James F. Smith

James F. Smith

Position Title
Clinical Faculty Emeritus

King Hall

Before joining King Hall's faculty as a clinical adjunct professor in 1976, Professor Smith was a legal services attorney for VISTA, California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA) and Legal Services in Northern California. He is the founder and director of King Hall's Immigration Law Clinic. Since 1981, the Clinic has represented hundreds of immigrants in deportation proceedings based on criminal convictions.

Prof. Smith is a coauthor of the California State Prisoner's Handbook, a practice manual on California corrections law and of the Practice Guide for California Pleas for Noncitizens. He has directed numerous seminars on the topic of Immigration Consequences of Criminal Convictions for the California Public Defender's Association and county public defender's offices. Professor Smith frequently provides consultation to private attorneys on criminal, immigration and international commercial matters.

He has taught comparative law courses in Latin America, Asia and Europe. Professor Smith encourages students to consider the international context whatever their interests. He notes that, "a rapidly growing percentage of our gross national product is due to exports or imports and exports. Regional trading regimes (World Trade Organization, European Union and NAFTA) are of increasing importance as policy making arenas for protecting the environment and labor and human rights.

Education and Degree(s)
  • B.S. Political Science and History, Arizona State University at Tempe, 1964
  • J.D. University of California, Berkeley, 1967
Honors and Awards
  • Fulbright Scholar 1986-87 (Mexico)
  • 1991 (Uruguay) and lectures in China and India on Comparative Constitutional Law (1997)
  • Edited two volume work on Derecho Comparado: México y Estados Unidos, Comparative Constitutional Law: United States and Mexico (1990)
  • Trial Lawyer of the Year award in 1995 for Immigration Law Clinic case against the Guatemalan Minister of Defense
  • Lectures in Beijing and Shanghai on the Chinese Accession to the World Trade Organization (December 1999)
Research Interests & Expertise
  • Immigration Law And Policy
  • Criminal Law And Procedure
  • Latinos And The Law
  • International Finance, Trade, And Development
  • Comparative Constitutional Law


Practice Guide for California Pleas for Noncitizens, 2000

California State Prisoners' Handbook, 2d ed. (Prisoners' Rights Union, 1990) (co-author)

Comparing Federal Judicial Review of Administrative Court Decisions in the United States and Canada, 73 TEMP. L. REV. 503 (2000)

From Frankenfood to Fruit Flys: Navigating the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement of the World Trade Organization, 5 U.C. Davis J. Int'l L. & Policy (2000)

Treaty Making in the Next Millennium: International Agreements in the Post-Modern Era, 5 Southwest Journal of Law and Trade in the Americas 1501 (1998)

Mediating International Intellectual Property Disputes, 39 Journal of the Indian Law Institute 238 New Delhi (April-December 1997)

Mediation and the Principles of UNIDROIT, published by the Universidad Panamericana, Mexico City, (Mediation and the Principles of UNIDROIT) "Seminario sobre Contratos Internacionales: Reglas de UNIDROIT para Contratación Comercial en América del Norte," (November 1996)

A Nation that Welcomes Immigrants? An Historical Examination of United States Immigration Policy, U.C. Davis J. Int'l L. & Policy 227 (1995)

NAFTA and Human Rights: A Necessary Linkage, 27 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 793 (1994)

Recognizing Differences in the United States and Mexico in the Era of the NAFTA, Vol. 1, No. 1 U.S.-Mexico L.J., 1993 Symposium

The Dispute Settlement Mechanism of the NAFTA and Agriculture (with Marilyn Whitney), 68 N.D. L. Rev. 567 (1992); Also published by the Agriculture Issues Center at U.C. Davis: North American Free Trade Agreement: Implications for California Agriculture

United States-Mexico Agricultural Trade, 23 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 431 (1990); Reprinted in ABA conference book for the Fourth Annual Symposium on Agricultural and Agribusiness Credit

La ley de prácticas comerciales desleales estadounidense y el Acuerdo Libre Comercio entre Canadá y Estados Unidos y la Ley Omnibus de Comercio y Competitividad, Revista de la Facultad de Derecho de México, Jan.-June, Nos. 163-164-165, p. 269 (1989)

Aspectos jurídicos del GATT y del comercio exterior estadounidense, Legal Aspects of the GATT and United States Foreign Trade) in Estados Unidos, perspectiva latinoamericana, cuadernos semestrales, Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas, (CIDE) UNAM, México (pp. 109-152) (1986)

Chapter 1 (description of the Mexican legal system) (co-author) and Chapter 35 (description of the General Agreement on Tariff and Trade (GATT), (1989-90) in Doing Business in Mexico (Transnational Juris Publications, Inc., 1991) Co- translated the Mexican Constitution

Mexico, Canada and the United States Free Trade Agreement Negotiations: Agricultural Agenda and Dispute Settlement Mechanism in Legal Aspects of the Trilateral Free Trade Agreement, UNAM (1992)

Derecho Constitucional Comparado: México y Estados Unidos, Comparative Constitutional Law (Comparative Constitutional Law: Mexico and the United States), James F. Smith (coordinator), Instituto de Investigaciones Jurídicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), (1990). Chapter 3, (comparative legal history), 37 (comparative immigration law) and 40 (summary of United States immigration law and immigration policy toward Mexico). Chapter 6 (comparative history of bill of rights) and 42 (comparative labor law) (co-author)

Reformas Constitucionales en Materia Jurisdiccional en la Suprema Corte de Justicia de los Estados Unidos de América: el caso del Writs of Certiorari, Modification of the Appellate Jurisdiction of the United States Supreme Court: the Case of Writs of Certiorari)in REFORMAS CONSTITUCIONALES DE LA RENOVACIÓN NACIONAL (Leonel Pereznieto Castro, Compilador; Editorial Porrœa, México D.F., 1986)