District Judge Frederic N. Smalkin was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on May 21, 1946. Judge Smalkin attended the McDonogh School from 1952-64. He attended the Johns Hopkins University, receiving his B.A. degree from that institution, Phi Beta Kappa and Distinguished Military Graduate, in 1968. He attended law school at the University of Maryland, obtaining his law degree (J.D.) in 1971. On graduation from the University of Maryland Law School, Judge Smalkin was made a member of the Order of the Coif.
Judge Smalkin was commissioned as a second lieutenant, Regular Army, Ordnance Corps, in 1968, and was discharged in 1976, as a captain. After various military assignments, he acted as Assistant to the General Counsel of the Army and Recorder of the Army Contract Adjustment Board in the Pentagon from 1974-76. Judge Smalkin received several decorations while in the Army, including the Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster. Judge Smalkin now serves in the U. S. Air Force Auxiliary (CAP) as a lieutenant colonel, where he has held a number of command and staff positions. His CAP decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal.
Turning to Judge Smalkin’s legal career, he was a law clerk to the Honorable Edward S. Northrop, then Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, from 1971-72. After leaving the military in 1976, Judge Smalkin entered private practice for a short time, before being appointed as a United States Magistrate (now Magistrate Judge) for the District of Maryland, concentrating on expanding the role of Magistrates in civil litigation. He served as Magistrate from 1976 to 1986, when he was nominated by President Reagan, on August 15, 1986, to serve as United States District Judge in the District of Maryland. Confirmed by the Senate on September 25, 1986, Judge Smalkin was commissioned on September 26, 1986, taking office on December 1, 1986. Judge Smalkin served as Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland from October 20, 2001 to January 5, 2003, assuming senior status on January 8, 2003. Judge Smalkin retired from the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland on September 1, 2011.
Admitted to the Maryland Bar in 1972, Judge Smalkin is also a member of the Federal Bar Association and the bars of the U. S. District Court for Maryland, U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, U. S. Supreme Court, and the Court of Military Appeals. Other memberships include the 14 West Hamilton Street Club. Judge Smalkin is a former faculty member of the Maryland Institute for the Continuing Professional Education of Lawyers (MICPEL). He has also taught at the Trial Advocacy Institute at the University of Virginia. Currently, he is a lecturer at the University of Maryland School of Law, where he has been teaching commercial law since 1978.