DeMaurice Smith '89 to Deliver UVA Law Commencement Address

DeMaurice Smith

DeMaurice Smith '89, who has been named one of the top 10 most influential executives in sports by Sports Business Journal, leads the union responsible for protecting the interests of the players of the National Football League.

October 10, 2014

DeMaurice Smith '89, executive director of the National Football League Players Association, will deliver the commencement address at the University of Virginia School of Law on May 17, 2015.

The Law School's commencement ceremony will begin on the Law School grounds at 1:15 p.m., following the University's Lawn ceremony.

Smith, who has been named one of the top 10 most influential executives in sports by Sports Business Journal, leads the union responsible for protecting the interests of the players of the National Football League. He was twice unanimously elected as executive director of the NFLPA by a board of active player representatives.

In that role, he successfully negotiated a historic 10-year collective bargaining agreement in 2011 with the league and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, following a 132-day lockout.

Smith is a former assistant U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C., and was counsel to then-Deputy Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. After his government service ended, Smith turned to private practice and worked as a partner in the law firms Latham & Watkins and Patton Boggs, both in Washington, where he represented corporations, boards of directors and senior executives in civil and criminal matters.

Among his awards are the John H. Evans Award, the U.S. Attorney's Office highest honor for courtroom advocacy, and the Attorney General's Award, the Department of Justice's highest honor. He was recognized as one of the best trial lawyers in America when he was inducted into the American Trial Lawyers Association and was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award by the Bar Association of the District of Columbia.

Smith serves on the Board of Directors for ULLICO (the Union Labor Life Insurance Company), the board of directors for the Congressional Award, the board of advisors for the Office for Access and Advancement for Public Black Universities, and as an advisory board member of The Power of Diversity Mentorship Exchange Program. Smith also chairs the annual Georgetown University Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center Gala.

Smith is on the faculty of the National Trial Advocacy College in Charlottesville, Virginia, and is an executive in residence at the UVA Darden School of Business. He has lectured at Georgetown University, Columbia University, Harvard University, George Washington University and UVA Law.

He earned his undergraduate degree from Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio.

Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

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