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The Chesterfield Smith Collection contains papers relating to Chesterfield Smith's career as executive partner and principal architect of the law firm Holland & Knight, his tenure as President of the American Bar Association, and his involvement and influence in local, state, and national politics and law. Smith combined a very successful private practice of law with a remarkable career working in the public interest. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a close friend of Smith, said about him, "He has devoted his extraordinary talent and enormous energy to the improvement of the legal profession - to making the profession more honorable, more responsive to the people law and lawyers serve. He is, in sum, among the brightest, boldest, bravest, all-around most effective lawyers ever bred in Florida and the U.S.A." His longtime friend Sandy D'Alemberte said above all Smith was forthright: "Whether he was with you or against you, it was always candid. When he believed something, he wasn't frightened to say it. A lot of his close friends were really conservative. But he was very outspoken and didn't trim his sails around people he knew didn't agree with him. He didn't have a sneaky bone in him. He would tell you what he was going to do. He would tell you what he thought you ought to do." In 1975, Time named Smith among 35 "non-candidates truly qualified to be president of the United States." Smith had very high standards, for himself and his lawyers, and believed that it is the obligation of lawyers to serve the public will.
A Guide to the Chesterfield Smith Papers is available here.