March 4, 2016 - University of Houston Law Center alumnus Richard Craig Smith discussed health laws and their impact on professional football players recently as part of the Health Law & Policy Institute’s 2016 Spring Speaker Series.
Smith LL.M. ’00, a partner in Norton Rose Fulbright’s Washington, D.C., office, represented the National Football League Players Association in several high-profile cases, including the domestic violence charges against former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, the Miami Dolphins bullying scandal, and the New Orleans Saints ‘Bountygate’ controversy.
He discussed a wide range of topics where health law and the NFL intersect, including concussions, drug testing and the use of performance-enhancing drugs, and the privacy rights of players.
“Players’ rights should be protected,” Smith said. “NFL players are employees like anyone else, but because of the nature of their employment they’re sometimes treated differently.”
“Hearing from Richard Smith gave students the opportunity to see the connection between health law and sports law,” said Associate Professor Jessica Roberts, director of the Law Center’s Health Law & Policy Institute. “Richard's LL.M. in Health Law from UHLC has been an indispensable tool when he has represented players and the NFLPA."
Smith’s practice includes complex litigation, white collar criminal defense, transactional and third party due diligence, risk assessment, creation and review of anti-corruption policies and procedures, and U.S.-centric and transnational corporate internal investigations for public and private companies.
Smith earned a J.D. from the University of Florida College of Law in 1987. He graduated with an LL.M. in Health Law from the University of Houston Law Center in 2000. He is also on the advisory board for the Law Center’s Health Law & Policy Institute.
“By obtaining an LL.M. from the Law Center in Health Law, it opened unbelievable doors for my career,” Smith said. “I can do things today that I otherwise wouldn’t be doing as a lawyer. You can take your LL.M. and do almost anything. If you want to see the world, get an LL.M.”