Professor Lisa Smith was recently elected co-chair of the Clinical Section Externship Committee of the American Association of Law Schools (AALS) for a two-year term. Professor Smith, who is Director of the Criminal, Judicial, and Civil Externship programs at BLS, will lead the committee with Professor Inga Laurent of Gonzaga University School of Law. Both were officially elected last month at the annual AALS Clinical Section meeting in Puerto Rico.
The role of the Externship Committee is to identify and share best practices for teaching in externships (also known as field placements), increase field-placement faculty membership in the Clinical Section, and assist faculty who are new to field placements. Because Brooklyn Law School has one of the largest and most successful clinical programs of any law school in the nation, Professor Smith is well-suited to lead the Committee, based on her many years of clinical teaching experience.
“I am honored that I was chosen to lead this Committee,” said Professor Smith. “I am looking forward to sharing the knowledge and information I have garnered from both the triumphs and trials of the well-established BLS clinical externship program with my fellow colleagues.”
As Professor Smith explained, many law schools are in the process of developing externship programs or looking to expand their programs in the face of new economic realities and a renewed focus on experiential learning. She hopes that the Committee will encourage professors at other law schools to share issues and challenges they encounter within their own programs, and that Clinical Section members will benefit from her many years of clinical experience, as well as the advice and support of fellow law professors.
Professor Smith foresees a packed agenda for the next two years as the Committee addresses new trends in legal education, such as expanding civil externships to work with for-profit corporations and allowing law students to work full time and earn credit. The Committee will also be responsible for participation and programming for future meetings and conferences.
Professor Smith is an expert in the area of domestic violence, and teaches clinics in criminal practice and prosecution. She has directed the Prosecutors Clinic at Brooklyn Law School for more than a decade. She is the former chair of the American Bar Association Committee on ReEntry and Collateral Consequences, and the ABA Criminal Justice Section Academics Committee. She serves on the Kings County Judicial Screening Committee and was also an appointee to the Independent Judicial Screening Panel for the Second District. She has initiated several innovative programs to combat domestic violence that have garnered national attention, lectures frequently on domestic violence issues, and is often quoted in the media, most recently in the Christian Science Monitor.
Before joining the faculty in 1987, Professor Smith served for many years as the Executive Assistant District Attorney for domestic violence, sex crimes, and child abuse in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office.
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