Graduation Spotlight: Liam Smith

Liam Smith, ’22, is passionate about international law, human rights, and international development. After serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Madagascar he did internships in Ghana and Uganda prior to making the decision to attend law school.  “I wanted to pursue a dual degree and was attracted to the joint juris doctorate and masters of public administration program at BYU because of the emphasis on service and giving back.”

The extra year of schooling it took Smith to finish the required courses for the joint degree was well worth it. “During that extra year I had time for unique experiences which gave me a well-rounded perspective and valuable connections,” Smith says. Legal internships with the US Department of State and United States Agency of International Development (USAID) were especially meaningful. “Switching back and forth between law school and public administration classes was a great balance. Each helped me recharge for the other.” 

After graduation, Smith will work for the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) as part of the Department of Justice Honors Program. Specifically, he will clerk for Justice Karen Y. Hope on the newly created United States immigration court in Sterling, Virginia. “It’s a fairly unique experience to be working so closely for a new court and with a judge that was just appointed,” he says. “The work done by EOIR closely aligns with my personal interests. I’ll be intimately involved in helping people with asylum and immigration issues in areas of the world that I’ve lived and worked in. My biggest concern with my career has always been the impact it will have on my family, my community, and the world. With a JD/MPA, I’m set to hit the ground running in public service.”


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