, Monroe FreedmanHeart and Mind, 23 Prof. Law., no. 2, 2015, at 14-18.    [W]
  • Abbe Smith, The Innocent and Not So Innocent Alike: Untold Casualties in the War on Crime, Hum. Rts., Spring 2002, at 14-17.    [HEIN] [W]
Recent scholarship

In the News

"Law Professors Push for Disbarment, Sanctions Against Kellyanne Conway," by FOX 40 and Fox 31 news, Febraruy 28, 2017, quoting Professor Abbe Smith.

"Law professors file misconduct complaint against Kellyanne Conway," coverage by The Washington Post, February 23, 2017, featuring a letter of complaint signed by Professor Abbe Smith and Visiting Associate Professor Vida Johnson. For more on this story, see the Daily Mail and The Independent (U.K.).

"Legal experts examine connections between sexual assault and mass incarceration," coverage in Penn Law, February 6, 2017, featuring Professor Abbe Smith.

"Second chances: More harm than good?," a letter to the editor, The Washington Post, December 7, 2016, signed by Visiting Associate Professor Vida Johnson, Professor Abbe Smith, directory, Criminal Defense and Prisoner Advocacy Clinic, Professor Kristin Henning, director, Juvenile Justice Clinic.

"No, Dylann Roof’s Decision To Represent Himself Will Not Help Him Appeal The Verdict," coverage in BuzzFeed News, November 29, 2016, featuring Professor Abbe Smith.

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All News

"Law Professors Push for Disbarment, Sanctions Against Kellyanne Conway," by FOX 40 and Fox 31 news, Febraruy 28, 2017, quoting Professor Abbe Smith.

"Law professors file misconduct complaint against Kellyanne Conway," coverage by The Washington Post, February 23, 2017, featuring a letter of complaint signed by Professor Abbe Smith and Visiting Associate Professor Vida Johnson. For more on this story, see the Daily Mail and The Independent (U.K.).

"Legal experts examine connections between sexual assault and mass incarceration," coverage in Penn Law, February 6, 2017, featuring Professor Abbe Smith.

"Second chances: More harm than good?," a letter to the editor, The Washington Post, December 7, 2016, signed by Visiting Associate Professor Vida Johnson, Professor Abbe Smith, directory, Criminal Defense and Prisoner Advocacy Clinic, Professor Kristin Henning, director, Juvenile Justice Clinic.

"No, Dylann Roof’s Decision To Represent Himself Will Not Help Him Appeal The Verdict," coverage in BuzzFeed News, November 29, 2016, featuring Professor Abbe Smith.

"D.C. to Allow Local Prosecutors to Try Cases in Federal Courts," coverage by The Hoya, October 18, 2016, quoting Professor Abbe Smith.

"Here’s The Awful Reality Of Being A Rape Victim In Criminal Trials," coverage in The Huffington Post, July 27, 2016, quoting Professor Abbe L. Smith, director, Criminal Defense and Prisoner Advocacy Clinic.

"Kratz's pretrial behavior called unethical," coverage by USA Today, January 15, 2016, quoting Professor Abbe Smith.

Eleanor Holmes Norton seeks clemency powers for D.C. mayor,” coverage in The Washington Times, January 6, 2016, featuring Professor Eleanor Holmes Norton and quoting Professors Abbe Smith and Paul F. Rothstein.

 Professor Kris Henning (LL.M.’97) and Professor Abbe Smith were elected to the American Law Institute, October 21, 2015.

"Exclusion of Blacks From Juries Raises Renewed Scrutiny," New York Times, August 16, 2015, quoting Professor Abbe Smith

Atticus Finch Revelations Have Lawyers Reeling,” coverage by Daily Report (Fulton County GA), July 21, 2015, quoting Professor Abbe Smith.

"Sex Offender Registries and Calls for Reform," coverage on WAMU's The Diane Rehm Show, July 7, 2015, interviewing Professor Abbe Smith

"Regulating Sex," a New York Times op-ed, June 27, 2015, featuring Professor Abbe Smith

"Here’s The Legal Explanation For Why The Cleveland Police Officer Wasn’t Convicted," The Daily Caller, May 27, 2015, quoting Professor Paul Rothstein and Professor Abbe Smith.

Kilometres from Boston marathon bombing scene, suspect's trial begins,” coverage in Australian Broadcasting Corporation, February 11, 2015, interviewing Professor Abbe Smith.

"Defending those accused of unthinkable crimes," coverage in The Boston Globe, January 21, 2015, quoting Professor Abbe Smith. 

"Meet The Lawyer Who Could Save Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s Life," Buzzfeed, January 12, 2015, quoting Professor Abbe Smith.

"Q&A on flashpoint shooting case in US town of Ferguson," coverage in The Daily Mail, November 18, 2014, quoting Professor Abbe Smith.

"'How To Get Away With Murder,' meet law Students for the Defense," coverage by WJLA ABC7 News, November 13, 2014, quoting Professor Abbe Smith and her students, Nayantara Bhushan, L'15, Benjamin M. Schiffelbein, L'15, Cynthia Frezzo, L'15, Karri Ridgeway Egerton, L'15, and Steven Woodward, L'15.

"Machen tramples on the mayor's due process," an opinion piece in the The Washington Post, March 21, 2014, co-written by Professor Abbe Smith.

"Why Lawyers Defend Monsters," MSNBC, September 6, 2013, featuring Professor Abbe Smith.

"What motivates a lawyer to defend a Tsarnaev, a Castro or a Zimmerman?" an opinion piece by Professor Abbe Smith in the Washington Post, July 25, 2013.

Professor Abbe Smith reviewed Kids for Cash  and The Injustice System in the New York Times Book Review, March 29, 2013.

Recent News

On The Web

Maps & Directions

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