Deirdre M. Smith

Deirdre Smith is Director of the Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic, which was established in 1970 and is one of the oldest continuously-operating law school clinical programs in the country. Through the Clinic, student attorneys are specially licensed to practice law and represent real clients in matters ranging from child custody disputes, to immigration matters, to criminal cases.

Under the leadership of Professor Smith, the Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic has expanded to include clinical courses in the areas of Juvenile Justice and Refugee and Human Rights.

Professor Smith teaches General Practice Clinic and Evidence. She is highly regarded for her extensive scholarship, which has focused primarily on the intersection of psychiatry, mental illness, and evidence law in the context of civil litigation. Professor Smith serves as Chair of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court’s Advisory Committee on the Rules of Evidence and is on several committees addressing legal aid and access to justice for low-income Maine residents. She also works on reform initiatives to improve Maine’s court system for family matters.

A former law clerk for Chief Judge Gene Carter of the United States District Court for the District of Maine, Professor Smith practiced for several years with the Portland law firm of Drummond Woodsum & MacMahon. Through her varied civil litigation practice at the firm, Professor Smith represented educational institutions, businesses, municipalities and individuals in jury and bench trials, arbitrations, and mediations, as well as in appeals before the Maine Supreme Judicial Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

Selected Publications

From Orphans to Families in Crisis: Parental Rights Matters in Maine Probate Courts, 68 ME. L. REV. _ (forthcoming 2015)

Dangerous Diagnoses, Risky Assumptions, and the Failed Experiment of “Sexually Violent Predator” Commitment, 67 OKLA. L. REV. _ (forthcoming 2015) [SSRN]

The Risks and Benefits of Disclosing Psychotherapy Records to the Legal System: What Psychologists and Patients Need to Know for Informed Consent, 38 INT’L J. L. & PSYCHIATRY _ (with Bruce Borkosky, Ph.D.) (forthcoming 2015)

Diagnosing Liability: The Legal History of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, 84 TEMP. L. REV. 1 (2011). [SSRN]

The Disordered and Discredited Plaintiff: Psychiatric Evidence in Civil Litigation, 31 CARDOZO L. REV. 749 (2009). [SSRN]

Additional Publications

Electronic Evidence and the Right to Confrontation 83 FORDHAM L. REV. 1216 (2014) (remarks during 2014 Federal Rules of Evidence Advisory Committee Symposium “The Challenges of Electronic Evidence”)

An Uncertain Privilege: Implied Waiver and the Evisceration of the Psychotherapist-Patient Privilege in the Federal Courts, 58 DePAUL L. REV. 79 (2008). [SSRN]

Who Says You’re Disabled? The Role of Medical Evidence in the ADA Definition of Disability, 82 TUL. L. REV. 1 (2007). [SSRN]

The Paradox of Personality: Mental Illness, Employment Discrimination and the Americans with Disabilities Act, 17 GEO. MASON U. C. R. L.J. 79 (2006). [SSRN]

MAINE SCHOOL LAW (Harry Pringle & Amy Tchao, eds., 2001) (co-author of Chapter 6: “School Litigation and Liability”).

Representing Deaf Clients: What Every Lawyer Should Know, 15 ME. B.J. 128 (2000) (co-authored with Elizabeth Gallie, Esq.).

Confronting Silence: The Constitution, Deaf Criminal Defendants and the Right to Interpretation During Trial, 46 ME. L. REV. 87 (1994) (winner of 1994 SCRIBES Award). [PDF]