Judge Bios

Smith, Judith

Appointed: October 17, 2008

Judith A. Smith was appointed a Magistrate Judge by Chief Judge Rufus G. King III on September 15, 2008 and was sworn in on October 17, 2008.

Judith A. Smith was appointed a Magistrate Judge by Chief Judge Rufus G. King III on September 15, 2008 and was sworn in on October 17, 2008.

Judge Smith was born in Columbus, Ohio and raised in Grove City, Ohio. She received her Bachelor of Science in Accounting, with High Distinction, from The Pennsylvania State University in 1985. Upon graduation from college, Judge Smith began employment with Price Waterhouse, working in both the Boston, Massachusetts and Columbus, Ohio offices. She obtained her Certified Public Accountant license from the State of Ohio in 1988 and became Comptroller of Clarke & Company, a Boston-based advertising and public relations agency.

Judge Smith relocated to Washington, D.C. in 1989 to attend the Georgetown University Law Center, including Georgetown’s Summer Program in Florence, Italy and received her Juris Doctor in 1992. While at Georgetown, Judge Smith was the Chair of the Equal Justice Foundation and the student member of the Student-Faculty Financial Aid Committee, assisting in raising more than $50,000 to fund law student summer employment in public interest law and increasing LRAP (loan repayment assistance program) funding for graduates practicing public interest law. As a law student, she taught Street Law at the Lorton Prison facilities, as part of Georgetown’s Street Law Corrections Clinic. Also during law school, Judge Smith interned at The Legal Aid Society for the District of Columbia, the National Criminal Justice Association, Bricker and Eckler in Columbus, Ohio, and at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia.

Upon graduation from law school, Judge Smith clerked for the Honorable A. Franklin Burgess, Jr., Associate Judge, D.C. Superior Court in 1992-93, one of her most rewarding and challenging legal experiences to date. Following her clerkship, Judge Smith embarked on her career in public interest law. Opening her own law practice in 1993, she represented juveniles and adults in delinquency and criminal matters in D.C. Superior Court. She also successfully litigated several administrative matters as a pro bono attorney for the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless. While in private practice, Judge Smith also returned to Georgetown as Adjunct Professor of the Street Law Corrections Clinic, instructing and supervising law students teaching Street Law at the Maximum Security facility of Lorton Prison. She also handled neglect and child support matters.

In 1994, Judge Smith began the first of her several positions at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (PDS), as Staff Attorney in the Juvenile Services Program. She represented juveniles in disciplinary matters in the detention centers, initially at the former Receiving Home for Children. In 1996, Judge Smith became the first Special Education Attorney at PDS, assisting in growing the program to more than five special education and civil legal services attorneys. In 2001, at the request of D.C. Superior Court, Judge Smith planned and presented a special education law conference focused exclusively on representing children and their families involved in the court system in special education administrative hearings. During this tenure at PDS, Judge Smith represented more than 250 clients in special education and competency matters and was also active in assessing the adequacy of the education program at Oak Hill Youth Center as part of the ongoing class action, Jerry M. vs. D.C. She was also appointed by former Mayor Anthony Williams to the State Advisory Panel on Special Education.

Later in 2001, Judge Smith left PDS to become Executive Director – Mediation and Compliance and then Executive Director – Federal and Family Court Monitoring, in the Office of Special Education of the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), working to assist the school system in complying with thousands of administrative hearing decisions and federal and family court orders on special education matters. After assisting DCPS in reaching a Consent Decree in the long-running federal court class action, Blackman-Jones vs. D.C., Judge Smith left DCPS in 2007 to return to the Public Defender Service as Coordinator of its Juvenile Services Program, supervising attorneys and law clerks representing youth in aftercare revocation and disciplinary hearings at the city’s two detention centers. Judge Smith participated in a number of Family Court committees, including the Implementation Committee and subcommittees on Juvenile Justice, Training, and the Education Checklist, as well as being active in the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI). Judge Smith was asked to chair a special project committee consisting of several leading local attorneys in D.C. to draft Attorney Practice Standards for the Court’s Special Education Panel Attorneys and to provide ongoing Continuing Legal Education training in special education. She was also appointed to the Juvenile Justice Advisory Group by Mayor Adrian Fenty.

In early 2008, Judge Smith joined the newly expanded Office of the State Superintendent of Education, in the General Counsel’s office to spearhead the agency’s legal compliance with a number of federal court orders in class action cases and directives from the U.S. Department of Education.

Judge Smith has been a Big Sister as part of the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program for more than 20 years. She has maintained a relationship for more than 17 years with her first DC Little Sister match, who attended the ceremony.