Smith Named Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and 2022 Blackwell Award Winner for Outstanding Achievement in Legal Writing

October 12, 2021
Craig Smith
Craig T. Smith joined the Carolina Law faculty in 2010.

In July 2021, the UNC School of Law named Craig T. Smith, a clinical professor of law and assistant dean for the Writing and Learning Resource Center (WLRC) at, to serve also as associate dean for academic affairs.

In his new role, Smith is responsible for oversight and assessment of the academic curriculum at Carolina Law. The role requires him to work closely with the dean, other administrators, faculty and the student development office.

“I’m honored to serve in this challenging role,” says Smith. “My experience working with prior associate deans, students, and faculty colleagues has helped me gain perspectives that are especially valuable as I work with others to steer Carolina Law in positive directions and ensure that our students are well prepared to join the legal profession.”

Under Smith’s leadership, the Research, Reasoning , Writing and Advocacy (RRWA) program, now in its tenth year as a full-year, six-credit program, ranks No. 9 in legal writing in the U.S. News & World Report’s 2022 edition of “America’s Best Graduate Schools.”

Recently, Smith also was named winner of the 2022 Thomas F. Blackwell Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Legal Writing presented by the Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD) and the Legal Writing Institute (LWI).

The Thomas F. Blackwell Award is presented annually to a person who has made an outstanding contribution to improve the field of legal writing by demonstrating (1) an ability to nurture and motivate students to excellence; (2) a willingness to help other legal writing educators improve their teaching skills or their legal writing programs; and (3) an ability to create and integrate new ideas for teaching and motivating legal writing educators and students. 

Smith is a past president of ALWD, a longtime member of LWI, and a tireless advocate for improved status of legal research and writing professionals, including recent work with ALWD’s Leadership Academy and past work as a liaison to the ABA Section on Legal Education & Admissions to the Bar.

“Craig is so deserving of this award. Craig was the first expert in legal writing pedagogy that I met when I left practice for teaching,” says Rachel Gurvich, clinical associate professor at Carolina Law. “Not only did he spend hours talking me through teaching techniques, strategies for classroom management, and grading, but he also set a tone of professional generosity and mentorship for the whole department.”

Smith will be presented the Blackwell Award at the annual January meeting of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS).