Attorneys Thornton, Smith Join UAMS as Legal Counsel

By todd

LITTLE ROCK — Rhonda Thornton and Elizabeth Thomas Smith have joined the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) as legal counsel. Thornton and Smith are associate general counsels in the University of Arkansas System’s Office of General Counsel. 


The Office of General Counsel is responsible for all legal matters affecting the university system and its campuses and the activities of employees while they are conducting university business. 


Thornton previously served in the University of Arkansas System office where she represented all campuses and divisions of the university system for more than seven years.  She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and her law degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR), where she served as executive editor of the UALR Law Journal. 


Thornton’s background includes defending medical malpractice and products liability lawsuits for the law firm of Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard; public service as an assistant attorney general; and serving as an adjunct professor of law and trial team coach at UALR. 


She is a member of the Arkansas and Pulaski County Bar Associations and the National Association of College and University Attorneys. Thornton is licensed to practice in Arkansas, the District of Columbia, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. 


Smith most recently served in Attorney General Mike Beebe’s office as an assistant attorney general in the Civil Litigation Department. Her experience also includes defending medical malpractice and insurance defense litigation with Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard and serving as deputy prosecutor in the 6th Judicial District.


Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and a juris doctorate from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.  She has served as a trial coach at the William H. Bowen School of Law and is active in the Arkansas Bar Association, where she serves in its House of Delegates. 


UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a medical center, six centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has about 2,430 students and 715 medical residents. It is one of the state’s largest public employers with about 9,400 employees, including nearly 1,000 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. UAMS and its affiliates have an economic impact in Arkansas of $4.5 billion a year. For more information, visit