L. Ash Smith

L. Ash Smith

Doctoral Student in Sociology
Ash Smith

Research Interests: Sociology of Law; Crime and Punishment; Inequality and Stratification; Urban Poverty

Ash Smith is a doctoral student in Sociology and a J.D. candidate at Harvard Law School. Originally from New Haven, Ash attended the University of Notre Dame, majoring in Sociology, with minors in Public Service and Poverty Studies. While an undergraduate, Ash worked at a public defender’s office in Appalachian Kentucky; Indiana Legal Services in South Bend, IN; and the American Bar Association in Washington, D.C. Her independent capstone work examined the efficacy of specialty mental health courts in the U.S. legal system; and she co-authored a publication exploring the criminalization of poverty in rural America.

Ash began her studies at Harvard Law School in 2017. In the J.D./Ph.D. program, Ash has worked with civil legal aid organizations, the Suffolk County (Boston) District Attorney's Office, and the Shriver Center on Poverty Law in Chicago. Her doctoral work examines inequalities under law and contemporary efforts in criminal justice reform. Currently, she is examining the question of "progressive prosecution" via qualitative analysis of practitioner interviews. Ash aspires to use her legal practitioner-based scholarship to better inform and contextualize her own work, as a hopeful future litigator.

Previous Degrees:
B.A. in Sociology, University of Notre Dame (summa cum laude, 2017)
J.D., Harvard Law School (expected 2022) 


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460 William James Hall
p: 203-980-2293

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