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Stella L. Smetanka

Stella L. Smetanka

Professor Emeritus of Law

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Professor Smetanka brought many years of experience as a practicing attorney to her work in Pitt's Health Law Clinic. There she fostered students' client counseling and trial practice skills as they served indigent clients from the Pittsburgh area. A former Allegheny County assistant district attorney, she clerked for the Hon. William F. Cercone of the Pennsylvania Superior Court, and was an associate with the law firm of Burns, White and Hickton.

Through her professional activities, Professor Smetanka maintains close ties with organizations serving low-income clients and with the local bar. She is a member of the board of directors of Neighborhood Legal Services Association, past board member of KidsVoice, and volunteers at the Uptown Legal Clinic based at Bethlehem Haven.

Professor Smetanka received the Chancellor's Distinguished Public Service Award of the University of Pittsburgh in 2004. Under her supervision, Health Law Clinic students succeeded in 2006 in changing Medicare policy to cover solitary pancreas transplants for certain individuals with severe brittle diabetes. Her article, Who Will Protect the Disruptive Dialysis Patient? appeared in 32 American Journal of Law & Medicine 53 (2006).

JD, University of Pittsburgh School of Law
BA, Carlow College



Health Law

Social Security Disability

Trial and Appellate Practice

Scholarly Articles:

  • Stella Smetanka The Disabled in Debt to Social Security: Can Fairness be Guaranteed?, 35 William Mitchell Law Review 1084 (2009). Available on SSRN
  • Stella Smetanka, Who Will Protect the Disruptive Dialysis Patient?, 32 Am. J. L. & Med. 53 (2006). Available on SSRN.
  • Stella Smetanka, Proposed Conditions for Coverage Directed Towards Dialysis Facilities, Matthew Bender Health Care Law Monthly (April 2006).
  • Stella Smetanka, The Multi-State Performance Test: A Measure of Law Schools' Competence to Prepare Lawyers, 62 U. Pitt. L. Rev. 747 (2001). Available on SSRN.

Awards and Honors

  • "Woman of the Year" awarded by the Pitt Law Women's Association, the Women's Bar Association of Western PA, and the Women in the Law Division of the Allegheny County Bar Association (2008)
  • Chancellor's Distinguished Public Service Award (2004)