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Penn State Law in University Park’s New Jurist in Residence

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Beginning January 2022, the new Jurist in Residence will be the Honorable D. Brooks Smith, the Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. This enhanced position will allow him to spend more time teaching and advising students at Penn State Law. 

“Being in the classroom with Penn State Law students over the years has been a real joy for me. Having this new opportunity to play an enhanced role at our still-young law school—teaching the vital role of our courts in the life of the nation and the lives of our communities—is, for me, a cherished opportunity to further advance the rule of law. I am grateful to Dean Osofsky, the faculty, and the University at large for giving me such an opportunity.”

-Chief Judge Smith

Chief Judge Smith has also served as the Chair of Penn State Law’s Board of Advisors since its inception. Having him as the Chair and the Jurist in Residence will greatly benefit Penn State Law students and its reputation in the legal community. “It has been a source of satisfaction to watch the Board of Advisors evolve over the years into a very active body—one which does more than simply meet a few times a year to hear and provide input to the Dean,” said Chief Judge Smith.

“Some of our members have provided advice that has been useful to our administrators in seeking needed resources. We have personally contributed to scholarship funds, and all of us have made ourselves available to provide student mentoring and career guidance to our graduates. I view the Board’s stepped-up activity as a further sign of the law school’s progress.”

Chief Judge Smith has served on the Third Circuit since 2002 and was elevated to Chief Judge on October 1, 2016. He also has the longest tenure of all Article III judges within the Third Circuit who are in active service, and he is the only judge in the history of the Circuit to have served as both a chief district judge and chief circuit judge.

“Penn State Law is honored to have Chief Judge Smith as a Jurist in Residence,” said Dr. Hari M. Osofsky, dean of Penn State Law and the School of International Affairs. “He has made important contributions to our society as a judge and to our law school through his leadership and teaching. We are excited about the opportunities for our community to engage with Chief Judge Smith and learn from him in this new role.”

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 is currently a member of the Judicial Conference of the United States, the policy-making body of the Federal Judiciary, and also sits on its eight-member Executive Committee.

While on the federal bench, he has participated in various rule of law programs for the judiciary in a number of Eastern European Countries. Judge Smith also serves as an adjunct professor at Penn State Law, where he teaches a seminar on class actions. 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. 

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