William “Trey” Smith III is first Antigua and Barbuda citizen to be part of legal team appearing before the US Supreme Court

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

REAL NEWS: A citizen of Antigua and Barbuda, William “Trey” Smith III, of Cedar Valley, has made history as the first Antigua and Barbuda citizen to participate in a case before the Supreme Court of the United States.

Smith, 28, was part of a pro bono team of lawyers from the leading national firm Troutman Pepper, who represented James Rudisill, a decorated US Army veteran who had served three times between 2000 and 2011.

Oral arguments in the case, Rudisill v. McDonough, were heard on November 8.

Rudisill has claimed entitlement to educational benefits under twoseparate veterans’ programmes.

However, the Department of Veterans Affairs – the federal agencythat administers veterans’ benefits – took the position that theapplicable statutes require Rudisill to forfeit a significant portion ofhis benefits.

More than a million veterans like Rudisill are affected by theDepartment’s position, and billions of dollars’ worth of educationbenefits are at stake.

Reportedly, the Court – the highest in the United States – appearedready to side with Rudisill, with Chief Justice Roberts referring tothe government’s position as a “raw deal” for veterans.

Smith, who was called to the Virginia bar last year, became involvedwith the case during his first weeks practicing law.

“I got involved … last year, when the case was before the Court ofAppeals for the Federal Circuit,” Smith says. “My mentor, TimMcHugh, asked me if I wanted to help him prepare for arguments inan upcoming case. I had no idea we would end up before theSupreme Court a year later!” he adds.

Smith tells the media “it was surreal and humbling to sit before thejustices and watch them interact with our arguments.” He adds thathe is “incredibly blessed to learn from [his] talented, hard-workingcolleagues” who led the litigation effort on Rudisill’s behalf.

“My favourite part of this case was getting to know Mr. Rudisill, whois not only entitled to his benefits under law, but is also incrediblydeserving of them,” the young attorney says.

In the meantime, he hopes the Supreme Court will issue a decisionin the coming months.

Smith is the son of William Smith and Marie-Elena John, who,herself, made history in 1986 by being the first black femalevaledictorian of City College in the City University of New Yorksystem.

Young Smith graduated from the University of Virginia with aBachelor’s degree in politics in 2018, and from Washington and LeeSchool of Law in 2021. He now practices regulatory law atTroutman Pepper.

In his earlier years he was a student of the St. Andrews PrimarySchool, St. Joseph’s Academy, and Island Academy.

He represented Antigua as a swimmer at the Commonwealth YouthGames and then captained the swim team at Connecticut’s KentSchool – where he completed high school – to a regionalchampionship during his senior year.

REAL News congratulates Smith and his family on his achievement.

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