Equipped to Lead and Succeed

Using Tech and Law to Disrupt for the Better

by Ginny Rider

While the public conversation about the future of technology grows increasingly anxious, Jada Smith is actively optimistic. The third-year University of San Francisco Law student says she wants to “debunk the idea that Web3 is just about making money, and show that it is a way to improve the quality of life for every single person.”

Throughout her time in law school, Smith has immersed herself in tech and corporate law, initially as a legal intern for Transcend, a Series A startup. There, she contributed to the development of an AI Privacy GPT Chatbot. She’s also worked as a consultant for the Blockchain Advocacy Coalition where she supported efforts to create a blockchain legislative database and draft a whitepaper that will be published later this year. At digital infrastructure company Equinix, she dove deep into data privacy from a global perspective– running a gap analysis for the privacy standards of countries around the world. Her goal, Smith says, “is to help shape a more equitable and just world and also pave the way for future technologies.”

On campus, Smith’s passion for her goals  is infectious. She has brought innovative thought leaders to the law school and continuously looks for ways to grow student engagement with blockchain and A.I. As Student Bar Association President, Smith lives by her mother’s instruction to “treat people better than you found them.” She disrupted the status quo from the start, running for SBA president as a part of a collective. Instead of running for individual roles, together with Vice President Akayla Sellers, Secretary Cameron Freeman, ABA Representative Kad Smith and Treasurer Gurinder “Rin” Jassar, Smith formed a coalition. They named themselves “The Golden Ticket” and they won as the first collective ticket in recent times and also the most diverse board the USF SBA has ever had.  “We just work. We are all so different that we are good at different things and so we felt like we were running for everyone, not just ourselves.”

As president, Smith wants to reimagine how the SBA operates to provide greater opportunities and collaboration among students. She hopes to empower students of every year (1L - 4L)  to create new organizations and activities in their communities.

Professor Michele Neitz, Founder of the Blockchain Law for Social Good Center, calls Smith “a superstar both inside and outside of the classroom,” and adds, “she is using her intellectual curiosity and creative leadership to expand legal education beyond the walls of the law school. Jada embodies the values we embrace at USF Law: educational excellence, community building, and contributions to society. I can't wait to see where her talents will take her.”

It can be easy to lose sight of humanity in the drive for innovation. But thanks to leaders like Smith, who says, “I want to propel us forward and I want to show the world how innovation can be used in ways that positively impact each person’s distinct situation,” we have more reason to be optimistic about the future, too.