Brad Smith ’84 and Kathy Surace-Smith ’84 Endow Human Rights Clinic at Columbia Law School

The $5 million gift will enable the newly named Smith Family Human Rights Clinic to expand its work around the world.

“Law school is where you learn to think like a lawyer,” Brad Smith ’84, president and vice chair of Microsoft, said at a 2015 conference celebrating Columbia Law School clinics. “But it’s clinical education that really teaches you to act like a lawyer.”

Smith and his wife, Kathy Surace-Smith ’84, understand that firsthand. As students at Columbia Law, they participated in a clinic representing low-income clients facing deportation. The experience had a lasting impact on their lives, their careers, and their perspectives on the law. Now, the Smiths have reinforced their commitment to clinical education with a $5 million gift to endow the Human Rights Clinic, which will be named in their honor.

This is the second significant gift the Smiths have made in support of the Human Rights Clinic. Following their $1.25 million commitment in 2017, they had the opportunity to meet with clinic students and faculty and learn more about their work, needs, and aspirations. Those conversations moved the Smiths to do more.

“The enthusiasm of the students, the excitement in their voices, the passion they had—we felt this was a really important contribution we could make,” says Surace-Smith, senior vice president for human resources and legal affairs at biotechnology company NanoString.

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