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Introducing STCL Houston’s Spring 2024 Valedictorian Elena J. Smith

Home Law School News Introducing STCL Houston’s Spring 2024 Valedictorian Elena J. Smith

Elena J. Smith, a proud native of Midland, will be honored May 11 as valedictorian of her class when she graduates with her J.D. degree from South Texas College of Law Houston.

As a child, she dreamed of becoming a teacher, but as she entered her teen years, she developed a passion for law. “I also told people I wanted to be a princess,” she said. “But something about law drew me in, and once I knew for sure, I only dreamed about being an attorney.”

Following her passion, Smith pursued her undergraduate studies at the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in English with honors in May 2021. That achievement paved the way for her next chapter at STCL Houston.

Throughout her time in law school, Smith’s academic achievements have been stellar, including a 4.174 grade point average that earned her the top ranking in her class. She received the Hyman Slohm Scholarship and the STCL Houston Steward Scholarship, earned CALI Awards (top grades) in six courses, and made the Dean’s Honor List all six semesters of law school.

She also served as a Langdell Scholar and actively contributed to the South Texas Law Review. Smith served as a judicial intern for the 190th District Court of Harris County in the summer of 2022 and as a clerk at Wright, Close, and Barger in late summer 2023. She will soon begin full time with Hunt Law Firm, PLLC, where she has been clerking since May 2023.

In addition to her academic pursuits, Smith has maintained her passion for dance, sharing her talents with aspiring young performers. As a former competitive dancer and member of the UT dance team, Smith now channels her love for dance into teaching. “Dancing is one of my first loves, and I was very competitive about it, so now, I teach,” Smith said.

Outside academia, Smith is deeply committed to philanthropy, dedicating her efforts to combating food insecurity by volunteering at local food banks and contributing resources to those in need.

This summer, Smith is excited to begin her full-time career at a familiar place.

“Throughout my last year of law school, I clerked for Hunt Law,” she said. “They made me a full-time offer, which I have accepted, and I will start back with them after the Bar exam — which I definitely plan to pass!”

To learn more about the 2024 STCL Houston Commencement, visit: stcl.edu/commencement.

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