Darlene H. Smith

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Partner, Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky & Popeo
Washington, D.C. Age: 35

Darlene H. Smith is a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of one of the nation’s leading law firms, Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky & Popeo. Specializing in equal opportunity issues and other federal and state labor and employment matters, she scrutinizes the labor and employment practices and policies of her corporate clients to ensure compliance with federal and state labor laws. She also designs employment audits.

So far, Smith has enjoyed a stellar legal career. Prior to joining Mintz Levin, she was managing principal at Smith & Associates, her own firm. She also served as a judicial law clerk to the Hon. Annice M. Wagner, chief judge of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, the first African-American woman to hold that post.

Smith has received numerous honors and accolades from her peers. She has worked with U.S. Reps. Maxine Waters and Cynthia McKinney and, in 2000, was chosen as a U.S. delegate to the South African Labor Council. She speaks frequently on employment and labor issues and has published numerous articles on those subjects.

Smith has bachelor degrees in American government and philosophy from the University of Virginia, a certificate in European economics from Richmond College in England, a law degree from Syracuse University and a master’s degree in public administration, also from Syracuse.

Smith remains very involved in community service through her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha. She tutors and mentors teenage girls, often speaks to high school and college students about the law, and gives time to Women Works. She also is involved with the Syracuse University College of Law External Recruitment Committee. Perhaps influenced by her two daughters, she dreams of establishing “a center for young girls…that would provide age-appropriate services and activities.”

While she attributes much of her achievement to the support and encouragement of her parents and husband, she acknowledges that success “comes through [one’s own] hard work, determination and perseverance.”