About Harry V. Booth
Born in Bardolph, Illinois, and an Army sergeant in the First World War, Harry V. Booth received his law degree from the University of Denver Law School, and practiced in Louisiana for nearly 50 years until his November 1970 death at the age of 76.
"Mr. Harry," as he affectionately was known by the members of the Shreveport law firm he founded, now Booth Lockard Politz LeSage & Odom, L.L.C., and by a multitude of friends and admirers, was recognized locally, statewide and nationally as a consummate trial lawyer. His trial skills were matched by few and surpassed by no contemporary. He was equally at home in state and federal court, handling both civil and criminal trials.
Mr. Harry served as president of both the Shreveport Bar Association and the Louisiana Trial Lawyers Association and as adviser to the Louisiana State Law Institute. His professional memberships included the prestigious International Academy of Trial Lawyers. He also served as Commander of Post No. 14 of the American Legion, once the largest legionnaire post in the United States, president of the Cosmopolitan Club of Shreveport, and Exalted Ruler of the Elks Lodge No. 122.
In addition to handling one of the largest trial practices in Shreveport during the 1930's, 40's and 50's, Mr. Harry was exceedingly active in the political sphere. Besides successfully managing the statewide campaign of Governor Sam Jones in 1939, he was involved in nearly every election campaign, at every level, until his death. He served on the local and state Democratic Executive Committees and was the Democratic National Committeeman from Louisiana from 1960 to 1964. Few candidates sought office without requesting Mr. Harry's aid and certainly no known successful candidate. His support was also eagerly sought by state and national hopefuls.
A great trial lawyer and professed non-scholar, Mr. Harry's success rate before juries was unmatched during his years at the bar. As a lawyer, he personified the best of that special breed that tirelessly represents clients in our courts. He loved people, and he loved helping people, notably young lawyers. Mr. Harry set the standard against which to measure all who follow him.
About Judge Judge Henry A. Politz
HENRY A. POLITZ, known as "Hank," to many in this Inn, was born in Napoleonville, Assumption Parish, Louisiana, on May 9, 1932. After graduating from Assumption High School, Hank attended Nicholls Junior College, now Nicholls State University at Thibodaux. However, his education was interrupted by the Korean War during which he served his country in the United States Air Force. After the war, Henry enrolled at LSU where he received his B.A. in 1958 and his law degree in 1959. While at Law School, he served as editor of the Law Review; was voted outstanding law graduate 1958-59 by his classmates, and was honored by induction into the school's two (2) main honor societies, Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) and Order of the Coif.
Hank moved to Shreveport upon graduation from Law School to begin his law practice with the law firm of Booth, Lockard, Jack, Pleasant & LeSage. He became a partner with the firm in 1962 and was the managing partner when he was appointed by then President Jimmy Carter as a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in July 1979.
With the Booth Lockard law firm, Hank soon earned a reputation as a highly principled and vigorous trial lawyer - a reputation that grew from local to statewide. He was named Outstanding Young Lawyer in Louisiana in 1971. He served as president of the then Louisiana Trial Lawyers Association and president of the Shreveport Bar Association. He served seven (7) years as a member, including a year as chairman of the Committee on Professional Responsibility (Ethics) of the Louisiana Supreme Court, member of the House of Delegates and Board of Governors of the Louisiana State Bar Association; and a member of the Louisiana Judiciary Commission, to name a few.
Hank had a great deal of professional interest in the delivery of legal services to the poor and middle class. He was former chairman and board member of the Caddo-Bossier Legal Aid Society, the forerunner to the local legal services corporation. Henry gained national recognition as the father of the "Shreveport Plan," the prototype for this country's prepaid legal services plans. It has been said, and rightly so, that some of his finest hours were spent in this endeavor, particularly in light of the fact that information from the American Prepaid Legal Services Institute shows that presently one hundred twenty-two (122) million middle income Americans are enrolled in some form of legal service plan.
On August 10, 1979, he commenced his service on the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. He was Chief Judge of the Fifth Circuit from 1992 through 1999, the only native-born Louisianan to hold that distinction. With a continued interest in ethics matters, he served six (6) years on the Committee on Codes of Conduct of the Judicial Conference of the United States, the national ethics committee for all federal judicial offices and employees. Judge Politz then served for two (2) years on the Judicial Conference Committee charged with reviewing actions taken by Circuit Judicial Councils in judicial misconduct matters. From 1992 to 1999 he was a member of the Judicial Conference of the United States, the governing body of the federal court system, and Judge Politz served on its prestigious Executive Committee from 1996-1999. Even though he took senior status in the summer of 2000, he maintained a full caseload until his death in 2002, sitting not only with the Fifth Circuit but also with other circuits around the nation.
A line in Hank's obituary read: "Any account of the life of Henry A. Politz would be incomplete without mention of his remarkable sense of humor." No truer statement could have been written. He had developed a national reputation as a humorist and raconteur and was sought after as a program and dinner speaker. He effectively used that humor to engage, disarm and deflect throughout his career as trial lawyer and circuit judge. He entertained and continuously challenged lawyers about professionalism and ethics and equal access to justice. He was revered and respected for his humanity, his empathy for the disadvantaged and for all who might get shortchanged from the justice system. His unswaying dedication to justice and the rule of law was his hallmark. In the fall of 2001, the Harry V. Booth American Inn of Court unanimously added his name to that of his senior partner and mentor. To him, that distinction was the highest honor bestowed on him in a career as trial lawyer and judge.