I remember very distinctly the first day I set foot in the Benton Courthouse.
My hands were shaking.
My stomach was upset.
No matter how much "practice" I had, nothing was like the realization that I would be in court, fighting for a real cause and putting my name on the line.
My judge? The Honorable Judge Dewey E. Burchett, Jr.
And instead of giving me a hard time, he actually gave me advice from the bench.
A young lawyer who was scared out of her mind that her client might see that she was
....terrified and new at all this.
Years later, I helped all I could with his campaign. I made phone calls, I wrote blogs, I sent emails, and I did everything I could to help someone I believed in. Somewhere in the middle of all this, a KSLA news anchor contacted me to find out "what the hype was with this 26th JDC election?" I contacted him back in November 2008, after a long talk with Ms. Pat, Judge Burchett's lovely wife. He responded with "keep in touch with me about any news in Bossier" or something like that, and I did when my mom ran for office, and well, the rest is history.
You see, Judge Burchett brought me and the love of my life together.
And he taught me to be patient.
And he taught me to care.
And he told me, without speaking the words, that you can be a good person and be a lawyer.
He gave me hope.
Today, he passed away and honestly, my heart aches.
I will very much miss my friend and my mentor, Judge Burchett.
M. Samantha McAllister graduated summa cum laude from LSU-Shreveport, earned a Masters in history from Louisiana Tech and received her Juris Doctorate and Bachelor of Civil Law degree from LSU, Paul M. Hebert School of Law. She practices family law in Bossier City.