Paul M. Smith

Vice President, Litigation & Strategy


Paul M. Smith joined CLC as Vice President, Litigation and Strategy in January 2017. Paul works directly with CLC’s talented team of litigators to protect and improve our democracy through innovative litigation strategies.

Paul has more than three decades of experience litigating a wide range of cases. He has argued before the U.S. Supreme Court 19 times and secured numerous victories, including in important cases advancing civil liberties. Two examples are Lawrence v. Texas, the landmark gay rights case, and Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Ass’n, which established First Amendment rights of those who produce and sell video games.

In addition, Paul has argued a number of important voting rights cases at the Supreme Court, including Vieth v. Jubelirer, involving partisan gerrymandering, LULAC v. Perry, involving the legality of Texas’s mid-decade redrawing of congressional districts, and Crawford v. Marion County Election Board¸ involving the constitutionality of a voter identification law. He served as counsel for amici who filed in several key campaign finance merits cases McCutcheon v. FEC (on behalf of Democratic House members), Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett (on behalf of the Committee for Economic Development) and Citizens United v. FEC (on behalf of the Committee for Economic Development).

Paul has been honored nationally by a variety of publications and organizations. He was named by Chambers USA as one of the country’s leading lawyers in appellate litigation, media and entertainment law, and First Amendment litigation for multiple years.  In 2010, Washingtonian magazine recognized him as one of "Washington's Top Lawyers,” Washington DC Super Lawyer named him one of the “Top 10 Lawyers in D.C.,” and The National Law Journal named him one of the "Decade's Most Influential Lawyers.”  Best Lawyers named him the Washington D.C. First Amendment Lawyer of the Year for 2012. Paul was awarded the Thurgood Marshall Award by the American Bar Association Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities for his work promoting civil rights and civil liberties.  

Paul previously served as a partner in the law firm of Jenner & Block, where he was chair of the firm's Appellate and Supreme Court Practice and co-chair of the firm's Election Law and Redistricting Practice.

In addition to Paul’s work at CLC, he teaches as a Distinguished Visitor from Practice at Georgetown University Law Center.

Paul is a member and former chair of the National Board of Directors of the American Constitution Society and former board member and co-chair of Lambda Legal. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Amherst College.