J. Michael Smith, Esq.
President of HSLDA
Michael Smith and his wife, Elizabeth, along with Michael Farris and his wife, Vicki, incorporated Home School Legal Defense Association in 1983 and were the original board members. Mike grew up in Arkansas and graduated from the University of Arkansas, where he played basketball and majored in business administration. Upon graduation, he entered the U.S. Navy and served for three years before attending law school at the University of San Diego.
In 1972 he was admitted to the bar in California. Since then he has also been admitted to the Supreme Court of the United States. He is currently licensed in Virginia, California, and Washington, D.C.
Mike and his family began homeschooling because their 5-year-old flunked kindergarten. This was quite a disappointment to Mike in light of the fact that he was preparing this child to be president of the United States by starting his education as early as possible.
His family’s life changed drastically when he heard a radio program in 1981 that introduced him to the idea of homeschooling. When they started homeschooling, they began homeschooling one year at a time to meet the academic and social needs of their children. After spending lots of time around people like Mike Farris, he became convinced that he had been called to use his gifts and talents in the legal profession to assist homeschoolers who were being prosecuted because they didn’t hold a teacher’s certificate or couldn’t satisfy the school district that they could competently teach their children.
Mike came to HSLDA full-time in 1987. He has served as president of the organization since 2001. In addition to serving as president, he also is a contact lawyer for California, Nevada and Puerto Rico. All of Mike’s children are now grown, and three of the four were homeschooled. The most enjoyable part of Mike’s job is going to homeschool conferences and meeting what he calls America’s greatest heroes: homeschooling moms.