Bruce P. Smith

Guy Raymond Jones Faculty Scholar

As the 12th dean of the University of Illinois College of Law, Dean Smith has sought to (1) recruit and retain a world-class, interdisciplinary law faculty; (2) ensure the affordability and accessibility of an Illinois law degree; (3) prepare students more effectively for legal practice through the addition of new clinics, upper-level course offerings, and enhanced professional development resources; and (4) strengthen connections to the College’s alumni through increased teaching, mentoring, and philanthropic giving. Since Dean Smith assumed his position in February 2009, the College has hired a dozen new faculty members, raised funds for five new endowed faculty positions, added three new award-winning clinics, launched an innovative Chicago Program, completed a $50 million capital campaign, grown alumni participation in the College’s annual fund by over 70%, and completed site selection and an architectural design for a new law building.

Before joining the Illinois faculty in 2001, Dean Smith practiced law for five years at Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C., working primarily in the area of intellectual property litigation and sports law – in the latter capacity, representing the National Football League, National Basketball Association, and National Hockey League. A specialist in Anglo-American criminal procedure in the 18th and 19th centuries, Dean Smith is the author of History of the Common Law: The Development of Anglo-American Legal Institutions (2009) (with John Langbein and Renée Lettow Lerner). He has taught as a visiting professor of law at the University of Michigan Law School and The George Washington University Law School, as an instructor at the University of Oxford and the University of Victoria, and as an invited lecturer at the University of Palermo in Buenos Aires, Argentina and the University of Luxembourg. In 2008, he was one of two recipients of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Campus Award for Graduate and Professional Teaching, which recognizes excellence in the classroom, innovative approaches to teaching, and other contributions to improved instruction.

Dean Smith received his Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude with highest honors in history from Williams College and bachelor's and master's degrees in history from the University of Cambridge, which he attended as a Herchel Smith Fellow. He earned his J.D. from Yale Law School, where he served as a senior editor on the Yale Law Journal, and his Ph.D. in history from the Yale Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, where he was a Mellon Fellow in the Humanities.

He is married to Elizabeth Robischon, a lawyer, and has two children, Charlotte and Fraser.