Deirdre M. Smith

Professor of Law, Emerita

Deirdre M. Smith is Professor Emerita. During her time as a full-time member of the Maine Law faculty from 2004-2023, she taught a range of courses, including Evidence, Remedies, Professional Responsibility, Disability Law Seminar, General Practice Clinic, and Lawyering Skills for Clinical Practice. She is highly regarded for her extensive scholarship, which has focused most recently on court systems, judicial ethics, minor guardianship, adoption, and kinship care. Professor Smith is a former Associate Dean of Experiential Education and served as Director of Maine Law’s Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic for 18 years. Under her leadership, the Clinic expanded to include several new programs, including clinics addressing the legal needs of youth and immigrants. She was also the inaugural Director of the Public Interest and Social Justice Certificate program.

Professor Smith is a member of the American Law Institute, and a former Chair of the Professional Ethics Commission of the Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar and the Maine Supreme Judicial Court’s Advisory Committee on the Rules of Evidence. She has served on several judicial selection advisory committees for state and federal courts. She serves as consultant to the Maine Family Law Advisory Commission and the Pew Charitable Trusts Civil Legal System Modernization Project. She also works on reform initiatives to improve Maine’s court system for family matters. She is a member of the Scholars Strategy Network.

She was awarded the 2023 L. Kinvin Wroth Award by Maine Law. She is also a recipient of the Peter DeTroy Award from the Campaign for Justice, Carolyn Duby Glassman Award from the Maine State Bar Association, Justice Louis Skolnik Award from the American Civil Liberties Union, the Distinguished Service Award from the Maine Law Alumni Association, and the Advocate for Justice Award from the Maine Judicial Branch.

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. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, magna cum laude, and the University of Maine School of Law, summa cum laude.

Selected Publications

Termination of Parental Rights as A Private Remedy: Rationales, Realities, and Remedies, 72 SYRACUSE L. REV. 1173 (2021-2022). [PDF] [SSRN]

Keeping It in the Family: Minor Guardianship as Private Child Protection, 18 CONN. PUB. INT. L. J. 269 (2019). [PDF] [SSRN]

From Orphans to Families in Crisis: Parental Rights Matters in Maine Probate Courts, 68 ME. L. REV. 45 (2016). [PDF] [SSRN]

Dangerous Diagnoses, Risky Assumptions, and the Failed Experiment of “Sexually Violent Predator” Commitment, 67 OKLA. L. REV. 619 (2015). [PDF] [SSRN]

The Risks and Benefits of Disclosing Psychotherapy Records to the Legal System: What Psychologists and Patients Need to Know for Informed Consent, 42-43 INT’L J.L. & PSYCHIATRY 19 (2015) (with Bruce Borkosky, Ph.D.). [ScienceDirect]


Bringing Mindfulness Practices to the Law School Clinic, Equipoise, Newsletter of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Balance in Legal Education (Dec. 2018).

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”).

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

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

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

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