Meet and sex
She was on a scientific track in college at the University of Michigan until she got in a car accident and her passenger, a friend, sued.Once she was thrown in to the legal process, "I was fascinated.Burdick said a lot of attorneys don't like spending time in jail with their clients, but Smith is there all the time.
And she's not afraid to get out of the office to better help the people she's representing.
And I realized that I just loved the legal profession," Smith said.
She graduated from Michigan State University College of Law and started in family law, and handled divorces until she got a fax about a client leaving urine on a toilet seat and realized she wanted out.
Michigan attorney Shannon Smith only defends people accused of Michigan's most serious sex crimes. "I like the stakes being high," Smith said in a September interview at her office in Bloomfield Hills, surrounded by pictures of her husband and four children.
She turns away 90-95 percent of people who seek her help, and typically only takes on cases where the charges come with a sentence of life in prison. Larry Nassar, the ex-Michigan State University doctor facing charges related to his alleged sexual assault of nine young women; Josh King, the ex-MSU football player facing sexual assault charges stemming from a Jan. Jumana Nagarwala, the Detroit-area doctor accused of female genital mutilation.
And I've learned that it's almost a gift when people give me a hard time, because I know what they're thinking and I know what my jurors will think," Smith said. Cases can "take over my brain," she said, and she's not great at compartmentalizing.