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La Supreme Court bids farewell to its longest serving clerk of court

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Posted at 4:29 PM, Jan 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-01 17:29:06-05

NEW ORLEANS — Louisiana Supreme Court's longest serving clerk of court exited the magnificent Chief Justice Pascal F. Calogero, Jr. Courthouse on New Years Eve.

John Tarlton Olivier announced in early 2021 of his retirement.

Olivier served the Louisiana Supreme Court for 36 years, including 25 years and 9 months as clerk of court, the court announced on Saturday.

In December 2021, the justices of the court presented Olivier with a plaque that read:

“In recognition of his 36 years of service to the Louisiana Supreme Court, including 11 years as Deputy Clerk of Court and 25 years and 9 months as Clerk of Court: His unparalleled contributions to the work of the Louisiana Supreme Court in ensuring the fair administration of justice for the citizens of Louisiana; His unsurpassed intellect and knowledge of court operations and pioneering contributions in the area of State court caseload statistics; His invaluable and dedicated efforts as “clerk of the works” in the historic restoration of 400 Royal Street; His tenure as the longest serving Clerk of Court in the history of the Louisiana Supreme Court; And for his incomparable diligence and unselfish dedication, making him one of the Supreme Court’s true “unsung heroes”, We, the Justices of the Louisiana Supreme Court, express our deep appreciation.”

Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice John L. Weimer said of Olivier's retreat, “I offer my congratulations to John T. upon his retirement. His presence will be missed as a member of the Supreme Court family and certainly his support of the Supreme Court bench. John T. has shown great dedication to the citizens of Louisiana through his humble yet professional demeanor and exceptional competence. The years he dedicated in service to the court have resulted in a well-run clerk’s office, a magnificent courthouse, and an excellent example of professionalism for colleagues and court staff as well.”

John T. Olivier, expressed, “I am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve the Louisiana Supreme Court and the citizens of Louisiana in a capacity that was rewarding both personally and professionally. I have worked with some of the most talented legal minds in the history of the Louisiana judiciary and I treasure the opportunity I had to learn from them as well as pass on to others the knowledge I have acquired. I feel privileged to have served as clerk, am satisfied with the direction my career took, and feel confident this position is left in very capable hands as I retire.”

Olivier is married to Terry L. Seemann and they are the parents of Jeffrey Tarlton Olivier and Emily Marie Kesler, and grandparents of two.

When asked what he plans to do once retired, Olivier responded, “I plan to pursue my passion for sailing and spending time with my friends, family, and especially my grandchildren. However, I’ll always be near as a resource, just call, I will always pick up to answer.”

Olivier's distinction of being the longest serving clerk of court in the history of the Louisiana Supreme Court came after his involvement in several offices across the state after graduating from Loyola University New Orleans with a bachelor's in 1976 and a juris doctorate in 1979.

They say Olivier entered the private practice of law with the firm of Olivier & Brinkhaus in 1979, and served as Secretary-Treasurer of the St. Landry Parish Bar Association and of the Sertoma International-Sunset Area Sertoma.

In 1982, he worked for the Board of Commissioners for the Port of New Orleans, and served as Dredging Committee Chairman of the Marine Safety Society. He served on the Vocational Tech Committee of the Chamber of Commerce, New Orleans and the River Region; was appointed by the Mayor to the Anti-Truancy Committee for the City of New Orleans and the Orleans Parish School Board, and served as a member of the Metropolitan Area Committee and on the Forum Selection Committee.

In 1985, Olivier was appointed Louisiana Supreme Court Deputy Clerk of Court. Eleven years later, he was sworn in as clerk of court on March 1, 1996. Known as “John T.” to friends and family, Olivier and his office oversaw all filings submitted to the Louisiana Supreme Court, coordinated the scheduling of dockets, maintained the court’s calendar, and managed the Supreme Court’s non-judicial operations. Olivier was an integral part of the court’s e-filing initiative, which allows attorneys to submit filings to the Supreme Court electronically and access briefs.

In 1986, Olivier was tasked to coordinate the painstaking effort of obtaining funding for and renovating the severely deteriorated former home of the Louisiana Supreme Court on Royal Street, to which the court returned in 2004.

Olivier graduated from the National Center for State Courts' Institute for Court Management and was recognized as a Fellow of the Institute during ceremonies at the United States Supreme Court in 1991, presided over by Chief Justice Warren Burger, Retired.

Since 1991, Olivier has been a member of the Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA)/National Center for State Courts (NCSC) Court Statistics Project Advisory Committee, he is currently a member of the Supreme Court of Louisiana Historical Society, National Association for Court Management, American Bar Association, Louisiana State Bar Association, and served as president of the National Conference of Appellate Court Clerks.

The Louisiana Supreme Court announced earlier in 2021 that Veronica O. Koclanes, Esq. will succeed Olivier as Louisiana Supreme Court Clerk of Court.

Koclanes said of Olivier, “I am honored to follow the exemplary service of John T. Olivier, who set a high standard for over 25 years as Clerk of Court."

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