Posted: October 31st, 2011 | By: Linda Payne
The Wake Forest University School of Law will present “A Conversation With Wade Smith,” one of North Carolina’s best known and most acclaimed lawyers, at noon on Wednesday, Nov. 9, in Room 1312 of the Worrell Professional Center.
Smith is a 1963 graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Law who has devoted his professional career to helping people and businesses in state and federal criminal investigations.
In 1979, Smith served as counsel to Dr. Jeffrey McDonald in the much studied and discussed Green Beret Murder case. He also was counsel for Collin Finnerty, one of three young men accused in the Duke Lacrosse case.
Smith has received numerous awards and recognitions in his nearly 50-year career. He was named North Carolina’s No. 1 criminal lawyer by Business North Carolina Magazine in 2004 and was recognized in 2009 as one of North Carolina’s Top 10 Lawyers by Charlotte Magazine.
In 2008, the North Carolina Bar Association established the annual Wade M. Smith award “for the Criminal Defense Attorney Who Exemplifies the Highest Ideals of the Profession.” The Association also presented Smith with the H. Brent McKnight Renaissance Lawyer Award, which annually goes to “an attorney whose trustworthiness, respectful and courteous treatment of all people, enthusiasm for intellectual achievement and commitment to excellence in work and service to the profession and community, inspires others.”
Law Professor Shannon Gilreath said “Conversation With” committee members selected Smith for this fall’s program based on his experience with high-profile clients and his desire to find the compelling story in every case.
“We look for people who will be able to teach our students about professional ethics and for those who have an interesting story to tell,” said Gilreath, who noted that Smith is a positive role model for practicing attorneys. “Wade has been involved with many cases that have been highly publicized, and it will be great for our students to learn about the life of a defense lawyer who has the responsibility of representing unpopular clients.”
Smith, who recently spent a week immersed in NCAA hearings, said he is looking forward to meeting with the group of aspiring lawyers.
“I am really looking forward to this moment with the students at Wake Forest,” he said. “I get such energy from these interactions with students. They refresh me and inspire me to go back to my office and struggle to remain relevant in a rapidly changing world. I have so much to learn. I fear there is no hope for me to ever be a good lawyer. Perhaps I will find the way to achieving some of my potential when I come there for my much anticipated visit. I am so honored to be coming.”