Gordon Smith, dean of the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University, once said: “I want BYU to be known as, if not the most innovative law school in the country, then one of the most innovative law schools in the country.”

Since becoming dean in 2016, Smith has worked tirelessly to make that happen, launching the nationally recognized LawX legal design lab, developing courses to teach non-traditional skills such as leadership, storytelling, and business ethics, launching clinical programs around unique skills such as entrepreneurship and conflict resolution; and spearheading development of the Law and Corpus Linguistics project.

On this episode of LawNext, Smith sits down in his Provo, Utah, office with me for a conversation about what it means for a law school to innovate and why it matters to the students, the school and the community at large. Smith also talks about BYU Law’s initiatives to expand its influence on a global sphere.

Smith has taught at six law schools in the U.S., as well as law programs in Australia, China, England, Finland, France, Germany, and Hong Kong. Earlier in his career, he was associate director of the Initiative for Studies in Technology Entrepreneurship at the University of Wisconsin, where he launched the annual Law & Entrepreneurship Retreat.

More recently, he co-founded the Law & Entrepreneurship Association, a scholarly society that encourages the study of law and entrepreneurship. He is also one of the founding faculty members of the Crocker Innovation Fellowship at BYU.

In 2004, Smith co-founded (with Christine Hurt, also of BYU Law School) The Conglomerate Blog, a popular law professor blog focusing on business law.


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Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.