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The Honorable Kerra A. Smith ’03

The Honorable Kerra A. Smith

County Court Judge in the First Judicial Circuit

The Honorable Kerra A. Smith was appointed to the judiciary in 2016 by Gov. Rick Scott. She is a graduate of the University of West Florida’s Legal Studies-Pre-Law program and the Florida State University College of Law. Prior to her appointment to the judiciary, Judge Smith practiced as an assistant state attorney, assistant general counsel for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Florida Board of Bar Examiners, and assistant county attorney. Judge Smith has previously assisted in writing and grading the Florida Bar Examination, been appointed as a referee over disciplinary proceedings for attorney misconduct and appointed to serve as a mentor for new judges.

What is your fondest memory from UWF?

I reflect on UWF as the place that laid the foundation that prepared me to excel in law school. The professors really took a personal interest in my academic success and the pre-law curriculum was intelligently crafted to set the stage for the next level. During my first year at FSU Law, I was ahead of the curb because of my studies at UWF.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy being able to interpret and apply the law with an open mind not focused on advocacy for a particular party or outcome.

What advice would you give to aspiring legal professionals?

I strongly encourage anyone seeking a career in the legal profession to get real life exposure to the career that they believe they would like to pursue. Talk to someone in the field, and if possible, shadow them for a day. Do not base expectations on what is portrayed in movies and seen on television. The legal field can be very competitive and challenging. Ensure there is truly an interest in the work and have an ultimate objective to achieve by pursuing a legal career.