Jenner & Block

Law360 Profiles Paul Smith as the Firm’s “Civil Rights Stalwart”

Jenner & Block Partner Paul M. Smith is profiled in a lengthy article in Law360 as part of its “Appellate A-List” series.  Titled “Jenner & Block’s Civil Rights Stalwart: Paul M. Smith,” the article details Paul’s career, from his time serving in high-profile clerkships with Second Circuit Judge James Oakes and Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell to his first Supreme Court oral argument in a pro bono asbestos case in 1986.  The profile discusses his coming to Jenner & Block in 1994 and helping the firm establish itself as a leading voice on free speech in new media.  Finally, the article explores how Paul has helped evolve the firm’s civil rights practice to include “a host of hot-button issues,” including successfully arguing against laws that criminalized gay sex.  The 2003 Lawrence v. Texas case has led to Paul’s involvement in helping dismantle bans against same-sex marriage nationwide.  Described as “soft-spoken but intense,” Paul – who has presented 15 arguments before the Supreme Court – calls his style at the podium conversational while not being jocular.  He advises young attorneys to “make sure that at least part of the time you’re doing work you care about.  If you’re just practicing law to pay the bills and doing whatever the partners ask, you’re not going to last very long, and you’re not going to do it very well.”