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Amanda Smith

Professor of Legal Methods
Director, Academic Success Program

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Curriculum Vitae

Phone: 717.541.3946

“I teach a year-long course in legal methods to first-year students. At the end of the year, when I watch my students argue their first cases, I am proud of how much they have accomplished over a short amount of time.”

Amanda Smith is a dedicated teacher. She works primarily with first-year students, equipping them with the skills that they will need to succeed in law school and practice. Her courses focus on how to read and analyze the law, research, cite legal authority, and communicate legal analysis orally and in writing. She strives to make her classes engaging and challenging.

Professor Smith also serves as the Director of the Academic Success Program. In this role, she assists students in enhancing their academic skills so they can reach their full potential. She works with students in various ways, including classes, workshops, and one-on-one meetings.

Professor Smith’s scholarship focuses on how best to prepare students to practice law. She authored an article, supported by a grant awarded by the Legal Writing Institute, exploring the pedagogical advantages of teaching judicial opinion writing in the first semester of law school. Her approach has been adopted into the law school’s Legal Methods program. In addition, Professor Smith shares teaching ideas at conferences across the country. She has presented on incorporating several innovative technologies and techniques into courses to enhance student learning.  

Finally, Professor Smith has a heart for community service. She volunteers with Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, which offers support to law students, attorneys, and judges struggling with life’s challenges. She founded and leads two support groups in the Harrisburg area, one for divorced and separated individuals and the other for single parents.

  • Introduction to Legal Process
  • Intensive Legal Analysis
  • Legal Methods I & II
  • Legal Methods III:  Judicial Opinion Writing
  • Legal Methods III:  Advanced Appellate Advocacy
  • Legal Methods III:  Advanced Legal Analysis

Selected Publications

Articles
  • et al.,  A Technological Trifecta: Using Videos, Playlists, and Facebook in Law School Classes to Reach Today’s Students, 40 Rutgers Computer & Tech. L. J. 1 (2014).
  • Preparing for Practice from Behind the Bench: Opinion Writing as the “Heart and Soul” of the First Semester of Legal Writing, 18 Legal Writing: J. Legal Writing Inst. 263 (2012).
Other
  • Blogging: Reflection Spurs Students Forward, The Law Tchr., (Inst. For L. Sch. Teaching, Gonz. U.) Spring 2013, at 19, available at  http://lawteaching.org/lawteacher/2013spring/lawteacher2013spring.pdf.
  • Why I Teach, The Law Tchr., (Inst. For L. Sch. Teaching, Gonz. U.) Spring 2009, at 19, reprinted in  Gerry F. Hess et al., Techniques for Teaching Law II 325 (Carolina Academic Press 2011).

Education

BA, Grove City College, magna cum laude
JD, Dickinson School of Law of the Pennsylvania State University, magna cum laude

Experience

Deputy Attorney General, Civil Litigation Division, Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General
Law Clerk, Honorable Sandra Schultz Newman, Pennsylvania Supreme Court

Bar Admissions

Pennsylvania

Memberships

Association of American Law Schools
Legal Writing Institute

Presentations

May It Please the Court & Your Students: Using Animation and Speed Questioning to Prepare Students for Their First Oral Arguments, with Professor Dionne Anthon, Legal Writing Institute’s One-Day Conference on the Modern Legal Writing Classroom, Miami, FL (December 2014)

Judge for Yourself: Designing a Judicial Writing Course, with Professor Dionne Anthon, Legal Writing Institute’s Biennial Conference, Philadelphia, PA (July 2014)

Mission Impossible or Mission Accomplished? Our First Year Without the Traditional Office Memo, with Professors Dionne Anthon and Anna Hemingway, Legal Writing Institute’s One-Day Conference, Boston, MA (December 2013)

Everything Old is New Again: Student Journaling as Blogging, The Third Colonial Frontier Legal Writing Conference, Pittsburgh, PA (March 2013)

Keeping It Fresh: Using Technology in the Legal Writing Classroom to Reach Today’s Students, with Professors Dionne Anthon and Anna Hemingway, The Third Colonial Frontier Legal Writing Conference, Pittsburgh, PA (March 2013)

Preparing for Practice from Behind the Bench: Replacing the Traditional Office Memorandum with a Judicial Opinion, Legal Writing Institute’s One-Day Conference, Washington, D.C. (Nov. 2012)

Team-Based Learning, with Professors David Raeker-Jordan, Jennifer Lear, and Dionne Anthon, Legal Writing Institute’s One-Day Conference, Washington, D.C. (Nov. 2012)

Preparing for Practice from Behind the Bench: Replacing the Traditional Office Memorandum with a Judicial Opinion, Legal Writing Institute’s Biennial Conference, Desert Springs, CA (June 2012)

faculty directory a-d e-k l-p q-z