We all have people who enter our lives and make a big impression/impact. Sometimes those folks stay in our lives and sometimes one of us moves on and while there’s no longer personal interaction, their influence lives on
Way back in my early years, I went to work for an attorney to fill in for his secretary who was on maternity leave. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing . . but I did know how to type and I guess he figured he could put up with me for 6 weeks til his secretary returned to work. It ended up that she didn’t return to work and I stayed there for about 3 years. During those three years I joined the legal secretaries group and was active with them.
There was one particular firm in town that has an excellent reputation . . great attorneys, excellent pay, good benefits but it was very hard to get a job there. No one ever left that firm until one day, Allen Smith’s secretary got married and moved out of town. Because I was friends with some of the secretaries who worked there, and because they knew job openings were rare, and they worked hard to get good folks in there, I apparently had befriended the right secretaries. One of the secretaries, Diane, called me one morning and asked if I would come and interview. I still remember what I was wearing that day .. a dress that I had made that was not one of my favorites. I said sure and she said “can you come at lunch today?” I walked to their office and Allen stood in the doorway and interviewed me. He was a runner and was in a hurry to get to the Y so he could run with his buddies. After about a 10 minute interview, he said “When can you start?”
I had gone from working on a very slow paced one attorney office to one of the largest firms in town that was very fast paced, very demanding .. a completely different work environment. They took great care of their employees and expected a lot in return.
Allen was an amazing attorney . . a brilliant man. He had started his work career as a petroleum engineer and when he went back to law school, and joined up with that firm in Lake Charles, he brought a wealth of petroleum experience (and clients) with him. He mostly did oil field defense and I learned so very much from Allen and from my years working at that firm. I worked for him for 6 or 7 or 8 years . . I cannot remember. Then I went back to school to get my paralegal certificate and became a paralegal there and worked for a couple more years. Once we adopted Chad, I no longer had time to put in the hours required at that job and left there to work part-time for another wonderful attorney in town and stayed here til Vince and I got married and Chad and I moved to Kentucky.
Allen passed away this week. I am only one of a countless number of folks who were influenced by Allen Smith. Allen was an attorney that folks were proud to know. He had a great reputation professionally and personally. Not that we need more attorneys in the world, but we could use more Allen Smiths.
I was very blessed to know him and to have worked under him for the years that I was at Plauche, Smith & Nieset. I am thankful for the knowledge he shared with me, for his patience and for the opportunities I was given during that time.
The legal community, as well as Allen’s family, lost a wonderful man this week.