Bruce P. Smith

Professor of Law
Guy Raymond Jones Faculty Scholar

A specialist in Anglo-American criminal procedure in the 18th and 19th centuries, Professor 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). From 2009-14, he served as the 12th dean of the University of Illinois College of Law. 

During his tenure as dean of the College of Law, he successfully concluded a $50 million capital campaign, hired a dozen new faculty members, developed and launched an innovative and highly successful Chicago Program, added three new award-winning clinics, transformed the College’s approach to professional development, and spurred the completion of a new multi-year strategic plan. 

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.

Professor 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.

Before joining the Illinois faculty in 2001, Professor 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.

He will be on research leave during the 2014-15 academic year, completing a book manuscript on criminal procedure in 18th and early-19th century London.