In 1961, things were looking up in Swainsboro. Textile plants, furniture manufacturers and various other companies were moving into town from up North bringing hundreds of jobs with them. John Kennedy had just become President. The Russians were beating us in the space race, but John Glenn would soon put things right and become the first American to orbit the Earth. If you were really on the cutting edge of technology back then, you might have a transistor AM radio in your pocket. No Netflix, iPhones or ESPN. Vince Dooley hadn’t even gotten to Georgia yet, and nobody had even heard of Vietnam. So why am I telling you all this? Just to give a point of reference.
That same year, a newly minted lawyer arrived in Swainsboro from Atlanta. Sid Shepherd was fresh out of law school at Emory and had been working at the State Capitol for Swainsboro’s own Speaker of the House of Representatives George L. Smith. Speaker Smith had a sharp eye and a persuasive nature, and soon the young lawyer found himself visiting Swainsboro and accepting a job offer with the local law firm, Williams & Smith. One of the many clients of the firm was the City of Swainsboro with Mr. Felix Williams serving as the City Attorney. “I attended my first City Council meeting with Mr. Felix Williams in the old City Hall building that served as the jail, the Fire Department, the water department and the administrative offices. That was the beginning” recalled Shepherd. What would follow would be challenges and triumphs for this country, state, and city. Shepherd’s law practice thrived and his steady hand inspired confidence through decades of new mayors and councilmembers.
More than half a century later, Attorney Shepherd enjoys the distinction of having been recognized as the longest-serving City Attorney in the State of Georgia. After 61 years, he leaves the position of City Attorney with perhaps the most unique perspective of anyone as to the ups and downs and heart and soul of this City. “I have served with 8 Mayors during my time as City Attorney, and they have all been different,” Shepherd chuckled, “but it has always been my pleasure and honor.”
It is easy to see why Shepherd enjoys the respect of his peers, his clients, and his community for the skill he brings to the practice of law. What makes this lawyer so special to so many is his ability to blend that professional competence with a masterful command and understanding of the human condition. The City of Swainsboro has been so very fortunate to have had such an advisor and friend for all these years. Thanks, Mr. Sid, for your devotion, guidance, and love for this community.