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Federal courthouse lobby to be named after Penn State Law’s D. Brooks Smith

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The lobby of the Joseph F. Weis Jr. Courthouse in Pittsburgh for the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania will be named after the Honorable D. Brooks Smith, the court’s former chief judge and current jurist in residence at Penn State Law in University Park.

“Judge Joseph Weis was a trusted colleague, friend, and mentor,” Smith said. “He was not only a judge of national stature. He was a battlefield hero twice wounded in World War II. To have my name associated in any way with the federal courthouse that bears Joe’s name is a privilege for which I will attempt – for the rest of my days – to be worthy.”

The newly named Smith Lobby will be unveiled during a dedication ceremony at the courthouse on April 21.

“Brooks Smith is a giant in the law and his tireless service and leadership have touched so many,” U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit Chief Judge Michael A.Chagares said in an announcement.

“The dedication of the Smith Lobby is a fitting honor for a judge who has devoted his life’s work to promoting the rule of law and contributing so much to the people of Western Pennsylvania, the Third Circuit, and the United States,” Chagares added.

Smith has served as the chair of Penn State Law’s Board of Advisors since its inception. He began serving as jurist in residence for Penn State Law this month, taking on a role that allows him more time to mentor and advise students.

The Penn State Dickinson Law alumnus has served the Third Circuit – which includes the federal courts within Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and the U.S. Virgin Islands – since 2002, including as chief judge from 2016-2021 before assuming senior status in December.

Prior to his work in the Third Circuit, Smith served as a judge in the U.S. District Court for Western Pennsylvania and held the position of chief judge at the time of his appointment to the Court of Appeals.

“We are very excited about this tribute to Judge Smith, who continues to give so much to Penn State Law,” said Vice Admiral (Ret.) James W. Houck, interim dean of Penn State Law and the School of International Affairs. “Our students are very fortunate to have his insights and mentorship.” 

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