Summer 2006

Leasdership Profile: Mary Smith

Mary Smith, Vice Chair of the Civil Rights Committee, brings an array of experiences to the Section as she works to promote civil rights issues. Mary first became involved with the Section following the 2004 Presidential campaign, having served as the Senior Advisor for Native American policy on the Kerry-Edwards campaign. After spending a year on the campaign working on issues she was passionate about, Mary wanted to find a new outlet for her energies. She was impressed both by the work of the Section and the quality of its leaders and found it a good place to work on civil rights issues, women’s issues, disability rights, and Native American policy.

As Senior Litigation Counsel for Tyco International (US) Inc., she manages Tyco’s multi-district securities and ERISA class actions. Her specialization is in securities litigation, class actions, and government and internal investigations for corporations. Prior to working at Tyco, she worked at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP in Washington, D.C. and served in the Clinton Administration. During her time in the White House, she served as Associate Counsel to the President and Associate Director of Policy Planning. She dealt with a number of policy issues including domestic violence, equal pay, homelessness, transportation safety, food safety, internet gambling, Native American issues, civil rights issues, and hate crimes. She is a native of Chicago and a member of the Cherokee nation

There are many issues that Mary would like to see the Section’s Civil Rights Committee address. Last year, the Committee led the ABA in creating and adopting a resolution that supported Congress’s reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act. Unfortunately, the Voting Rights Act is still not reauthorized, though Mary hopes that the Committee’s work could bring more attention to this important issue. Mary sees an opportunity for the Committee to reframe the discussion around recent news events to focus on civil rights. She believes there is still much to be examined regarding possible civil rights issues and Hurricane Katrina, as well as the prisons in Guantanamo Bay and the recent news of electronic surveillance programs.

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