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Abbe Smith


Abbe Smith is Director of the Criminal Defense and Prisoner Advocacy Clinic, Co‑Director of the E. Barrett Prettyman Fellowship Program, and the Scott K. Ginsburg Professor of Law at Georgetown University. Prior to coming to Georgetown, Professor Smith was Deputy Director of the Criminal Justice Institute, Clinical Instructor, and Lecturer at Law at Harvard Law School. She 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. Professor Smith teaches and writes on criminal defense, juvenile justice, legal ethics, and clinical legal education. In addition to numerous law journal articles, she is the author of Guilty People (2020) and Case of a Lifetime: A Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Story (2008), co‑author with Monroe Freedman of Understanding Lawyers’ Ethics (5th ed., 2016); co-editor with Monroe Freedman of How Can You Represent Those People? (2013), and co-editor with Alice Woolley and Monroe Freedman of Lawyers’ Ethics (2017). Professor Smith began her legal career at the Defender Association of Philadelphia, where she was an Assistant Defender, member of the Special Defense Unit, and Senior Trial Attorney from 1982 to 1990. She continues to be actively engaged in indigent criminal 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, capital defender, and other lawyer training programs in the United States and abroad. Professor Smith is a member of the Board of Directors of The Bronx Defenders and the Second Look Project, and a member of the National Advisory Board of the Plea Bargaining Institute, the Monroe H. Freedman Institute for the Study of Legal Ethics, and Still She Rises: Tulsa, a member of the Faculty Advisory Board of the Georgetown Prisons and Justice Initiative, and a longtime member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, American Civil Liberties Union, and National Lawyers Guild. In 2010, she was elected to the American Board of Criminal Lawyers. In 2016, Professor Smith received Georgetown’s Frank F. Flegal Excellence in Teaching Award (Georgetown’s “best teacher award”). 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 in1984, and her cartoons are featured in her 2020 book, Guilty People.