The Honor of Joining the Awardees of the Susie Blue Buchanan Award
Earlier this month, I participated in the Mississippi Bar’s Annual Meeting and Summer School. I led an hour-long continuing legal education class (CLE) in ethics on professionalism. But, without doubt, the greatest honor of the week was receiving the 2017 Susie Blue Buchanan Award.
Susie Blue Buchanan was the very first woman in Mississippi to be admitted to the Bar, nearly one hundred years ago in 1918. She was trained as a school teacher, but eventually went to work in her father’s law office as a secretary. While there, Susie Blue Buchanan started reading the law; first with her father, then with his partner, J.R. East, when her father passed away. She got her law license in December 1916 and was admitted to the Bar in 1918.
She specialized in land law and the book of Rankin County plats she compiled – called the Susie Blue Book – was used until 1988, fifty years after her death. Susie Blue Buchanan was a true trailblazer for Mississippi women and the women attorneys who have been given the award named for her are a remarkable group of women, including Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Gandy and Justice Ann Lamar. It was a truly humbling experience to be given this prestigious award.