Bainbridge attorney and current Chief Magistrate Judge Maggie Rentz Smith has announced plans to seek another term as Chief Magistrate. Judge Smith was appointed by Superior Court Judges A. Wallace Cato and J. Kevin Chason to fill the unexpired term of Chief Magistrate Ralph Smith, who retired in December.
A native of Decatur County and graduate of Bainbridge High School, Judge Smith received a bachelor’s degree in finance and economics from Florida State University. She obtained her juris doctorate, with honors, from the University of Georgia School of Law, where she served as editor of the Georgia Law Review. After law school, Smith spent two years as law clerk to the Honorable James E. Graham, United States Magistrate Judge for the Southern District of Georgia, and five years in private practice with a law firm in Atlanta, Georgia, before returning home and opening The Smith Group, Attorneys at Law, LLC, with her husband and law partner Greg Smith.
While in Bainbridge, Smith has been an active member of the South Georgia and Pataula Circuit bars, representing clients at all levels of state and federal courts and in transactional matters.
“The Magistrate Court is a fundamentally important part of our legal system. Our office handles a vast number of civil and criminal matters, and is frequently the first and sometimes the only court with which the average citizen comes in contact. As a result, it is crucial that the court function properly and efficiently and with a keen eye toward insuring the respect of parties’ positions and rights. Having an experienced attorney at the Court’s helm will support this mission,” Smith said. “Additionally, as someone who has managed several successful private enterprises over the years, I am specifically qualified to manage the budget and finances of the Magistrate Office. This is also a very important role, as you are dealing with funds that belong nearly 100% to the people and businesses of this state and county,” Smith said.
Judge Smith is First Vice Chairman of the Bainbridge-Decatur County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, a member of the Bainbridge Rotary Club, and was recognized in 2014 as one of Bainbridge Living Magazine’s “Women to Watch.” She serves as court-appointed attorney and guardian ad litem for children in foster care in seven southwest Georgia counties, and serves as Magistrate Court representative to the Decatur County Child Fatality Review Panel.
“For more than 13 years I have been a student of the law, and have prepared myself to serve as Chief Magistrate during that time by representing individuals in all aspects of our legal system as well as by serving the community at large through a number of public service roles” Smith said.
Maggie is married to Greg Smith and the two have a 4-month-old son, Owen. She can be reached at 229-248-3014.