Student Spotlight: Mary Smith

After Mary Smith, 3L, completed her undergraduate studies at Missouri State University, receiving a bachelor’s degree in public relations, she decided to attend law school. Mizzou Law felt like the perfect place for her.

“I was born and raised in Missouri, and I knew that I wanted to practice law in Missouri,” Smith said. “Mizzou Law also felt more like a community than other law schools. I met some of my best friends in my first year, and I am so glad that I picked it.”

Before joining the Veterans Clinic as a student advocate, Smith worked at the Missouri State Public Defender’s office as a criminal law intern, was a teaching assistant for an Mizzou Law class on Legal Research & Writing and acted as a remote law clerk for a personal injury firm in Columbia.

Smith enrolled in the Veterans Clinic based on recommendations from several classmates and wanted to put her appreciation for those who have served into action.

“I knew that the clinic would provide an opportunity to give back while also gaining invaluable experience under the supervision of a licensed attorney.”

Smith joined the clinic during the summer semester between her 2L and 3L years, where she worked on a variety of projects, such as a discharge upgrade case, higher-level reviews, and a supplemental claim.

Smith cited working with Clinic Director Brent Filbert to complete a supplemental claim for a Veterans Clinic client as her most memorable experience of her semester with the clinic.

“Working alongside experts to develop the strongest legal argument was unlike anything a traditional law class could offer,” Smith stated. “It’s one thing to read about legal issues in a casebook, but it’s another to work directly with a client and witness firsthand the impact legal advocacy has on them.”

Smith noted that her time with the Veterans Clinic did more than just teach her about veterans law, but it also, “Changed my outlook on the practice of law. The clinic taught me that a client is more than a person with a legal issue. Clients are human beings with stories to tell, and the stories of veterans deserve to be told.”

Now, in her final year at MU Law, Smith still works with Professor Filbert as a TA for his Law of War class and is a law clerk for Appleby Healy in Springfield, Missouri.