Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

News Release

July 01, 2003
Professor Karen R. Smith Selected Irving D. and Florence Rosenberg Professor for 2003-2004

Southwestern is pleased to announce that Professor Karen Smith was selected Irving D. and Florence Rosenberg Professor of Law for 2003-2004. The Rosenberg Professorship was established in 1993 through a gift from Mrs. Florence Rosenberg to Southwestern. The late Irving D. Rosenberg was an astute real estate investor in Chicago and Los Angeles. Mrs. Rosenberg passed away in July of 1998.

Professor Smith earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Rhetoric (1969), and her Juris Doctor degree (1972) from the University of California at Berkeley. She gained her first "real life" experience in criminal law as a student law clerk for the defense attorney representing Black Panther leader Huey P. Newton in a retrial following the reversal of a conviction in People v. Newton. Since that time, Professor Smith has served as both prosecutor and defense counsel. In 1973, her first full-time appointment was to the Criminal Division of the California Attorney General's Office where, among other cases, she argued before the California Supreme Court about the legality of physical restraints and prison uniforms being used during trials. From 1976 to 1977, Professor Smith worked as an Appellate Criminal Defense Attorney for the State Public Defender's Office. In 1977, she moved to the Federal Public Defender's Office as Senior Deputy Federal Public Defender. Her criminal defense work provided her with a wide range of experience in constitutional and criminal procedure issues at both the trial and appellate levels. In May 1998, Professor Smith argued before the California Supreme Court in In Re: Robbins, a death penalty habeas proceeding.

Professor Smith joined the Southwestern faculty in 1982. She has taught Advanced Criminal Procedure, Constitutional Criminal Procedure, and Interviewing, Counseling and Negotiation. From 1991-2002, she was Director of the SCALE program, and also teaches in the program. She also advises several moot court teams that participate in national competitions. Additionally, she has lectured on criminal law issues for Southwestern's continuing legal education program. In 1994, she was named the Irwin R. Buchalter Professor of Law. In 2002, she was honored by the Southwestern Women's Law Association at its 8th Annual Alumni Reception.

During 1992, she served as counsel to the General Counsel of the Webster-Williams Commission investigating the police response to the L.A. riots, and during 1991-92, she was a member of the Ninth Circuit Gender Bias Task Force, Los Angeles Work Group. She also served as a regular legal commentator for KABC television in Los Angeles during the O.J. Simpson trial. In 1994, she was elected a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.