When Professor Glenn C. Smith recently took a moment to reflect on his long and distinguished career at California Western, he felt an almost unexpected sense of amazement as he surveyed the past.
“I can’t believe my 30th anniversary is coming up this fall,” he says. “It’s gone by so incredibly fast. When I look back over those decades and see how much the school has grown—in developing new programs and disciplines, while producing even more capable and motivated lawyers—I really am astounded at what our small but very special law school has accomplished.”
Improvement of the faculty is near the top of that list.
“I like to joke that I probably couldn’t get a job here today,” Smith says. “Over the last decade or so, we’ve attracted talented and qualified professors whose outstanding academic credentials and superb track records as practicing attorneys I would compare favorably to just about any other law school in the country.
“What’s really unique about our professors is that they have this great balance that combines academic excellence with a passion for teaching and a dedication to helping their students succeed both in the classroom and after they become lawyers.”
Smith is the epitome of that kind of professor. His well-deserved national reputation as a constitutional law scholar and his ability to make his classes on that subject both accessible and compelling have made him one of the school’s most effective and popular professors. His widely praised Supreme Court seminar, his special enthusiasm for the Summer Enrichment program for newly admitted students, and his work expanding awareness of the law for senior citizens, high school students, and prison inmates have been invaluable to the school.
The most significant change Smith has observed over three decades is not so much in the students themselves, but in the remarkably varied legal education they receive at California Western in the 21st century.
“The profile of our students has improved, and superficially, there are differences from when I started, like laptops, smartphones, and social media. But they’re still the same mature, motivated students from diverse walks of life, many of whom balance part-time jobs and families so they can pursue their legal dreams.
“What’s different today is that we’ve expanded our programs so extensively over the years. Students can pursue traditional business and corporate law, they can become prosecutors and public defenders, they can focus on international law, health law, or any number of areas of public interest law.”
Smith adds, “When you combine that with the fact that our students come out of California Western profession ready—including being ready to deploy the best of legal judgment and problem solving in new contexts—you begin to understand why I believe California Western is such a special place to study law and why I’ve been really fortunate to be a part of it.”