Alumna and sessional instructor remembered by legal community

Phyllis A. Smith, KC, leaves a lasting mark with her extensive career as a legal practitioner, leader and valued educator

Lauren Bannon - 27 March 2024

Phyllis A. Smith, KC, an esteemed alumna and sessional instructor of the University of Alberta Faculty of Law, is being remembered for her impact on Alberta’s legal community.

Smith passed away in March 2024.

She graduated from the Faculty of Law with an LLB in 1974 and was called to the bar in 1975.

Her career primarily focused on civil litigation and administrative law. Overseeing complex cases for major institutional and corporate clients, she served as an arbitrator and mediator for over 20 years, managing numerous commercial and labor disputes.

From 1981 to 1991, she served as a bencher for the Law Society of Alberta before being appointed as president of the society in 1991, making history as the first woman to serve in that role.

She was a director of the Federation of Law Societies from 1991-1996 and served as its president in 1995. She was also a member of the Advisory Board of the Canadian Lawyers Insurance Association from 1989 to 2012 and was its chair from 2000 to 2006.

In addition to her accomplished career, Smith shared her expertise with students at the U of A as a valued sessional instructor from 1977-1988 and 1993-2006. In this role, she taught on the subjects of local government law, professional responsibility and advocacy.

She also received numerous awards and accolades throughout her career, including the Law Society of Alberta Distinguished Service Award, the Edmonton Bar Association Distinguished Service Award and a Women in Leadership Law award.