From Casinos to Coach, Smith '14 Prepares for a Career in Law

12/9/2013 | Facebook | Twitter | Email

Di Smith '14 credits Professor Chung as a strong influence on her legal education.

“I have taken every class that she teaches,” said Smith. “Professor Chung is my personal role model because she unapologetically pushes me to become a diligent and competent lawyer. She also reminds me to be a humble and good person.”

While at Albany Law, Smith has worked at Coach in New York City, as well as with Whiteman Osterman and Hanna LLP and Nixon Peabody, rotating through each department in the Rochester-based firm.

“At Coach, my department specialized in intellectual property law issues,” she said. “The best part about working at Coach, besides the employee discount, was cross training with different departments and attending seminars on craftsmanship, human resources, and marketing taught by the company executives.”

Smith is a member of Albany Law Review and the Jerome Prince Moot Court travel team. She is also the teaching assistant for Professor Chung's Contracts class, and next semester she will also be Professor Louis's teaching assistant for Legal Methods.

Born in ChongQing, China, and fluent in two Chinese dialects, Smith was raised in Howard County, Maryland. She earned her undergraduate degree in business administration at University of Maryland College Park and her master’s degree in hotel administration specializing in casino operations at University of Nevada Las Vegas.

While in Las Vegas, Smith worked in several casinos, including Caesar’s Palace.

“I came to law school because I didn't understand a lot of the regulations as a business person and the lawyers didn't always explain the concepts so people like me could understand,” said Smith. “I wanted to make the law more accessible to everyday people, especially the hospitality employees who didn't pursue higher education.”

Ultimately, Smith hopes to leverage her background in casino operations and business law to influence the development of gaming policy in New York state.

Outside of law school, Smith is busy raising her one-year-old daughter, Elle, with the help of her family.

“I was pregnant with Elle during the second semester of my 1L year, and she was born during the first semester of my 2L year,” said Smith. “The first bedtime story that I read to her was the Omnicare v. NCS Healthcare case from Professor Chung's Business Organizations class. We enjoyed that reading much better than The Velveteen Rabbit.”