Former chief deputy clerk receives Judiciary Leadership Award

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Elizabeth “Libby” Smith, clerk of court for the District of Idaho, has been named a recipient of the Director’s Award for Outstanding Leadership, the highest honor for judicial branch employees. The award was announced last week by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.

Smith manages a consolidated clerk’s office that provides administrative services to both the U.S. District Court and U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Idaho. She assumed the post in 2009.

In announcing the award, the Administrative Office credited Smith with innovative changes that improved court efficiency and cut costs. She also was recognized for her office’s support in the last year of 20 visiting judges, who have helped the District of Idaho cope with a shortage of judges, and for her contributions at the national level as the chair of the District Clerks Advisory Group.

“This is a very significant honor and recognizes the outstanding contributions which Libby has made to the federal court system,” Chief District Judge B. Lynn Winmill said in an email message to District of Idaho staff. “To my knowledge, it is the first time it has been given to someone from Idaho.”

In addition to her contributions at the national level, Smith has been active in judicial governance at the regional level. She has served as the co-chair of the Ninth Circuit’s Conferences of Chief District Judges and Chief Bankruptcy Judges, and as an observer member of the Judicial Council of the Ninth Circuit, the governing body for federal courts in the western states and Pacific Island territories.

Prior to coming to the District of Idaho, Smith worked for three years as the chief deputy clerk for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. She had worked previously in the Michigan Sixth Judicial Circuit Court as a judicial assistant, jury administrator, program analyst and deputy court administrator. She currently has more than 22 years of administrative experience in federal and state courts.

“As far as I’m concerned, everyone with whom I’ve ever made a connection shares in this award. Without those relationships and connections I would never have become the person and leader I am today,” Smith said in an email.

A native of Lansing, Michigan, Smith attended Walsh College, where she earned an M.S. in business information technology and B.S. in business administration. She and her husband, Ron, an employee of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, live in Boise and have two grown children.

Smith was one of three court administrators to receive a Director’s Award for Outstanding Leadership. Also honored were Teresa “Terry” Deppner, clerk of court for the Southern District of West Virginia, and Phillip “Phil” Messer, deputy chief probation officer for the District of Kansas.