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.
Contributions to Law Reviews and Other Scholarly Journals
U.S. Supreme Court Briefs
"Opinion: Misdemeanor court has been closed for a year. Keep it that way," an opinion piece by Professor John M. Copacino, Professor Abbe Smith, and Associate Professor Vida Johnson, in The Washington Post, March 4, 2021.
"A Hedge Fund’s Bet on Criminal Justice," coverage in The New York Times, February 27, 2021, featuring Professor Abbe Smith.
"Dueling narratives fuel opposing views of Kenosha protest shooting," coverage in The Washington Post, August 30, 2020, featuring Professor Abbe Smith.
"Releasing People From Prison Is Easier Said Than Done," coverage by The Atlantic, July 8, 2020, featuring Professor Abbe Smith.