William C. Smith Jr. was born and raised in Silver Spring, Maryland. With the support of his family, Will became a first-generation college student when he attended and graduated from the College of William and Mary. He would go on to earn a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University and a law degree from William and Mary.
After college, Will enrolled in AmeriCorps where he worked as a community engagement leader for IMPACT Silver Spring and worked at the ACLU as a Legislative Assistant. During law school, Will worked at a law firm handling employment discrimination cases and sought a commission as an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve, a position in which Will continues to serve in today. In 2010, Will received a White House appointment to serve as a Director at the Department of Homeland Security under President Barack Obama.
In 2014, Will was elected to represent District 20 in the Maryland House of Delegates. As a member of the Judiciary Committee, Will served on the criminal justice and family law subcommittee. Along with these roles, Will was a member of several key workgroups including Justice Reinvestment, Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights, and Death with Dignity.
In 2016, Will was appointed to represent District 20 in the Maryland State Senate, making him the first African-American Senator from Montgomery County. In 2018, Will was appointed Vice-Chairman of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. In his new role as Chair, Will champions robust criminal justice reform measures and leads efforts to provide economic and educational opportunities for all Marylanders. Will also serves as the Chair of the Senate Veteran’s Caucus. In 2019, Will became the first African American and 50th Chairman of the Judicial Proceedings Committee. As Chairman, Will has championed robust criminal justice reform measures and led efforts to provide economic and educational opportunities for all Marylanders. Today, Will continues to practice law. His practice focuses on national security and employment discrimination.