Baton Rouge trial attorney Mary Olive Pierson is a Democratic candidate for an unfinished District 5 term on the Louisiana Supreme Court.
The Nov. 6 election is to fill the remaining six years of Chief Justice Kitty Kimball’s 10-year term. Kimball has announced that she will retire in January.
Pierson recalled that she was among fewer than 10 women to graduate from LSU’s Paul M. Hebert Law Center in January 1970. Since then, she has worked on what she described as “every kind of case imaginable.”
A resident of Louisiana since birth, Pierson said: “I am tired of the politics that increasingly influence our judicial and justice system. We need judges who put the law and the state ahead of any political interest, political party or self-serving interest.”
Pierson said she has represented people from all walks of life and backgrounds during her 42-year legal career.
Pierson noted that in 1970, “Legal careers for women, especially in litigation and courtroom practice, were basically unheard of.” She said she was fortunate to be hired by the local firm of Brown, McKernan, Monsour and Screen.
Ossie Brown, the firm’s senior partner, was elected district attorney shortly after she was hired, Pierson recalled. Brown’s departure “left behind hundreds of pending cases that needed immediate attention.”
She said that meant “my initiation to courtrooms and litigation was, more or less, a baptism by fire because I was the lowest associate on the totem pole.
“I dove right in,” Pierson said. “My first court appearance was an argument before the Louisiana Supreme Court.” She said that case “involved the ‘blue van,’ a forerunner to today’s roadside breath test. I won.”
Since then, Pierson said, she has represented Louisiana residents in divorces, real estate transactions, insurance claims and criminal cases ranging from burglaries to complex white-collar schemes.
She said she has represented families who lost their property to a dishonest banker and pursued domestic abuse, breach of contract and child custody cases on behalf of other clients.
“I believe this varied and extensive background has prepared me to be a dedicated, fair and impartial judge for the people who come before the Supreme Court,” Pierson said.
She noted that she once served on the Metro Council for an interim term of less than a year and was chief administrative officer for Mayor Pat Screen from July 1983 through June 1985.
If elected, Pierson said, she would “serve all of Louisiana with the same passion and dedication with which I have successfully served my clients for 42 years.”
Five Republicans are among the seven other candidates for the District 5 seat.
They include three members of the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal — Walker resident Jeff Hughes and Baton Rouge residents Toni Manning Higginbotham and Jewel E. “Duke” Welch.
The other Republican candidates are both judges with the 19th Judicial District in Baton Rouge: Timothy E. “Tim” Kelley and William A. “Bill” Morvant.
Circuit Judge John Michael Guidry, of the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal, is a Democratic candidate for the seat.
Baton Rouge attorney Jeffry Lamonte Sanford, no party, also has filed for the seat.
Facebook members wanting more information about Pierson’s campaign can visit http://www.facebook.com/MaryOlivePierson.