Meet Branden Smith, Assoc. Director of Diversity & Inclusion
Branden Smith, Associate Director of Diversity & Inclusion, has moved in and out of government positions since his graduation from the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law in 2004. He has practiced civil litigation, administrative law, and acted as in-house counsel to several bodies and political groups. Prior to coming to Capital University Law School, Branden also acted as the Reading and Message Clerk for the Ohio House of Representatives, and was the Executive Director of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus. He also has lived downtown since 2008, and spends his time cooking and frequenting new and interesting area restaurants.
What is your Role at the Law School?
I’ve got a number of things on my plate at any given time. Through my office, I work with students directly in academic counseling to help them plan their law school careers. I also spend a great deal of time promoting programming and policies that are meant to help admit and integrate students from diverse backgrounds into the CapLaw community. I also work with a number of our administrative committees within Capital University Law School and Capital University as a whole, such as our admissions committee, our scholarship committee, and the committee that is writing our campus-wide Strategic Diversity & Inclusion Plan. I also work directly with the Columbus Bar Association on a number of matters, including a major yearly program that places minority students in clerkships.
What is your favorite aspect of your job?
I crave a little variety, and this job helps satisfy it. I regularly move from meeting with students about life and personal problems to writing administrative procedures to event planning and participating in academic symposia, frequently all in the same day.
Where did you attend law school?
The Ohio State University Mortiz College of Law
Advice for Law Students
1 – Everyone should treat law school like a job, and doubly so for 1Ls. Success for many students will depend on their ability to schedule and their ability to say “no” to other things going on in their lives.
2 – Be polite, be professional, and remember to treat the support staff well – throughout life in general. The secretary you make profoundly unhappy will be sure to make your life miserable in subtly passive-aggressive ways.
3 – Study hard, and study efficiently, but don’t forget to do the things you need to do to unwind (within reason).
What is the most common mistake first year students make?
When you first get to law school, many students don’t exactly know how to study. There is a process of figuring out the best ways you can learn and retain voluminous information, and then apply it. In your first year, you should keep up with your reading, briefing cases, building an outline as you go, and making sure you understand how the material applies in a literal sense. This is hard work and time consuming, but as you go, you figure out how to be more efficient and do more work in the same amount of time. You’ll become more efficient, and with time, your grades will show it.
What is your favorite book?
Ivan’s War by Catherine Merridale has been a favorite recent read. It’s a great historical book about the experience of the average Red Army conscript soldier in the Red Army from 1939 through 1945. The author does a great job of putting the reader in the shoes of the average serviceman from that time, many of whom were conscripts from villages that didn’t have electricity, running water, cars, or really anything resembling modernity. Many of them hadn’t seen anything more advanced than a steam locomotive, and their introduction to the modern world was a week’s worth of training and a few Marxist indoctrination classes before being given a rifle or a tank and pointed towards the front lines.
What is your favorite movie?
Lately, I’ve been trying to look outside of the usual Hollywood cinema. You can find some gems in Asian cinema, particularly in action genre lately.
What is your favorite “undiscovered gem” in Columbus or nearby?
There is a list. Columbus has plenty of hidden gems, and perhaps one of the best is Bono Pizza in Upper Arlington.