PaulSmith I grew up in South Austin, TX, graduating from Crockett High School. I went on to earn a degree from the Plan II liberal arts honors program at the University of Texas at Austin, receiving honors and special honors in German. Spending my junior year at the University of Würzburg in Germany awakened my interest in travel and languages. Then, while attending law school at UT, I worked on a public interest fellowship with the NAACP and for a general practice law office near Lansing, Michigan.

After completing my law degree, I spent time at two legal aid organizations: Bexar County Legal Aid, and the Angleton, TX, office of the Gulf Coast Legal Foundation, a branch office of Houston's legal aid society. I moved back to Austin in 2001 to accept a staff attorney position with the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. After providing legal advice for a domestic violence hotline and maintaining a part-time private practice for two years, I started my own full-time private practice in February 2009. Still a linguist at heart, I speak Spanish in addition to German and conversational Portuguese, which gives me the ability to serve the diverse bilingual communities here in central Texas.