October 07, 2021

Screenshot of presentation

Vania Smith '20 was recently invited to guest lecture for the University of Calgary School of Law on the topic of Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility. Calgary School of Law Faculty Member and Professor of Law Gideon Christian, Ph.D., read Ms. Smith’s comment in Vol. 69 of the Catholic University Law Review, entitled “Wrongful Incarceration Causes Substantial Bodily Harm: Why Lawyers Should Be Allowed to Breach Confidentiality To Help Exonerate The Innocent,” and remarked that it was “the best piece of scholarship he's read all year.” In the article, Ms. Smith argues that Rule 1.6 of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct already includes an exception allowing lawyers to breach confidentiality when they are in possession of otherwise privileged information that could exonerate another. This argument is based on the idea that incarceration in general, and wrongful incarceration in particular, results in substantial bodily harm as defined by the existing rule. Professor Christian assigned the article as required reading for his class, and the students were prepared to ask questions based on their reading at the end of the Ms. Smith’s lecture. Ms. Smith has a scholarly interest in legal ethics and professional responsibility and is already working on her next publication in this subject area.

Ms. Smith is a graduate of Catholic Law and admitted to practice in the District of Columbia. She won the National Trial Competition with teammate Jennifer Brooker ’20 in 2019, and is currently a coach with Catholic Law’s National Mock Trial Team.