Bowdoin College, Judgeship, Legal career
Richard W. “Rick” Smith was born on July 5, 1947, in Dorchester, Massachusetts, to Jacob and Sara (Levine) Smith. He grew up in Bath, Maine, and attended high school at the Tilton School in Tilton, New Hampshire. In 1969, he received a B.A. in government and legal studies from Bowdoin College. He spent six years in the National Guard in Bath and earned a law degree from Boston University. He volunteered in the Cumberland County (Me.) district attorney’s office during Joe Brennan’s tenure, where he met George Mitchell, who was then a part-time prosecutor. At the time of this interview, he practiced law at Bernstein Shur in Portland, Maine.
Interview includes discussion of: family background and education; Bowdoin College; National Guard; Boston University Law School; Joe Brennan and getting a job in the District Attorney’s Office by taking the position without pay; attending the Verrill Dana barbeques and getting into political debates about the Vietnam War; discussing the constitutional rights of the people they were prosecuting in the county office; Mitchell’s skill as a lawyer; an anecdote about how Mitchell prepared for cases; an anecdote about Smith’s bringing a lobster trap into the court as evidence; the gubernatorial primary pitting Mitchell against Brennan, and how people in the prosecutor’s office had to choose between them; the Educational Equalization Act and Smith’s experience representing Maine towns for fair taxation; and Mitchell’s decision to leave the lifetime judgeship.
This recording and transcription are © 2011 Bowdoin College and are presented for private study, scholarship, or research only. For all other uses, including publication, reproduction, and quotation beyond “fair use” (Title 17, United States Code) permission must be obtained in writing from the George J. Mitchell Dept. of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, 3000 College Station, Brunswick, Maine 04011-8421, USA.