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Hon. D. Brooks Smith

Hon. D. Brooks Smith

Distinguished Jurist in Residence


J.D., The Dickinson School of Law
B.A., Franklin & Marshall College

D. Brooks Smith is a Senior Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.  He has served on the Third Circuit since 2002 and was Chief Judge of that court from October 2016 to December 2021. Judge Smith is the only judge in the history of the Circuit to have served as both a chief district judge and chief circuit judge. Prior to his elevation to the Third Circuit, Judge Smith was the Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.  He joined the District Court in 1988.

Judge Smith has served by appointment of the Chief Justice of the United States on the Judicial Conference of the United States (JCUS) Space and Facilities Committee, concluding a three-year term as chair on September 30, 2016. In the 1990s, he served on the JCUS Advisory Committee on Criminal Rules. He was a member of the Executive Committee of the JCUS from 2019 to 2021. 

While on the federal bench, he has participated in various rule of law programs for the judiciary in a number of Eastern European Countries.  As an adjunct professor at Penn State Law, Judge Smith taught a seminar on class actions. Now as a Distinguished Jurist in Residence at Penn State Law, his teaching also touches on the vital role of our courts in the life of the nation and the lives of our communities.  In 2016, the law school presented Judge Smith its first “Leadership Award,” and, in 2017, Penn State presented him with the Distinguished Alumni Award, the University’s highest alumni honor.

Prior to his appointment to the federal bench, Judge Smith was a judge on the Court of Common Pleas of Blair County, Pennsylvania; District Attorney of Blair County, Pennsylvania; and the managing partner in the law firm of Jubelirer, Carothers, Krier, Halpern and Smith.  He resides in Altoona, PA with his wife of more than 40 years, Karen.