Hans Smit was a Stanley H. Fuld Professor Emeritus of Law at Columbia Law School. His areas of expertise included civil procedure, international arbitration, international law and transactions, and conflicts of laws.
Smit joined the Law School faculty in 1960. He was the director of the Project on International Procedure from 1960 to 1968; the director of the Leyden-Amsterdam-Columbia Summer Program in American Law from 1962 to 1988; and the director of the Project on European Legal Institutions from 1965 to 1977. Smit also served as the director of the Parker School of Foreign and Comparative Law at Columbia from 1980 to 1998; the director of the Center for International Arbitration and Litigation Law from 1997-2005; and the director of the Center for East European Law from 1998 to 2005.
Smit was a reporter to the U.S. Commission on International Rules of Judicial Procedure, an adviser to the U.S. delegation to UNCITRAL, and consultant to the Judicial Conference of the State of New York. He was a visiting professor at the University of Paris, Panthéon-Sorbonne, and consultant on legal reform at the World Bank. Smit was a member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences and International Academy of Comparative Law. He was awarded the E.M. Meijers Medal by University of Leyden.
Smit earned his LL.B. in 1946 and his J.D. in 1949 in Amsterdam. He held a M.A. and a LL.B. from Columbia University, as well as an S.J.D. (honoris causa) from the University of Paris, Sorbonne.
The Law School deeply mourned his passing in 2012.