PORTLAND — A professor at the University of Maine School of Law is being honored for her advocacy work.

Deirdre Smith is the recipient of the Advocate for Justice award, Chief Justice Leigh Saufley of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court announced today.

Smith is also director of the Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic and serves on the court’s Advisory Committee on the Rules of Evidence.

Saufley praised Smith for expanding the law school’s clinical education program, expanding the program to provide assistance to juveniles and helping students become professional and articulate advocates.

“She has distinguished herself as both a distinguished academic and an accomplished practitioner,” Saufley said in a statement.

The chief justice of the state’s highest court also announced that Allen Ross of Dexter won the Judicial Branch Special Service award. The recognition goes to someone who consistently contributes above and beyond expected responsibilities to further the mission of the judicial branch.

A mediator since 1998, Ross helped to initiate mediation for grandparents involved in child custody issues. He has also volunteered and served on the board of Womancare, an organization for domestic abuse victims.

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