Laura R. Smith is a Staff Attorney in the Homeownership and Consumer Rights Unit who joined Community Legal Services in 2019 as an Independence Foundation Fellow. She works for economic justice for low-income Philadelphians by defending against abusive collections practices, preserving income and inter-generational financial stability, and improving access and due process in Municipal Court.
Prior to joining CLS, Laura served as a law clerk to the Honorable Gerald A. McHugh of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and to the Honorable Lisa M. Rau of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia. During law school, she was active in direct service clinics focusing on consumer justice, public benefits, and access to justice for immigrants in detention. She began her legal career as a paralegal in 2010, working at CLS and later at Philadelphia Legal Assistance, CLS’s sister organization. She has also worked in policy and direct service roles with immigrant communities in Pittsburgh. Laura graduated from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law and received her BA from the University of Pittsburgh.