Deirdre M. Smith is associate dean of experiential education and managing 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.

Professor Smith teaches General Practice Clinic and Evidence, as well as mindfulness programs at Maine Law. She is highly regarded for her extensive scholarship, which has focused most recently on minor guardianship, child protection, and kinship care. Professor Smith is a member of the American Law Institute, chair of the Professional Ethics Commission of the Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar and a former Chair of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court’s Advisory Committee on the Rules of Evidence. She serves as consultant to the Maine Family Law Advisory Commission on minor guardianship and adoption laws. She also works on reform initiatives to improve access to justice for low-income Maine residents and Maine’s court system for family matters. She is a member of the Scholars Strategy Network.

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:

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]

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]

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”).

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]