(This is one of 20 profiles on the recipients selected by an anonymous committee out of an extensive list of nominees for the 2023 Rising Lincoln Leader Award. The Lincoln Parish Journal thanks Mayor Ronny Walker and the Ruston Chamber of Commerce for their support of this award. Photo by Kevin Hawkins at HawkinsPhoto.com).
Name: Mike Smith
Employer: Smith Law Offices & District Attorney’s Office for the Third Judicial District of Louisiana
Title: Owner; Assistant District Attorney (Misdemeanor, Traffic, and Juvenile Divisions)
How long have you lived in Lincoln Parish: 34 years
Civic-volunteer organizations: Rotary Club, Kiwana’s Club, Teach 1 to Lead 1
Career/professional highlights: Prosecuted 2 felony jury trials in 2022 which resulted in convictions
Judge Jeff Robinson, Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, on Mike Smith: Mike and I have worked together at the District Attorney’s Office for five years. During that time I got to know Mike as a hard-working prosecutor who was tough on criminals but also showed compassion when needed. Mike also has been a successful civil law practitioner as well as a successful real estate entrepreneur. Mike’s greatest success is being a husband and father of three. I have found Mike holds himself to the highest of moral and spiritual standards. Lincoln Parish is blessed that Mike chose to come back home and put down roots.
Q&A with Mike Smith:
What makes Lincoln Parish special?
Lincoln Parish is more than just a place on a map to me—it is my hometown, and it holds a very special place in my heart. After finishing law school in Mississippi and getting married to a girl from Florida, we had opportunities to pursue our careers elsewhere… But none of them could compare to good ole Ruston. I have always known that this is where I want to raise my family. It is a truly unique blend of small-town charm and big-hearted people. It’s a place where neighbors are like family and where local businesses are supported with pride. I am fortunate to have many family members who have come before me and provided me with a goal to live up to by treating this community as family.
How do you see your role in improving Lincoln Parish?
As a local prosecutor for Lincoln Parish, my primary role is to serve and protect this community that I hold dear. I am committed to pursuing justice with integrity, fairness, and compassion for all members of our community. Beyond the courtroom, I also enjoy investing in local real estate, focused on revitalizing and creating quality affordable housing options for our residents, while also contributing to the economic vibrance of Lincoln Parish. In both my professional and personal ventures, I am dedicated to making Lincoln Parish a safer, stronger, and more prosperous place for us all.
Who has played a pivotal role in your professional development and why?
Both my father and grandfather have played pivotal roles in my professional career; namely by being an example of how to genuinely care for people and not taking myself too seriously. Growing up, I constantly heard stories about my grandfather, Dr. Joe, who cared for so many people in this community in their time of need, regardless of their circumstances. Both he and my dad did an important job while maintaining a sense of humor about themselves and pursuing genuine personal relationships with their patients. I’ve grown to realize just how important it is to take my job seriously without forgetting to laugh, and to prioritize treating clients as we would want our family members to be treated.