The Board of Trustees of The Center for American and International Law (CAIL) has named Mark P. Smith as its new President, effective immediately. Smith, who has held a variety of leadership roles at CAIL for the past 30 years, has most recently served as the organization’s Interim President.
“I am delighted that Mark will serve as CAIL’s president. We are very fortunate that we will have Mark at the helm as we look forward to our 75th anniversary. He cares deeply about CAIL’s mission to advance the administration of justice and the rule of law,” said Harriet E. Miers, Chair of the CAIL Board of Trustees.
“Through Mark’s leadership and contributions to CAIL over many years, he has helped enable the organization to grow and impact the knowledge of lawyers and law enforcement leaders across the United States and even around the world. His performance has demonstrated his devotion to the values of our organization—integrity, excellence, diversity and innovation,” said Miers.
Smith grew up in West Virginia. He is a 1978 graduate of Yale Law School. He received his undergraduate A. B. degree at Princeton University and did graduate work in Comparative Public Administration at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
In his professional career, Smith worked as a research counsel and assistant to the executive director of the American Bar Association, and then served as Executive Director of the West Virginia State Bar from 1979 to 1988. Smith joined CAIL in 1989 and has held several roles, including vice president. He was named Interim President of CAIL in 2018.
“Mark is an outstanding, caring and skillful leader. He is very humble in spite of his great talents and distinguished background. We have been very fortunate to have him at CAIL, and now it will be a blessing to have him leading the organization, which plays a vital role in so many areas,” said Judge Patrick E. Higginbotham, a judge on the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and a member of the CAIL Board of Trustees who served for 12 years as Board Chair.
Through its five institutes and special programs, CAIL provides training, knowledge and new perspectives to help members of the legal and law enforcement community. In 2018, CAIL programs served more than 5,800 people from 42 U.S. states and 52 countries.
While his leadership has impacted all parts of CAIL, Smith is especially known by lawyers throughout the world as the dean of CAIL’s Academy of American and International Law, an annual five-week program that teaches early-career lawyers from other countries about the American justice system and international business law.
Barry Sorrels, a criminal defense lawyer, former President of the Dallas Bar Association and member of CAIL’s Board of Trustees, has worked with Smith on many of CAIL’s criminal law programs.
“Mark understands the importance of teaching and learning. He cares about providing the faculty and students in every program with all the tools they need to learn, grow and improve. He is brilliant, hard-working, and a gentleman who has a gift for lifting up everyone around him. This is a very well-deserved honor for Mark, and I am thrilled that he has been selected as CAIL’s President,” said Sorrels.