Jeffrey Smith was born in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1953. He graduated from Longmeadow High School in Longmeadow, Massachusetts. After graduating Jeffrey Smith attended Tulane University on a tennis scholarship from 1971-1975. Mr. Smith then played on the tennis tour from 1975-1976. Jeffrey Smith attended Cumberland Law School in Birmingham, Alabama from 1977-1980. He was admitted to the Louisiana Bar Association in October of 1980.
Mr. Smith has had a private criminal law practice since 1980. From 1981-2006 he worked for the Orleans Indigent Defender Program and eventually specialized in Death Penalty Defense. After Katrina, in addition to his full-time Criminal Defense practice, he worked part-time for the Capital Defense Project of Southeast Louisiana until 2015. He presently is in private practice doing exclusively Criminal Defense work.
He is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He is also the Vice President of the Anshe Sfard Synagogue of New Orleans.
He lives in New Orleans with his wife Birgitt, and they have three children—Melina, Zachary and Gavriella. Birgitt is a jewelry designer and self-made contractor.Melina teaches Fourth grade Special Education in Massachusetts. She is currently working on her Masters Degree in Special Education in Boston. Zachary and Gavriella attend the Lusher School in New Orleans and are both nationally ranked tennis players.
Although it has been 40 years since playing on the tour, Jeffrey Smith still plays tennis both nationally and internationally on the Senior Tennis Circuit. When not in a Court of Law he spends his spare time playing and coaching Gavriella and Zachary. Jeffrey has been a member of the USPTA (tennis teaching professional) since 1977.
My philosophy: In a perfect world for defense lawyers it's all about acquittals and cases being dismissed. The reality is that you live and die by the facts and pleading guilty, and dealing with sentences and possible jail time is an integral part of a criminal defense practice.
I am a big believer that mental health and family dynamics should be a major consideration in the sentencing. The breakdown of the family in New Orleans is a major force in young people going down the wrong path. Locking people up often exacerbates the family deterioration. Often putting someone in jail serves only to ensure the next generation of young men and women being put behind bars.