Jessica Smith

W. R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Public Law and Government

Areas of Expertise

Criminal law and procedure; judicial education; bail and pretrial release; evidence; post-conviction procedure


Jessica Smith joined the Institute of Government in 2000. Prior to that, she practiced law at Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C. She also clerked for U.S. District Judge W. Earl Britt in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina and for Senior U.S. Circuit Judge J. Dickson Phillips Jr. in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. At the School of Government, Smith teaches and consults with judges and other public employees involved in the criminal justice system. In 2006, she received the Albert and Gladys Hall Coates Term Professorship for Teaching Excellence. In 2013, she was named by the Chancellor as a W. R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor, one of the University’s highest academic honors. Smith earned a BA, cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania and a JD, magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she was managing editor of the Law Review.

Curriculum Vitae