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A letter from the Editor
In this special supplement, youll find independent judges are setting the exam-
the profiles of the 30 individuals who are ple for other lawyers across the Palmetto
South Carolina Lawyers Weeklys Leader- State. We express our deepest apprecia-
ship in Law Class of 2017. tion to the three people who took on the
Youll also find a few questions per task of judging.
person to give you an idea about their Were very proud of the Class of 2017
qualifications and their impressions and well be honoring them in Charles-
about law practice and the work they do ton on March 24.
on a daily basis. Well also be revealing the name of
Our Leaders this year come from all our Lawyer of the Year for 2017 at the
over the state. And they play many differ- program.
ent roles in the justice system. Join me in celebrating and congrat- INTERIM PUBLISHER
The threads that run through the ulating the SCLW Leadership in Law
Stephen Lincoln
biographies and answers to our questions Class of 2017!
excellence, commitment and accom-
plishment. Paul Fletcher
Paul E. Fletcher
The lawyers tapped by our panel of Editor-in-Chief

Teresa Bruno, Opinions Editor
Phillip Bantz, Staff Writer
David Donovan, Staff Writer
Heath Hamacher, Staff Writer
Jeff Jeffrey, Staff Writer
Scott Baughman, Digital Media Manager
Andrea Mounts, Advertising Manager
Sponsorships, Plaque & Reprint Sales
Sheila Batie-Jones, Advertising Account Executive
Cal Watson is the managing member Pamela DeFanti Robinson, has been Nancy Olah (Nancy Olah Law) han- Sharon Lipps, Advertising Account Executive
of Sowell Gray Stepp & Laffitte LLC. A the Director of the USC School of Law dles commercial real estate and business
native of Bamberg, South Carolina, Wat- Pro Bono Program for 28 years. She law transactions in both North Carolina Nick Pace, Digital Advertising Account Executive
son earned his juris doctor from the Uni- received a BA from Clemson University and South Carolina, with an emphasis
versity of South Carolina School of Law and a JD from the University of South on serving developers, the construction
after graduating summa cum laude from industry, and design professionals work-
Robinson is an active member of the SC Amanda Passmore, Business Manager
Wofford College. ing on sustainable projects. She graduat-
Bar, the ABA, the Association of American ed from Oberlin College and University
Watson is a previous president of the
Law Schools and numerous international of Michigan Law School and enjoyed CIRCULATION
South Carolina Bar, serving from 2014-
and national organizations focused on the
2015. In addition, he has been a member working with Parker Poe before starting Jim Shea, Audience Development Manager
management of volunteers. She is the Chair
of the South Carolina Bars House of her solo practice. Olah is honored to be a
of the SC Bar Senior Lawyers Division,
Delegates since 1997 and has twice served the Childrens Justice Act Task Force
past recipient of the Athena Leadership Circulation: 1-800-451-9998
on the South Carolina Bar Board of Gov- and the Clemson University Humanities Award Corporate (2013), North Car-
ernors. He is past president of the South Advancement Board. She is also a founder olina Leaders in Law (2014), Mecklen-
burg Times 50 Most Influential Women EVENTS
Carolina Bar Foundation, the John Belton of the SC Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts.
(2014), and South Carolina Leadership Tiara Benfield, Events Coordinator
ONeall Inn of Court, and the Historic Robinson has received numerous awards
in Law (2016). Olah coached high school
Columbia Foundation. for her pro bono efforts especially on behalf
Watson received the Lawyer of the of children. In 2015 she was honored at mock trial for eight years, is a cookbook PRODUCTION & OPERATIONS
Year award at the seventh annual South a Points of Light Celebration at the White author (Fool a Carnivore), and blogs reg- John Reno, Production Manager
Carolina Lawyers Weeklys 2015 Leader- House and in 2016 she was named the SC ularly about healthy food choices. Olah is
ship in Law awards dinner. He has been Lawyer of the Year by Lawyers Weekly as well an avid scuba diver, and lives in Fort Mill,
Michael Duntz, Designer
named a South Carolina Super Lawyer as being a recipient of the Leadership in SC, with her wonderful husband and son.
Law Award.
for eight consecutive years, has been listed
in Best Lawyers in America yearly since
Robinson is originally from Rhode South Carolina Lawyers 2017 BridgeTower Media. Material published
Island and before settling in SC traveled
2008, was named Bet-the-Company Liti- extensively. When not working alongside Weekly extends its in South Carolina Lawyers Weekly is compiled
at substantial expense and is for the sole and
gation Lawyer of the Year in 2015, and has
been listed in Chambers USA Americas
her volunteer law students she enjoys time thanks to the judges exclusive use of purchasers and subscribers. The
spent gardening, painting and cooking. But
Leading Lawyers for Business since 2009. she is most proud of her current and former who volunteered their material may not be republished, resold, record-
He is a fellow of the American Bar ed, or used in any manner, in whole or in part,
pro bono students. The Pro Bono Program time to select this years without the publishers explicit consent. Any
Foundation and the Litigation Counsel of is a nationally recognized, academic-
America, and is a certified South Carolina based volunteer program integral to the
Leadership in Law infringement will be subject to legal redress.
Circuit Court mediator. professional development of law students. honorees. South Carolina Lawyers Weekly (USPS #020216)
is published weekly every Monday with General
Statewide Circulation by South Carolina Law-
yers Weekly 1611 East 7th Street, Charlotte, NC
INDEX 2017 Leadership in Law Honorees 28204. Headquarters and the General Business
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Desa Ballard 3 Robert S. Ingram III 7 Edward G. McDonnell 13 John W. Roberts 17
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A. Johnston Cox 4 Christopher R. Koon 8 Franchelle C. Millender 14 Fred W. Suggs Jr. 18 Website:
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Desa Ballard
Ballard & Watson, Attorneys at Law West Columbia

esa Ballard, a senior partner with Ballard that we felt were important for the system as
& Watson, Attorneys at Law, of West a whole, and we were all vocal when the ABA
Columbia, started her career as a law came in to study and make recommendations
clerk for Circuit Judge Ralph King Anderson Jr. about changes needed in the states disciplinary
He was known for working long hours and being system. The court, the commission, and disci-
demanding, which worked out for Ballard, who plinary counsel have been open to our lobbying
describes herself as a workaholic. He helped efforts, and they listen and respect our thoughts
shape my view of what the court system should and opinions. I think we have helped make
be and how it can be its best, Ballard said. He some positive changes to the system.
made me want to be the best lawyer I could be.
Ballard earned both her undergraduate and law Why is it important to you to serve as
degrees from the University of South Carolina a mentor for college students and young
and went on to serve as a staff attorney for the attorneys?
South Carolina Supreme Court before going into Being a lawyer is a privilege and the highest
private practice. She has been with Ballard & form of trust that the state can grant to an indi-
Watson since 1997. She also serves as an adjunct vidual. It is incumbent on all of us to make the
professor of advanced legal ethics at the Univer- legal profession the best it can be. Only by work-
sity of South Carolina law school. ing to be the best do we have any chance of being
good enough. Clients deserve the very best we
Describe your work as a co-founder and have; they bring us their deepest problems and
longtime president of the S.C. Association they are entitled to trust us. We are a self-regu-
of Ethics Counsel. lating profession, which means we have to govern
After clerking for Judge Anderson, I went to one another and set the standards for ourselves
the Supreme Court as a staff attorney and later focus was legal ethics and started attending as high as possible. It is fascinating to see the fel-
law clerk to the Chief Justice. When I went lowship develop among law students and young
their meetings. Steedley Bogan and I created
into private practice I got calls from people who lawyers when they realize this is a synergistic
the SCAEC as a forum for colleagues who
had complaints and wanted to know if I knew relationship and we all work in it together.
how the system worked. Of course I did, so I defended grievances to share knowledge with
started handling those cases, and I figured out one another. As a group, we became vocal about How would you like to be remembered?
that I could help people. I learned everything I changes we thought needed to be made to the I hope the people who know me will remember
could about the field. I joined the two national system and to the rules. We have done several that I cared more than most people. Excellence
organizations that existed at that time whose amicus briefs in particular disciplinary cases was my goal, even if I didnt always achieve it.

Shannon Furr Bobertz

S.C. Department of Natural Resources | Columbia

hannon Bobertz counts traveling with way your view your own life?
her mother to foreign countries as I am an only child, and my mother was an only
among her favorite memories of growing child. She passed away from cancer in October of
up. My mother practiced law for many years, but 2016. Caring for a sick loved one did not come
always made it a priority to take three weeks off naturally to me, but I am proud that I helped her
in the summer and travel to an obscure foreign through tough times in a way that was helpful to
country, Bobertz said. We traveled extensively us both. She had a lovely view of life and lived
in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, and she every day to the fullest, so there were no regrets
gave me an appreciation for foreign cultures I on her part. I think that has been passed on to
hope to pass down to my daughter. As chief me, too. I realized that we do not always live long
counsel for the South Carolina Department of enough to enjoy retirement- the one thing we save
Natural Resources, Bobertz specializes in en- all of our life to enjoy, so you better make time to
vironmental law, contracts, criminal, civil and do the things you want to do now.
employment law. She started her career as a law
clerk for South Carolina Supreme Court Justice How has your involvement as a mentor
Costa Pleicones in 2002 after earning her law enriched your life, both personally and
degree, cum laude, from the University of South professionally?
Carolina law school. In addition to her law prac- I have taught at the USC law school for five
tice, she is an adjunct professor at USC. In 2011, years, and have served as a mentor for first-year
she was selected for admission into the American students many times through the NMRS Center
Board of Trial Advocates. on Professionalism Advisory Board. I have also
hosted students from law school and the honors
Describe your service on the American college at USC as interns in the legal office at the
Board of Trial Advocates and why is it jury to verdict. ABOTA is made up of half plain- S.C. Department of Natural Resources. I enjoy
meaningful to you? tiff and half defense attorneys, which means you helping young lawyers with their career choices,
I was accepted as a member of ABOTA, are also welcomed by your peers on both sides of as well as giving them tips on the profession. I
which was one of the proudest things I have ever the v. It was quite an honor. particularly derive satisfaction from seeing my
accomplished professionally. I received validation students go on to start their own firms and excel
that I am a tried and true trial attorney because How did the experience of caring for in the practice of law. Years later, students are still
to join the organization, you have to have liti- your mother through her illness with contacting me to ask my advice on career moves.
gated a certain number of civil cases in front of a cancer, and finally her passing, shape the I enjoy developing these relationships.

Curtis E. Bostic
Bostic Law Group PA | Charleston

urtis Bostic has been an entrepreneurial brations, leadership retreats, picnics, training and
attorney since the beginning of his career. team-building events, fundraisers, and religious
After earning his law degree from Camp- services. We take pleasure in seeing the variety of
bell University in 1994, he was a civil litigation organizations that benefit from Peaceful Way.
partner in the firm Vincent & Bostic. In 2000, he Ten years ago my wife and I visited refugee
started the Bostic Law Group in Charleston, prac- camps in northern Thailand for Burmese who
ticing civil litigation, business and nonprofit law. were fleeing the atrocities being committed
He also owns four Charleston businesses, Carolina against Christians by the Junta in the jungles of
Mobile Storage, The Realty Company, Plantation Myanmar. I traveled with a guide into the jungles
Family DentalCare and Sell Carolina. He is the from which these people had fled and witnessed
founder of Remember, an international humanitar- Christians still hiding there. With the assistance
ian organization and Peaceful Way, a retreat facility of friends in Charleston, we began a regular effort
for nonprofit organizations. I am grateful I have to carry supplies and provide medical assistance to
been privileged to establish a practice that is grow- these persecuted Christians. That experience led to
ing and profitable, but I am thankful our team has the establishment of Remember. Our volunteers
built one that enables me to do volunteer activites and staff now assist persecuted Christians in some
that are important to my personal fulfillment, he of the most difficult places of the world. Remem-
said. Bostic earned two B.A degrees from the Col- ber owns and operates an orphanage in Myanmar,
lege of Charleston and Appalachian Bible College. a safe-house in Liberia, and has constructed and
support a school and compound in South Sudan.
What are the challenges of starting We also regularly assist Christians in other places
and owning a law firm, and what are the that restrict religious freedom such as Iraq, Jordan,
rewards? China, Syria, Afghanistan, and Egypt.
Balance is the greatest challenge. Like the vast
majority of attorneys I meet, I am serious about Discuss your work with your familys If you could have dinner with three well
representing my clients zealously. Balancing my Peaceful Way retreat and your nonprofit known people contemporary or historical
responsibility to clients and the responsibilities I humanitarian organization called Remember. who would they be and why?
have to others is a consistent challenge. Building The men and women of our firm want to give Jesus Christ. No one in history has had a greater
my own law firm has given me the opportunity back to our community. One way we have suc- influence on the world. He is the master teacher.
to have a practice that doesnt conflict with--even cessfully done so is through Peaceful Way, a Tony Blair. I would like to learn his skill in
compliments--other things that are important to day retreat facility the Bostic Law Group makes responding to criticism.
me such as being politically active and participat- available gratis to non-profit organizations. About George Washington. I would enjoy hearing
ing in other business opportunities. 3,000 people each year use the facility for cele- insights from the Constitutional Convention.

A. Johnston Cox
Gallivan White & Boyd | Columbia

ohnston Cox, a shareholder at Gallivan for the client) are the friendships and sense of
White Boyd of Columbia, credits his very community gained through participation in legal
first job as a young wrangler at a dude organizations such as the South Carolina De-
ranch near Steamboat Springs, Colorado, for fense Attorneys Association, the Association of
his strong work ethic and love of giving guests Defense Trial Attorneys and the Federation of
a life-changing experience. Our work day was Defense and Corporate Counsel.
from 5 a.m. until 9 p.m. and I learned that I en-
joy hard work and teaching people new things, Why do you feel it is important to
he said. I was truly the best version of myself give back to others through service
during that time. Cox has an undergraduate in professional and community
degree from Washington & Lee University organizations?
and a law degree from the University of South
I have focused my community efforts on serv-
Carolina law school. Over the course of his
ing the elderly through board service for Senior
21-year career as an attorney, he has gathered a
Resources, Inc. and Homeworks of America, Inc.
wealth of legal knowledge and experience from
I saw how important it was to my grandfather
representing clients in a variety of notable cases
that he age, live and die with dignity. Provid-
including multi-million dollar class action suits,
ing services to allow seniors to remain in their
high-profile business disputes and defamation
suits, complex insurance coverage issues and law homes, whether through Meals on Wheels or
enforcement use of force actions. Hes active in repairing homes for those who cannot afford it
a variety of professional and community orga- furthers that goal.
nizations, including the Association of Defense
Trial Attorneys, of which he serves as national Who is your hero/role model and why?
membership chair, and the South Carolina What are the greatest challenges of My grandfather, Alfred Arrington Johnston.
Defense Trial Attorneys Association, of which practicing law and what are the greatest He was just a good man. He was involved in
he is secretary and a member of the executive rewards? every community in which he lived. He never
committee. He is active with Homeworks of The greatest challenge of practicing law is the met a stranger. His number one priority was
South Carolina and the Rotary Club of the time required to market business and provide to provide for his wife and daughter. He was a
Vista Night. excellent legal services to the client. The greatest good story teller and dispenser of wisdom. He
rewards (other than obtaining a righteous result was a strong Christian.

Ronnie L. Crosby
Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth & Detrick, PA | Hampton

rowing up on a farm, Ronnie Crosby landowners, which were largely timber compa-
was exposed to machines of various nies, proved to be a hopeless cause, so I decided
types. He learned to make mechanical the best way to accomplish long term protection
repairs, do welding and rebuild engines. When was through private ownership and conservation
he decided to pursue a career as an attorney, easements. The property I own is in Colleton
he gravitated to the area of products liability. County along the border with Hampton County
It seemed like a natural fit to work in a field in the upper ACE Basin where the Big Salke-
where I could apply my experience, he says. I hatchie River and the Little Salkehatchie River
have been able to help many clients in cases that meet to form the Combahee River. The rewards
were turned down by other attorneys because of are many, but most important is the realization
the time it takes to learn the law and engineer- that I have been a part of the efforts to perma-
ing principles needed to understand product nently preserve one of the most biologically
design and manufacturing. Crosby started his diverse areas on the planet.
career as a law clerk for Judge Gerald C. Smoak
after earning his law degree from the University What inspires you to get up and go to
of South Carolina. He joined Peters, Murdaugh, work each morning?
Parker, Eltzroth & Detrick in 1994 and has I am inspired by the idea that what I do makes
been with the firm his entire career. He is a a difference in the lives of others and often, my
longtime partner in the firm. Crosby has not al- success has the potential to change a clients life
lowed his law career to take him away from his as his or her financial and health care needs may
roots as a farmer, and he continues to raise cows depend on the outcome of a case.
and do a limited amount of row crop farming
on the land where he grew up and now owns. If you could travel back in time to your
His love of the land has led him to become a first year associate self, what advice would
conservationist, and he has worked to preserve technology had advanced to the point where vast you give yourself?
land in the Salkehatchie River complex. areas of the river basins could be quickly clear cut I would tell myself to be mindful of how
with large machinery. Having grown up in and quickly time passes and of the importance of
Discuss your work to preserve land in around the swamps I had a love for the beauty, being purposeful in my work and personal life to
the Salkehatchie River complex. diversity and importance of these inland water- focus on things that matter.
The idea started in a conversation with a ways. We thought working to limit the amount
friend in 1993 as we sat on the porch of a little of clear cutting and preservation of waterways Who is your all time hero?
cabin on the upper Combahee River. Logging was important. Our attempts to work with the My grandfather.

Margaret S. Day
Law Office of Margaret S. Day | Bluffton

argaret Day worked in a friends casi- You were in a traumatic accident. How
no in Mississippi to help pay her way did it impact your life and your career?
through college. Local unions began The accident in April of 2004 was the best
talking about getting the casino staff to union- day and the worst day of my life. A driver came
ize, so Day stepped up to serve as the groups across the median of the interstate, drove through
spokesperson. The union did not materialize but the guard rail and hit me head on. I was forced
the experience sparked Days desire to become to take time off from my career, social life and
a lawyer. As I studied in law school, I realized volunteer work to heal, go through therapy and
many underserved people could be helped with learn to accommodate my injuries. I lived with
just a little knowledge, she said. I realized my mom, who took care of me. Some friends
what a powerful tool a legal education could from law school cut the grass at my house,
be, and I believed I could help others with that cleaned it and stocked it with groceries when I
education. Day earned her B.A. from the Uni- was finally able to return home.
versity of Memphis and her law degree from the I learned that people are kind and generous, and
are capable of great love. The accident made me
University of South Carolina law school. She
realize we only get one life, and I dont want to
worked in a variety of positions at the South
waste a moment of mine.
Carolina House of Representatives, the South
Carolina Department of Mental Health, Low-
What is your best experience as a
country Legal Volunteers and in private practice
before starting her own firm, the Law Office of My best experience came when I was new to
Margaret S. Day, in 2007. the practice. A good friend of mine had passed
away when we were in law school. In her mem-
Discuss your solo practice. What led you ory, a group of women lawyers with different
to start it? ment with policies and procedures that I believe talents gathered and decided to adopt a
I started in a small office I shared with two will make my clients lives easier. I can take young woman lawyer every year and assist her
other solo practitioners and did everything meritorious cases to help clients even though I in her endeavors. Our group aspired to help
myself, from scanning to shredding to going to know they will not be profitable for my firm. On the young lawyers, but I think we helped each
court. I now have a much larger, thriving office the down side, I have to manage the office, and other just as much. We eventually disbanded,
with two employees. My practice has been very there is no one to blame but myself when things but our time together was helpful to me, and I
rewarding. I can be flexible and work around my go wrong. However, I would not change a thing. am hopeful that it was rewarding for the young
childrens schedules, try new things and experi- lawyers we adopted.

Jodi Westbrook Flowers
Motley Rice | Mount Pleasant

odi Flowers, a member attorney with
Motley Rice of Mount Pleasant, has a hard Describe the mentors who had the
time narrowing down her choices for her greatest influence on your life and your
most satisfying professional accomplishment, so career?
she names three: Spending seven years fighting Ronald L. Motley (1947-2013) was the men-
the tobacco industrys marketing tactics target- tor who had the greatest influence on me person-
ing kids, including cartoons, give-aways, candy ally and professionally. He taught me to leave no
cigarettes, and product placement initiatives. Her stone unturned in the search for truth, justice and
work led to the retirement of the popular Joe accountability. Ron was a brilliant trial lawyer
Camel figure. Another highlight involved resolv- with a heart of gold. He was larger than life. His
ing the case of Victoria Cummock, who refused work ethic, passion, humor and creativity inspire
a no-fault settlement offer by Colonel Muammar me and so many others to this day. He taught me
Gadhafi and Libya for the bombing of Pan Am the meaning of the Margaret Mead quotation,
103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, which killed her Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful
husband. A third highlight was winning the Arab people can make a difference; in fact, it is the
Bank liability verdict holding the bank liable only thing that ever has.
for providing material support to HAMAS for
suicide bombings during the Second Intifada in Why do you believe it is important
Israel. We are changing the lives of our clients for women to aspire to positions of
who lost loved ones, or were injured in terrorist leadership?
attacks, and that is a reward beyond measure, she Law has been a male-dominated profession
said. Flowers started her career as a summer law long enough. It is past time for that to change,
clerk for Ness, Motley, Loadholt, Richardson & and for the professional to embrace diversity.
Poole in 1992 after graduating magna cum laude
from the College of Charleston with a degree in What influenced your decision to What profession would you have
political science and earning her law degree from become a lawyer? pursued if you were not a lawyer?
the University of South Carolina law school. She I always strive to make a difference and I If I had not become a lawyer, I would have
is active in a variety of professional and commu- consider myself extremely fortunate in that the been a journalist. Both professions seek to uncov-
nity organizations. She enjoys art, fashion, music law has given me that opportunity and ability. er and expose the truth. I am naturally curious
and playing board games. She has been a vegetar- Looking back, I grew up with an overactive sense and fascinated by people and their stories and be-
ian on principle since she was 10 years old. of injustice, so law was a natural fit for me. lieve a strong, free press is vital to our democracy.

Daniel E. Henderson
Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth & Detrick | Ridgeland

s a longtime shareholder with Peters, kind of case may come to me each day, and I
Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth & Detrick love having the opportunity to work on all sorts
of Ridgeland, Daniel Henderson prac- of cases and figure things out. I appreciate the
tices in the plaintiff s personal injury area. He significant pro-bono work that comes along in a
holds a B.A. in political science and public ad- small town practice, and I enjoy being part of a
ministration from the University of South Car- firm that can accept and handle almost any type
olina and a law degree from USCs law school. of litigation.
He has been with his firm since 1980. After 37
years, I still love to get up and come to work, If you could travel back in time to your
he said. I love the challenge of finding out why, years as a beginning attorney, what advice
not just how, bad things happen, and Im blessed would you give yourself?
with the opportunity to be a part of a great law Take more time for family.
firm. He is an active member of the South Car-
olina Association of Justice, the South Carolina How do you keep a healthy work/life
Bar, the American Association for Justice and balance?
the American Board of Trial Advocates. He also This is hard to do. I work out. I try to eat
is on the advisory committee of Jasper Coun- healthy. I play hard and stay active.
ty Disabilities and Special Needs, and served
as chairman of the Jasper County Courthouse Name three well-known people
Restoration Committee. He was Rotarian of the contemporary or from history you would
Year in 2009 and received the Sergeant Jasper like to invite to dinner, and why.
Award for public service from the Jasper County God to try to better understand his plan that
Chamber of Commerce in 2012. allows for self-determination. Why did he not
family friends. I knew from high school that I install certain barriers that man cant cross?
What led you to practice in the plaintiffs wanted to practice personal injury law. Buster Murdaugh, Clyde Eltzroth and Bob
personal injury area of the law? Peters because I miss them.
I grew up in an organized labor household, so What inspires you to get up and go to Elmer Mixson, my great grandfather, to
I learned early on that the working man needed work every day? find out what it was like when our family
help. I was socially exposed to lawyers who were I still love it after 37 years. I never know what farm was built.

Robert S. Trey Ingram III
Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP | Greenville

rey Ingram is passionate about foster care. haircut, nor could we cross state lines to go
As a foster parent, he has experienced the apple picking, to get a Christmas tree, or to visit
joy of first fostering, and then adopting family, etc. As a result of these experiences and
his familys fifth child. His experiences as a foster talking with other foster parents, we resolved to
father led him to help pass two reform bills in bring about positive change in the lives of these
the South Carolina legislature that would help children. We connected with other child advo-
pave the way for foster parents to care for up cates to form Speak Up: Voices for Foster Care
to eight children and provide foster parents an Reform. As a result of Speak Ups grassroots
opportunity to make decisions on allowing their community engagement we saw max 5 lifted
foster children to participate in activities such as to max 8, and our state implemented normal-
summer camps and family vacations. This work cy for children in foster care.
and the result is the most significant work in my
heart, and it is inspiration for me to continue What inspires you to get up and go to
efforts at legislative reform in the realm of foster work each day?
care, he said. Ingram, a senior associate who Love. I love my work as a commercial real
practices in the areas of commercial real estate estate attorney at Smith Moore Leatherwood. I
and adoption law at Smith Moore Leatherwood love being a positive part of Greenvilles growth
in Greenville, holds a B.S. from Charleston and development. I love serving as an advocate
Southern University and a law degree from the for reform in foster care and adoption. I love my
University of South Carolina law school. co-workers at Smith Moore Leatherwood and
with Speak Up. And I love the clients and chil-
What led you to work for foster care dren for whom I work.
reform in the S.C. Legislature?
In 2015, my wife and I became foster parents er reached out to us for help. Unfortunately, What was your very first job and what did
through DSS. At that time we had four daugh- because of the max 5 rule, we could not allow you learn from that experience?
ters of our own and one foster child. There was a him to stay with us even temporarily. My wife My very first job was working for my uncle
max 5 rule which meant we were only eligible and I also experienced other limitations foster who owned a business called Grassbusters. This
to care for one child through DSS foster care, families faced at that time. For example, without experience taught me the value of hard, thankless
and we were already fostering a child. Later approval from our childs caseworker who in work and the reliability and strength of extended
that year, a little boy whom we knew very well turn had to get approval from a parent, we could family. My second job was more fun. I was Fred
needed a temporary place to stay and his moth- not take the child in our care to get a routine Flintstone at Carowinds.

Jon Ren Josey

Turner Padget | Florence

t Turner Padget of Florence, shareholder pellate work because it provides an outlet for my
Rene Josey handles a variety of mat- interest in writing.
ters both civil and criminal. He most
enjoys the novelty in the law and the personali- When you were a child, what did you
ties he encounters on a daily basis. particularly want to be when you grew up?
in criminal matters, I suppose I am drawn to the I began focusing on the law in the summer
novelty of an underdog and the novelty of the before my 7th and 8th grades at school, in 1973,
human condition for those in different circum- before cable television, when the Watergate hear-
stances, he said. Josey started his career as a law ings were preempting network television every day
clerk to U.S. District Judge C. Weston Houck and important constitutional issues were being
after earning his law degree from the University played out on a national stage. Something about
of South Carolina in 1985. He has long been the concept of a gentle southern senator, Sam Er-
active in the Florence Community as a volunteer. vin, speaking simple truth to power resonated with
He currently serves as a member of the Supreme the inner values my parents had instilled in me.
Court Commission on Continuing Legal Edu- The role of lawyers as guardians of the rule of law
cation and Specialization and as a board member captured my attention. The only other professions
of the South Carolina Bar Foundation and the that had some appeal to me were the ministry and
American Board of Trial Advocates. Outside his teaching, and although I involve myself in both
practice, he considers his faith and family as of disciplines, neither created quite the same call to
utmost importance. me as the law. I would love to be able to sing for a
living, but Im not that gifted.
What areas of the law are you most
drawn to and why? What is your favorite non-work activity?
I am drawn to novelty in the law novel issues by the solicitor and SLED, both of which created Spending time with my family. For a long time
and novel personalities. I like using law creatively new case law subsequently addressed by legisla- this meant following my sons athletic endeavors
to reach a remedy. Some examples include as- tion. The majority of my criminal work does not around the state and region, but now it more
serting a new route to local district court juris- involve violence and does involve first offenders. likely involves enjoying a meal, hike, golfing, or
diction of a customs dispute and using a circuit I want to help the individuals I represent try to fishing together. Other favorite non-work activi-
court declaratory judgment action to establish a put their lives back on a better track if possible. ties include singing in the church and communi-
persons eligibility for expungement after denial Finally, I am drawn to motion practice and ap- ty choirs and kayaking.

Ashley Ryon Kirkham
Collins & Lacy | Columbia

n associate attorney with Collins & Lacy lem solvers rather than problem dwellers. Were
of Columbia, Ashley Kirkham represents not afraid of the dirty work and we like to see a
employers and insurance companies in finished product.
workers compensation matters. She reports her
most significant achievements in her career so far What did you learn from your experiences
was winning a denied claim of a half million dol- as a first-year lawyer?
lars for a client, which required depositions of six
Time management. Its always a struggle.
witnesses, and being elected to the Kids Chance
Some of the best advice I received as a defense
of South Carolina Board of Directors, founded
attorney is to try to pick up the paper only one
in 1992 to aid the children of South Carolina
workers who have been fatally or catastrophically time: read it, do everything that needs to be done
injured in a work-related accident. Im proud with it, and move on. Too often we read some-
to be part of an organization where more than thing, move on to something else, then have to
$800,000 in scholarships has allowed these chil- come back and read the same paper and do tasks
dren to pursue their educational dreams without over and over.
financial burden, she said. In addition to Kids
Chance, Kirkham is active in the Junior League When you were a child, what did you
of Columbia and the South Carolina Workers want to be when you grew up?
Compensation Educational Association. She A news anchor. I idolized Tom Brokaw and
graduated with high honors from Clemson wanted to be the anchor for the NBC Nightly
University with a B.A. in Political Science and News. Now, Im too opinionated for an anchor
earned her law degree from the Florida State position.
University College of Law with high honors in
2010. She became certified as a Medicare Set-
job. Its challenging and always changing, it keeps What is your favorite vacation destination
Aside Consultant in 2011.
me on my toes. I love that my days fly by with and why?
What are the challenges you face and different cases and issues. Little Gasparilla Island, Florida. Its a sev-
what are the rewards you enjoy from en-mile island that is not accessible by land. My
practicing law? Why is it important for a woman to pursue family has had a house on the island for over 50
We all have the issue of a work-life balance. I positions of leadership, both professionally years. White-sand beaches with lots of shells and
have two young children, so I make it a priority and through community service? shark teeth, and the most amazing Florida west
to be home for dinner with them. But I love my Were organized and committed. Were prob- coast sunset.

Christopher R. Koon
The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina | Columbia

hris Koon, senior vice president and gen-
eral counsel for the Electric Cooperatives What inspires you to get up and go to
of South Carolina in Columbia, works work each morning?
hard to improve the lives of low-income South Its been a difficult year for our family. My
Carolinians, especially those who are living in wonderful wife, Tanya Gee, was my law school
extreme poverty. Before joining the Electric classmate, a state circuit court judge and a joyful
Cooperatives, Koon worked at Nelson Mullins, soul. We lost her last year to cancer. Luckily,
where he served on the trial team representing Tanya and I were blessed with two wonderful
school districts seeking minimally adequate children. Our son, Will, is 12, and our daugh-
school funding, and today, he leads a team that ter, Sabin, is 9. Their positive attitude, spirit of
has helped to obtain passage of legislation to determination, and limitless energy drive me,
protect South Carolina residents from electricity and these traits serve as a daily reminder of their
disconnection during extreme weather, a pre-pay mother. Will and Sabin inspire me to be the role
initiative to reward residents for energy efficien- model they deserve. They keep me laughing in
cy, and other initiatives to meet the basic ener- the morning, and I am always in a good mood
gy needs of disadvantaged people in the state. when I arrive at the office, thanks to them.
Poverty is difficult to tackle, but I am hopeful
that these efforts will over time put a meaningful What advice would you give a young
dent into this legacy problem for our state, Koon person who is interested in a career in law?
said. Koon, who holds a B.A. in history, political Law school is unique in that it trains you to
science and English from Clemson University, think. While most people think of lawyers as
earned his law degree from the University of courtroom advocates, problem-solving really
South Carolina law school. transcends every discipline. You find lawyers in
dom to focus directly on their needs. We serve 70 pretty surprising places. When I went to law
What led you to veer from a law practice percent of the state, but many of our customers school, I never dreamed that I would become
environment and instead, joining the live in rural areas with significant challenges. an electric utility executive. I was a liberal arts
Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina? Our corporate structure results in a culture that major in college, and I doubt anyone would have
I was attracted to the co-ops because of their focuses on family, community and cooperation. predicted that I would end up here. And yet, it
nonprofit status. Unlike most large companies Whether we are working to bring jobs to our has been a good fit for me. My advice would be
or utilities, co-ops do not have traditional share- service area or energy efficiency opportunities to approach a law career with an open mind and
holders to satisfy. When we make a profit, we re- to our customers, our purpose is always crystal to explore opportunities, even if they might seem
turn it to our customers. This gives us more free- clear- make their lives better. unorthodox or unusual.

Ken H. Lester
Lester & Hendrix LLC | Columbia

en Lester admits hes not good at taking cases. Our program leaves no aspect of the family
instructions from others, so he decided law case uncovered. This work is critical to my
to borrow a phrase from a popular Frank practice for two reasons. As a young man, I was
Sinatra song and do it his way. He founded his surrounded by coaches, teachers and community
law firm, Lester & Hendrix in 1994 and has nev- leaders who supported my dreams, fostered my
er looked back. Today, Lester & Hendrix, which growth and enabled me to reach heights both
specializes in family law, has offices in Columbia, personally and professionally in ways I never
Myrtle Beach and Beaufort/Hilton Head. The could imagine possible. The second reason is
most difficult part of running my own practice completely selfish. The Institute enables me to
is being a small business owner and dealing with get an intense refresher course from the premier
issues of personnel, accounting, taxes and in- family law practitioners across the country, keep-
surance can be a headache, he said. The most ing me on the cutting edge of trial strategy.
rewarding aspects are my clients. Lester earned
his undergraduate and law degrees from the If you could have dinner with three
University of South Carolina. He is a Diplomate notable people, either contemporary or
in the American College of Family Trial Lawyers historic, who would they be and why?
and a Fellow and past president of the Ameri- The first would be Jesus. As a Sunday school
can Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. He has teacher, I have found great fascination in study-
served on the faculty of the National Family Law ing the Bible not only as a religious text, but also
Trial Institute for more than 20 years. as a historical document. I would find it fascinat-
ing to be able to discuss both the historical and
What attracted you to family law? religious significance of his life one on one.
My college aptitude tests indicated I should The next would be Muhammad Ali. As a young
be a mathematician, but I couldnt imagine how man I played a sport every season. I was a Game-
I could make a living, and instead made my way Why is your work with the cock football and baseball player during my col-
to law school. I love people and I live to serve National Family Law Trial Institute lege years and Ali was one of my athletic heroes.
others. Family law seemed like an organic choice. important to you? The third would be Willie Nelson. I am a huge
Family law requires a great deal of mathematical Each summer our faculty takes 48 lawyers fan of classic country and western music and
aptitude when valuing and dividing marital assets from around the nation at various stages of their have always loved his albums. I have also found
of the marriage. practice and we teach them from start to finish him a charming, self-deprecating person with a
the most effective way to try complex family law great sense of humor

A quality of life ranked #4 in the nation by The Princeton Review

with a faculty ranked #9.
All located in the city voted #1 in the world by Travel + Leisure.

Welcome to the

Cory E. Manning
Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough | Columbia

ory Manning, a partner with Nelson is the front-line protector of the rule of law and
Mullins Riley & Scarborough in Colum- truth. Our current political leaders appear to have a
bia, is known for his prowess as a mentor. waning respect for the rule of law and truth. Now
My team leader described my mentoring skills more than ever it is important to support those
as among the best he has ever seen, Manning institutions that seek to bolster protections for the
said. That feedback is among the most cherished rule of law and truth as opposed to those institu-
I have received in my nearly 20 years in practice. tions that seek to compromise such protections.
Manning who graduated magna cum laude from My involvement in various community organiza-
the University of Northern Iowa with a B.A. in tions stems from a desire to contribute something
political science and government, earned his law positive to the community and make it a better
degree with distinction from the University of place to live. In my opinion, there is no better way
Iowa law school. At Nelson Mullins, he co-chairs to get involved in your community than to con-
the firms government investigations and white tribute your time, treasure, and/or talent to a cause
collar defense practice group. Active in a variety and work with others towards a common goal.
of community and professional organizations,
Manning is on the executive committee of Co- What advice would you give to a young
lumbias Light the Night Walk, sponsored by the lawyer embarking on his or her career?
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. He is also on Dont limit yourself. Practice on the edge,
the Central Carolina Community Fund execu- outside of your comfort zone. Learn new things.
tive committee. He is an adjunct professor at the Take on new cases in new areas. You just might
University of South Carolina law school and a like it. Also, respect the profession. Dont tell
member of the American Law Institute. lawyer jokes. Theyre usually not funny anyway.

What inspires you to get up and go to When you were a child what did you
work every day? puzzles my clients bring me. Each day brings a want to be when you grew up and why?
My job is to read and write and analyze new challenge. I wanted to be a veterinarian, because I love
problems for individuals and entities who come animals.
to me and say, What should I do? Frequently, I Why is it important to give back to
am asked to present my solutions to these prob- your profession and your community What is your favorite way to spend down
lems on behalf of my clients. This is an awesome through involvement with a variety of legal, time?
responsibility and one that I take very seriously. business and nonprofit organizations? Walking at Harbison State Forest with my
In addition, I simply love figuring out the daily I give back to the legal profession because it wife Tina and my dog Jo Jo.

Curtis Bostic!
- 2017 -
Leadership in law

Congratulations to
Jodi Westbrook Flowers
for all her accomplishments

Asbestos & Mesothelioma
Catastrophic Injury & Wrongful Death
Consumer & Product Liability
...what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love
Medical Drugs & Devices
kindness, and to walk humbly with
your God? - Micah 6:8

10 S O U T H C A R O L I N A L A W Y E R S W E E K LY L E A D E R S H I P I N T H E L AW
Steve A. Matthews
Haynsworth Sinkler & Boyd | Columbia

s a 7th grader, Steve Matthews de- experience and what did you learn from it?
veloped a deep admiration for former Nile Bell, a partner at Dewey Ballantine, was
president Ronald Reagan, and as a rising my mentor in my early days as a corporate finance
senior in college, he spent his scholarship money lawyer. He was a student of business and of people
to travel to Kansas City to volunteer at the 1976 and understood both remarkably well. He was
GOP Convention, where Reagan would chal- unflappable. From him, I learned three things:
lenge Gerald Ford for the presidential nomina- never release any work product until you were sat-
tion. In 1985, Attorney General Edwin Meese isfied it was as close to perfect as you could make
asked Matthews to join the U.S. Department it; in any transaction, the corporate lawyer should
of Justice as a deputy assistant attorney general understand the entire deal, and a lawyer should
and help handle the process of selecting candi- always remain detached in order to be an observer
dates for the federal judiciary. Not only was that of events as well as a participant. Edwin Meese
assignment tremendously rewarding, but I got to is my other important mentor. He is the perfect
work with some of the most dedicated, decent, example of selfless dedication to deeply-held but
patriotic and brilliant people one can imagine, closely-examined values, and of great and genuine
Matthews said. He went on to serve as executive care and affection for those with whom he came
assistant to the attorney general and participated in contact. From Ed and his wife Ursula I learned
in the Iran-Contra investigations. Later, Presi- the worth of selflessness, the importance of loyalty,
dent George W. Bush nominated Matthews to and the beauty of restraint in the exercise of power.
a seat on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals,
but that year, the Senate failed to act on the pres- What profession would you pursue if you
idents judiciary nominations. Matthews is coun- were not a lawyer?
sel and shareholder at Haynsworth Sinkler and I would be a teacher. In college I expected to
Boyd of Columbia. He graduated magna cum there is always an excitement and challenge in make my way in the world as a history professor,
laude from the University of South Carolina and advocating for a clients position against someone but in my senior year, my mentor at Carolina
earned his law degree at the Yale Law School. else whose position is at best divergent or perhaps advised that graduate school and academic life
casually hostile, the satisfaction of having clients seemed a sure road to starvation and suggested I
What is the most rewarding aspect of ask for advice because they value our experience consider something else. I dont regret going to
your job now? and trust your judgment is wonderfully satisfying. law school, but if I were to do something else, I
I enjoy being a counselor or adviser as much would like to teach either history or literature at
as I enjoy being an attorney or advocate. While What was your best mentoring the middle school or high school level.

LABOR AND Nelson Mullins congratulates

Cory E. Manning
For 40 years, Ogletree Deakins has built on
the high standards of its founders and their
on winning the 2017 SC Leadership in Law Award
dedication to exceptional client service. One
of the largest labor and employment law firms
representing management in all types of
employment-related legal matters, Ogletree
Deakins has more than 800 lawyers located
in 51 offices across the United States and in
Europe, Canada, and Mexico.
Register at to receive updates
on recent developments in labor and employment law.

The Ogletree Building

EMPLOYERS AND LAWYERS, 300 North Main Street

Greenville, SC 29601
Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP
Attorneys and Counselors at Law
Meridian | 17th Floor
1320 Main Street | Columbia, SC 29201
WORKING TOGETHER. 803.799.2000 | 864.271.1300


Daniel E. Henderson & Ronnie L. Crosby



L E A D E R S H I P I N T H E L AW S O U T H C A R O L I N A L A W Y E R S W E E K LY 11
Kevin M. McCarrell
Smith Moore Leatherwood | Greenville

evin McCarrell considers his election to job and what are the greatest rewards?
the partnership of his Greenville firm, The greatest challenge is time management, in
Smith Moore Leatherwood, as one of particular when you find yourself in a rabbit hole
his most significant accomplishments. Our firm of a legal issue, but the client is not interested
and its predecessor, Leatherwood Walker Todd because there may a relatively small amount of
& Mann, have been amongst the most respected money at stake. The greatest rewards are helping
law firms in Greenville for over a half century, clients solve their problems in a cost-efficient and
he says. There are so many great lawyers asso- creative manner.
ciated with the firm, that to be counted among
their ranks is a great honor. The SML family Name one person who you consider to
is one I am proud to be a part of. McCarrell have had the greatest impact on your life
joined the firm in 2008, after earning his law and/or career?
degree, cum laude, from the University of South For my career, it would be far and away
Carolina law school. He graduated with honors Marion Hughes, a now-retired partner here at
from the South Carolina Honors College at the Smith Moore Leatherwood. Marion took me
University of South Carolina Moore School of under his wing as a brand new lawyer in 2008
Business with a degree in finance and economics. and mentored me in the field of bankruptcy and
He serves as treasurer of Compass of Carolina, debtor-creditor law during the worst economic
a Greenville organization that offers counseling crisis in many years. Aside from the substantive
services to individuals and families. He also vol- law, he also instilled many lessons on ethics, life,
unteers with South Carolina Bankruptcy Court and Gamecock sports.
CARE Program, which presents financial liter-
acy information to students in high schools and What was your favorite subject in your
middle schools. undergraduate studies and are you still
work within the bankruptcy world. I also enjoy interested in that subject today?
Why are you attracted to the practice of learning the language of bankruptcy law that has My favorite subject in undergraduate studies
bankruptcy law? its own unique quirks and tics outside of other was economics. I decided I didnt have the math
The bankruptcy bar in South Carolina is a law practices. skills to go on to graduate studies, but I certainly
relatively small group, and it is a very collegial still enjoy reading about (or listening to podcasts
and friendly bunch, which it makes it fun to What are the greatest challenges in your on) economic policy and theory.

Elder Law
Congratulations to
Christopher r. Koon
Franchelle Senior Vice President
Millender & General Counsel
The Electric Cooperatives
& her fellow honorees of South Carolina, Inc.
on receiving the 2017 Leadership in Law Honoree

2017 South
Carolina Lawyers
Weekly Leadership
in Law Award
808 Knox Abbott Drive, Cayce, SC 29033-3311
1441 Main Street | Suite 725 | Columbia, SC 29201 (803) 796-6060 |
803.733.3433 |

Do you know a legal professional licensed & practicing

law in the state of South Carolina, who has gone
above & beyond in their profession & their community?
Let us know by nominating them for the 2018 awards!
FOCUSED LEGAL COU NSEL FOR YOU. Please visit our events page to nominate & learn more:
1476 Ben Sawyer Blvd. | Suite 5 | Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
843.849.8744 |

12 S O U T H C A R O L I N A L A W Y E R S W E E K LY L E A D E R S H I P I N T H E L AW
Edward G. McDonnell
McDonnell and Associates | Columbia

dward McDonnell, founder and CEO I went into the practice of law because of the
of McDonnell and Associates of Co- versatility in career paths, but knew I would be
lumbia, has expanded his education an entrepreneur. Challenges: As a business owner,
beyond undergraduate and law degrees. After you are responsible for the well-being of all
earning B.A. degrees in corporate communi- employees, and as such, there is never a time to
cations and philosophy from the College of stop striving to make stability a reality. Rewards:
Charleston and his law degree from the Uni- Starting with two stacks of bankers boxes and a
versity of South Carolina law school, he re- door for a desk, and watching the company grow
turned to USC for his masters in international enough to provide for several families. In the
business studies. He founded his law firm in meantime, doors are now used as high end desks
2003. McDonnells latest venture is The Honor in trendy offices.
Project, a charitable organization structured to
make grants to other 501(c)(3) organizations to What inspires you to get up and go to
improve the communities in and around Co- work each morning?
lumbia. He is active in a variety of professional The desire to improve our processes and cus-
and community organizations, including serv- tomer service on a daily basis.
ing on the boards of directors of the building
Industry Association of Central South Caro- Describe the Honor Project. Why was it
lina and the Sales and Marketing Council of important for you to start it?
Greater Columbia. McDonnell and Associates The Honor Project is our fundraising effort to
was recognized in the Inc. 5000 List as being help support other charities in our community.
among the fastest growing private companies
in the United States for three consecutive years If you were not a lawyer, what profession
in 2014, 2015 and 2016. The firm is a certified would you like to pursue?
Palmetto military employer, reflecting Mc- shared receptionist to exceeding 130 employees I would be a psychologist.
Donnells commitment to integrating military in 2016, he said.
personnel into private sector employment. Hes What is your favorite way to spend
proud of his firms success. My greatest person- What led you to start your own law firm? weekends?
al achievement would be growing a law practice What were the challenges and what are I like to relax by spending as much time out-
from initially beginning with a sole attorney and the rewards? side as possible with friends and family.

Stafford J. Mac McQuillin III

Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd | Charleston

hen Mac McQuillan was in high it. Our children are the future of South Carolina.
school, he started a youth surfing
mentorship program at Isle of Palms. How/why did you get involved in the
McQuillan moved on to the next chapter in Lord Berkeley Conservation Trust?
his career and life, but other kids took over the I was elected to serve on the Board of Direc-
program and grew it. We started with about tors for the Lord Berkeley Conservation Trust.
five surfers and when I handed over the reins to I believe stewardship is homegrown. I grew up
one of the younger surfers I had mentored, the surfing, fishing and hunting in the Lowcountry,
group had about 75 surfers, McQuillan says. and I became involved with the Conservation
It was a real honor to see the younger guys Trust to ensure that the Lowcountrys natural re-
that I mentored take over the program, which sources that I grew up enjoying with my father can
continued for many years. Today, McQuillan is be enjoyed by my children and future generations.
a shareholder at Haynesworth Sinkler Boyd of
Charleston where his practice focuses on guiding If you were not a lawyer, what profession
individuals and local businesses through complex would you pursue?
lawsuits, including frequently litigating LLC and I knew I wanted to be a lawyer at a young age
partnership disputes, probate, estate and trust and absolutely love practicing law; however, if I
cases and litigation involving local governments. was forced to pursue another career, I would be
McQuillan is a graduate of the University of an FBI agent to experience the investigative side
South Carolina with a degree in political science of pursuing justice.
with honors. He earned his law degree, cum
laude, from the University of South Carolina law Who was your childhood hero and why?
school. In 2014, he was elected to the Berkeley My childhood hero is my grandfather, Den-
County School Board. He currently serves as the nis Dale, affectionately known as Pop. Pop
boards vice chairman. gaged on the Berkeley County School Board in was dedicated to his family and worked hard
one of the states largest school districts with more as a blue-collar worker to support his wife and
What led you to run for election to the than 33,000 students and cumulative budgets children. Pop was also civic-minded and active in
Berkeley County School Board? north of $300,000,000. The governance side of supporting the community, including serving the
My greatest personal achievement and motiva- public service can be difficult and challenging at homeless. He had a lot to be proud of but was
tion is being a father to my two children, Stafford times, but seeing the talents and achievements of always humble and a gentleman. I try to live my
and Meriwether. They motivated me to be en- the students is rewarding and makes it all worth life by his example.

L E A D E R S H I P I N T H E L AW S O U T H C A R O L I N A L A W Y E R S W E E K LY 13
Julie O. Medich
Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd | Charleston

ulie Medich was a CPA with PriceWater- at the leadership level leads to greater success.
house for two years before becoming an Without women in leadership positions, the
attorney in 1993. She joined Haynesworth diversity of thought is lacking, and the outcomes
Sinkler Boyd of Charleston in 1995 and today for the team suffer.
is a shareholder and team leader for the firms
corporate practice group. She is one of just a few Why is it personally important for you
female corporate attorneys handling large merg- to give back through mentoring young
er and acquisition matters in South Carolina. lawyers?
Medich holds a B.S. degree in accounting from I clerked for Justice Jean Toal, who repeatedly
Miami University of Ohio, and a law degree from told women to leave the ladder down for those
the University of South Carolina. She initiated behind you. I take that motto very seriously.
the Womens Leadership Council for the Tri-
dent United Way and the Executive Womens How do you balance your busy job and
Roundtable Series at the Charleston Chamber,
your personal life?
two significant womens leadership programs in
One of my goals throughout my career has
Charleston. Her best moment as a mentor came
been to live a balanced life, and I make a concen-
when one of her mentees nominated her for the
trated effort to achieve that balance. This means
Trident United Way Womens Leadership Role
different things to everyone, but to me, it means
Model Award. She included items in the nomi-
nation that meant so much to her, that I did not giving to my family, my work, my community, my
even remember doing, like calling her when she religion and myself. I try to schedule time in my
was on maternity leave to encourage her that day for the areas of my life that are most import-
she would be able to balance work and a young ant to me, because I am not a believer that it will
child, Medich said. Her nomination has meant just happen. Also, I have a wonderful husband
the world to me. ments that were made before the court. I truly who is very supportive of my career and helps me
learned the difference between a lawyer that was achieve that balance.
What did you learn from your overly prepared and one that was not. I knew
experiences as a first-year lawyer that which one I wanted to be. What is your favorite vacation destination
shapes the lawyer you are today? and why?
I was fortunate as a first-year lawyer to clerk Why do you feel it is important for My favorite vacation destination is a place
for a South Carolina Supreme Court justice, women to rise to positions of leadership? where there is a totally different culture and
where I was able to listen to all of the oral argu- Studies have consistently shown that diversity native language.

Franchelle C. Millender
Millender Elder Law | Columbia

ranchelle Millender fell in love with elder stem from the same source. I have independence
law when it first became a recognized and control, but that means I have to handle or
area of the law and has spent the last 25 oversee everything and all mistakes are mine.
years of her practice working with elders who While the business side of owning a firm is
need help. After practicing law for 34 years, she time-consuming and often frustrating, it is worth
started Millender Elder Law in Columbia in it to be able to practice law in a way that fits my
2011. She earned both her undergraduate and needs and allows me to best meet the needs of
law degrees from the University of South Car- my clients.
olina. She is active in a variety of organizations
devoted to elder issues, including the Alzheimers What attracts you to the elder law
Association and the South Carolina Bar Guard- practice area?
ianship and Conservatorship Task Force. She is I began my practice in real estate and basic
founding chair of the South Carolina Bars Elder estate planning. In the early 1990s, I saw an
Law Committee. Millender donates her time as article about a new practice area that seemed to
a frequent speaker on elder law before churches be a perfect combination of the areas I loved and
and civic groups. I have worked very hard to do clients I enjoyed. Working with older clients is
the best for these deserving clients by continuing rewarding. They ask for advice, they listen, and
to challenge myself to be a better lawyer through are generally appreciative of efforts on their be-
studies, conferences, writing, teaching, and by half. Counseling, advocacy and problem-solving
being actively involved in the professional orga- are all necessary elements and are personally and
nizations that provide cutting edge information professionally satisfying to me.
of importance to my clients, she said.
Why do women make good leaders?
What influenced your decision to eight-person firm, then a larger firm, then back Women are generally good listeners and by lis-
start your own law firm? What are the to a smaller firm. In 2011, I elected to go solo tening well, they are able to work collaboratively to
challenges, and what are the rewards? and have my firm focus exclusively on elder law. solve problems and accomplish goals. Over the last
One reason I decided to go to law school I like my clients; I like the work I do. I also like 50 years, professional women have had to prove
was to be able to make my own choices as to the people I work with and I know they share my themselves as more than capable, so we have a
what I did and how I did it. I started out with goals and my values. As with most things in life, tendency to push ourselves and challenge ourselves
one partner, and then became a partner in an the greatest benefits and the greatest liabilities to try a little harder and go a little further.

14 S O U T H C A R O L I N A L A W Y E R S W E E K LY L E A D E R S H I P I N T H E L AW
E. Wade Mullins III
Bruner Powell Wall & Mullins, LLC | Columbia

s managing partner at Bruner Powell and staff enjoy and are excited to come to work
Wall & Mullins, Wade Mullins appre- each day.
ciates the opportunity to help shape the
strategic direction of his firm. He succeeded Jim What was the greatest lesson you learned
Bruner who established the firm in 1991. After as a first-year lawyer and how did that
earning his undergraduate degree from Van- lesson shape the lawyer you are today?
derbilt University in 1990, Mullins spent a year I had great mentors when I first started my
working on the U.S. House of Representatives practice. They emphasized that I was embarking
Rules Committee staff. He went on to earn his on a profession marked by civility. This was prior
law degree from the University of South Caro- to the introduction of our Civility Oath by the
lina law school. He joined Bruner Powell Wall Bar. Regardless of the situation, I was instructed
& Mullins in 1999. His father, who is also an that it is important to treat your colleagues with
attorney, has made it a priority to mentor young courtesy and respect. While my efforts have some-
associates, and Mullins is following in those foot- times been tested, it is an approach to my practice
steps. He is a member of the John Belton ONe- that I have carried with me from my first year.
all Inn of Court, which prioritizes mentoring
young lawyers and law students. Mullins is active You served as a board member of a
in his community and currently serves on Caroli- Girl Scout organization. How did you get
na Childrens Home Board of Directors and was involved with the Girl Scouts and what
long active with the Girl Scouts of the Congaree were the rewards?
when his four daughters were young. I have four daughters, and I think that entitles
me to automatic admission to the Girl Scout
What is your favorite aspect of serving as Board. I did enjoy my time with the Girl Scouts,
managing partner of your firm? What are address and solve every issue as it is presented, particularly participating in the Women of
the challenges? which is not the most effective style of manage- Distinction program. The Girl Scouts recognizes
There are certainly numerous challenges ment. My challenge is to prioritize those issues local women each year who have had a signif-
in managing a law firm. Obviously, having to and focus on a manageable to do list to best icant impact on our community. To see what
balance the management responsibilities with move the firm forward. I am fortunate to be able impact these women of distinction had on our
maintaining your practice can be trying at times. to build on the priorities Jim Bruner, our former young girls scouts was rewarding. It gives girls
I am presented with firm management issues managing partner, set in creating a culture and confidence and faith that they can pursue their
on a daily basis. There is a tendency to want to environment where my partners, our associates passion and be successful.

David T. Pearlman
Steinberg Law Firm | Charleston

avid Pearlman followed his fathers system, when what injured workers wants is to
footsteps into the law. A lifelong get their lives back.
Charlestonian, Pearlman is the son of
the Honorable Gus H. Pearlman, who served as You are following in your fathers
a probate judge for Charleston County for more footsteps in the practice of law. What
than 35 years. He taught me that everyone de- lessons did he teach you?
serves respect, dignity and equal justice no matter My father taught me that it is an honor, a
their background, and it is to that end that I have privilege and a solemn responsibility to practice
conducted my professional career, Pearlman says. law. The practice of law demands dedication and
A graduate of George Washington University, commitment. Everyone is entitled to respect, dig-
he earned his law degree from the University of nity and equal justice under the law.
South Carolina law school and joined the Stein-
berg Law Firm, where he has been a partner What was your very first job and what did
since 1980. He practices in the workers compen- you learn from it?
sation area and is a past chairman of the South I worked many jobs in high school, college
Carolina Bar Associations Workers Compensa- and during law school. I learned the value of hard
tion Section. He is a past recipient of the Ged- work and dedication.
ney M. Howe Jr. Award for Outstanding Public
Service, and over the years he has enjoyed serving What advice would you give to a law
as a mentor to many young lawyers. school student or young attorney just
starting out?
Discuss your work fighting for workers Be patient, grow a practice one client at a time,
rights under the workers compensation value and respect your reputation and always
laws. What are the challenges and what are are out of work and to obtain necessary medical remember there but for the grace of God go I.
the rewards? treatment for a recovery to get back to work. The
Fighting for injured workers is both rewarding frustration and challenges are the roadblocks, What is your favorite way to spend family
and challenging. It is immensely rewarding to misconceptions and delays caused by insurance time?
help injured workers receive the compensation companies. There is a constant misperception Dinner, discussions over martinis (my children
they need to provide for their families while they that injured workers are taking advantage of the are grown) and traveling.

L E A D E R S H I P I N T H E L AW S O U T H C A R O L I N A L A W Y E R S W E E K LY 15
Marie-Louise Ramsdale
Ramsdale Law Firm | Mount Pleasant

fter working as a practicing attorney,
nonprofit executive and consultant for Describe your greatest experience as a
14 years, Marie-Louise Ramsdale started mentor?
her own law firm in 2007, specializing in family Im not sure there is just one greatest experi-
law. Over the last decade, she has grown her firm ence. I try to be a good role model for the attor-
to eight employees. She seeks to provide compe- neys I work with, other attorneys, students I help
tent representation to clients and develop positive
and my children.
relationships with other practitioners. She enjoys
her work as a coach with the South Carolina
Mock Trial Program, training up to 15 Moultrie What inspires you to get up and go to
Middle School students each year to be lawyers work each morning?
and witnesses. Last year, her team won the state My alarm clock.
championship. I try hard every day to be a role
model and mentor, not only to younger lawyers in What is your definition of work-life
my practice, but to younger bar members and my balance?
peers, she said. My career as a lawyer is import- I am not sure there is a balance. It is fact
ant to me, and I try to give back my time, money of life that sometimes work demands more of
and skill whenever I can. Ramsdale earned her you, sometimes its community involvement and
B.A. degree, magna cum laude, from the Universi- sometimes its children. I aim to focus each day
ty of South Carolina Honors College, and her law on what is most pressing. It is also important for
degree, cum laude, from Harvard Law School. She me to fit exercise into my life.
is immediate past president of the South Caroli-
na Bar Foundation. She is also a member of the
If you could eat one special dish at every
South Carolina Bars Pro Bono Committee and
the Ninth Circuit Pro Bono Committee. members of the family court bar. I consider many meal without counting the calories, what
of my courtroom adversaries to be my friends. would that be and why?
Describe your experience starting Challenge: Technology. I still color code my I cannot think of one dish I would want at
and growing your law firm. What are the paper files. However, 2017 is the year for me to every meal, but I do know that bacon makes ev-
rewards and what are the challenges? become technologically advanced. You can even erything better. I would drive out of my way for a
Reward: Developing relationships with other find me on Twitter and Slack now. McDonalds Filet-O-Fish.

Beth Burke Richardson

Sowell Gray Robinson Stepp & Laffitte | Columbia

fter stepping away from practicing law meaningful and fulfilling, so I am constantly work-
for several years to care for her small chil- ing to turn that clients problem around in my head
dren, Beth Richardson returned to her until the right next step or solution is found.
profession, joining Sowell Gray Robinson Stepp
& Laffitte as special counsel in 2014. She focuses You are active in a number of
her practice on business disputes, False Claims professional organizations including
Act litigation, and professional malpractice mat- some that promote women in law. Why
ters in courtroom and arbitration settings, an on should women aspire to leadership
appellate advocacy in the 4th U.S. Circuit Court positions within their careers or in their
of Appeals. My passion for the practice of law communities?
has never been more complete, she said. I have Gender gaps and inequities in the law are alive
also embraced meaningful roles at Sowell Gray, and well. Part of the solution to these issues is
such as originating a new and growing client base
giving more women a voice in leadership po-
and leading the firms appellate advocacy, qui tam,
sitions and encouraging them to devote their
and women lawyers groups. Richardson holds
professional lives to lengthy careers in the law.
a B.A. in womens studies from Duke University
Children naturally dream to be what they see and
and earned her law degree with honors from the
are inspired by around them.
Washington University law school, where she
was editor-in-chief of the Washington University
Law Review. In 2000, she helped establish an un- Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
dergraduate course called Women in the Law, As a wife, mother and lawyer. Same as today,
which not only still exists, but continues to grow. just more wise and wonderful.
She is active in a variety of civic and professional
organizations, including the Federal Bar Associa- How has your personal life enriched your
tion, of which she is currently serving as secretary ed by the exceptional lawyers, paralegals, and professional life?
of the South Carolina Chapter. assistants at Sowell Gray Robinson is the most I am lucky to have a husband, Matthew, who is
rewarding aspect of my job. an accomplished lawyer and life-time student of
What is the most rewarding aspect of the law. He is a renaissance man, I say, when it
your position as Special Counsel at Sowell What inspires you to get up and go to comes to the law and has always been an ardent
Gray Robinson? work each morning? supporter of my career as a lawyer, and eager to
Advocating for clients alongside and support- Lifting a problem off a clients shoulders is discuss legal issues.

16 S O U T H C A R O L I N A L A W Y E R S W E E K LY L E A D E R S H I P I N T H E L AW
John W. Roberts
Willoughby & Hoefer | Columbia

ohn Roberts is a young lawyer who is already needs and their families. I serve on the Board
racking up significant accomplishments. of Directors. Through Big Brothers Big Sisters
An attorney with Willoughby & Hoefer of Greater Columbia, I act as a Big Brother
of Columbia since 2011, Roberts practices civil to Zach, an 8-year old boy growing up in sin-
litigation, business, administrative and healthcare gle-parent home. It is rewarding to be a mentor
law, as well as taxation law. He graduated magna to Zach and provide support as a male figure in
cum laude from Clemson University with a B.S. his life.
in management and earned his law degree, magna
cum laude, from the Charleston School of Law. Looking back on your first year as a
He received his Master of Laws in Taxation from lawyer, what do you wish you had known
the University of Florida Levin College of Law. as you embarked on your career?
He and a partner in the firm recently prevailed in I am lucky to work for a law firm that provides
a complex tax case representing the State of South tremendous guidance and support to its attor-
Carolina against tax refund claims by a large neys, especially during the first years out of law
out-of-state corporation for over $125 million. school, so there is not much that I wish I had
Knowing I played an integral role in protecting known. However, my takeaway from those initial
South Carolina from losing such a significant years was that law school is simply the start of a
amount of money certainly is a great source of lawyers education, which will and should contin-
pride for me, he said. Roberts enjoys volunteering ue every day of practicing law.
in his community, especially his work with Family
Connection of South Carolina and Big Brothers, What is your favorite vacation destination
Big Sisters of Greater Columbia. and why?
My wife and I traveled to Asia this past
What attracts you to the practice area of December and early January to visit friends who
is rewarding to find solutions for our clients that
business and taxation law? recently moved from South Carolina to China.
I enjoy the variety of my practice. I am essen- better their lives and businesses. We visited Beijing and the Great Wall; explored
tially a problem-solver. I am fortunate to work Seoul, South Korea and the nearby DMZ; and
at a firm that allows me to do both transactional Why is your work with the Family then finished our trip in Hong Kong where we
and litigation work on a wide range of matters Connection and Big Brothers Big Sisters watched the New Years fireworks show from 118
for many different types of clients. With my important to you? stories above the Hong Kong harbor. The entire
transactional work, I am able to help my clients Family Connection of South Carolina is an trip was an incredible experience and being able
avoid problems before they arise. On the litiga- extraordinary non-profit organization that pro- to share that experience with our two friends
tion side, I fix problems after they have arisen. It vides support for children with special healthcare made it even better.

Sandra J. Senn
Senn Legal, LLC | Charleston

hen Sen. Paul Thurmond retired Charleston market. I never regretted it.
from the South Carolina Senate,
Sandy Senn won his District 41 seat, What are the challenges and what are
representing Charleston and Dorchester coun- the rewards?
ties. Among her many significant professional Being the Queen (decision maker) is the
achievements over the course of her 26-year reward but the primary challenge is knowing I
career as an attorney, she considers her election have 12 families depending on me to make sure
victory as one of her best. Senn holds a degree in our firm is successful.
journalism from the University of South Car-
olina and went on to earn her law degree from What led you to get involved in politics
the USC law school. She served as a clerk for and getting elected to the South Carolina
U.S. District Judge Henry M. Herlong Jr. and as Senate?
a state law clerk for Judge David F. McInnis Jr. I have always followed politics, but the Walter
She entered private practice in 1992, focusing on Scott case, which I was defending, was one of
governmental defense. In 2011 she founded Senn the reasons I knew that the time was right to get
Legal, practicing civil governmental defense and involved.
representing elected officials and served as gen-
eral counsel for the South Carolina Sheriff s As- Why do you believe women should
sociation. An animal lover, she has served on the aspire to positions of leadership?
South Carolina Anti-Dog Fighting Task Force Why wouldnt we? The hand that rocks the
and the John Acrum SCPA board of directors. cradle can literally and not just metaphorically
She is a Charleston County Republican Party rule the world and make it better.
delegate, chairs the Canoeing-For-Kids Charity,
co-chairs the South Carolina Mentor Project for scuba diving, boating and hunting fossils. How has your personal life enriched your
At-Risk Kids and is active in the South Carolina professional life?
Lawyers Reading is Delicious program. My best Why did you start your own law firm? If not for a supportive husband and family, I
moment as a mentor is serving as chairperson I started my own firm in August of 1997, would never have been able to even run for office,
for Reading is Delicious, she said. Reading at which is seven years after graduating from much less get elected. Family is everything.
Sanders-Clyde Elementary School fills me with USC law school. I clerked for a federal and
joy because the kids are so eager to learn and at- a state judge, worked for a defense firm for Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
tentive to detail. She enjoys running marathons, five years, then stepped out in a competitive Que sera, sera.

L E A D E R S H I P I N T H E L AW S O U T H C A R O L I N A L A W Y E R S W E E K LY 17
Angela G. Strickland
Bowman and Brooke | Columbia

partner in the Columbia law firm of even outside of the law, and it is our obligation to
Bowman and Brooke since 2009, Angela give back with our time and energy.
Strickland has practiced law for more
than a decade, after earning her law degree from What advice would you give young
the University of South Carolina law school women to encourage them to seek
in 2005. After graduating from law school, she positions of leadership?
served as a law clerk to Judge Alison Renee Lee I have found that most women who choose
for a year, and went on to practice in the products this career already have some amount of leader-
liability area. She is active in a variety of pro- ship skill and confidence to start, but it is easy to
fessional and community organizations, includ- get bogged down in the workload and lose your
ing serving on the Lander University Board of way at times. It is important to know your worth
Trustees. She graduated from Lander in 2002 and fight for your seat at the table. To not lose
with a B.A. in Political Science and has served your voice, even when you feel tired and worn
on the universitys Alumni Board. As the young- down. We need all different types of personalities
est partner at Bowman and Brooke, Strickland in the profession and women are so important in
is an active mentor to young lawyers. To know this field.
that I have contributed in some small way to the
wonderful lawyer one of my mentees has become Name three well-known people either
is my best moment as a mentor, she said. contemporary or historical you would
enjoy having dinner with and why.
What is the most challenging aspect of John Lennon I love music, especially rock
your law practice and what is the most and roll, and John Lennon was killed right after
rewarding? I was born. I would love to talk to him about
The practice of law is a challenging profession, music and politics.
but if I had to pick the single most challenging rewarding aspects of the practice of law to me. Charles Dickens Reading is one of my great
aspect it would be the work-life balance struggle. loves and he seemed to have such an insight into
My personality is such that I do not often get Why do you spend so much of your time society and the personalities surrounding him.
overly stressed about the actual work that I do, but giving back to your profession through The social commentary in his works indicates he
it is more about finding the time to get everything service in legal organizations? would probably be quite entertaining at a dinner.
done. There is always so much to do, but we have Being an attorney is more than just a day Ruth Bader Ginsburg It would be a great
to strive for that balance that keeps this profession job it is a time-honored profession where are opportunity to speak to her about the law and her
enjoyable. Hard work and good results for clients, expected to be strong leaders in our community journey in her career. She would have such won-
and continually learning and growing are the most as a whole. We develop skills that can help others derful advice for other women in the profession.

Fred W. Suggs Jr.

Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart | Greenville

red Suggs has enjoyed a long career I was practicing among friends Ogletree, Deak-
with Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & ins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart were not just names
Stewart of Greenville since earning his in the firm name, but friends who became family,
law degree from the University of Alabama in like so many others in the firm.
1975. Hes been a shareholder almost the entire
time, focusing on employment and labor. He is How has your professional work
a certified specialist in labor and employment enhanced your personal life?
law by the South Carolina Supreme Court and Separating my professional work as a lawyer
is a Fellow in the College of Labor and Employ- from my personal life is difficult. My clients
ment Lawyers. He has been honored with many are my friends. My family is involved with my
awards during his distinguished career. In 2013, colleagues at our firm and their families, as well
he received the South Carolina Bar Employment as with our clients. My twins are lawyers. Being
and Labor Section Distinguished Lawyer Award,
a lawyer and serving our profession has been a
and in 2016, he received recognition as the Best
personal blessing.
Lawyers award for Lawyer of the Year in Labor
Law-Management for Greenville, the Al Willis
What advice would you give young
Award from the Upstate Employers Network
people who are interested in a law career?
and the 2016 Invaluable Counsel Award from
Dont go into law unless you have a burning
Michelin North Americas Law Department. He
has served as president of the South Carolina desire to be a lawyer. Dont go to law school
Bar and is active in a variety of local community because you cannot think of something else to
organizations. I have practiced law for 41 years, study, because you are not ready to work every
he said. I am thankful for the opportunity to day, or because someone else wants you to be a
limit my practice to labor and employment law lawyer. But, if you want to be a lawyer and you
and to practice with Ogletree, Deakins. degree, no one expected me to stay for 41 years. have a realistic vision of the effort needed to get
But I did. I stayed because the firm had interest- through law school, pass the Bar, and establish a
What influenced your decision to practice ing work, which I was ideologically suited for. I practice, then come on in, the water is fine.
in one firm your entire career, and what are stayed because there was plenty of work some-
the rewards? times too much. I stayed because we had a fine How would you like to be remembered?
In 1975, when I came to the firm as a 28-year- stable of clients who were a joy to work with. I I would like to be remembered as a lawyer
old Army veteran, with a newly minted law stayed because the pay was good. I stayed because who put clients and our profession first.

18 S O U T H C A R O L I N A L A W Y E R S W E E K LY L E A D E R S H I P I N T H E L AW
Paul R. Thurmond
Thurmond Kirchner & Timbes Law Firm | Charleston

aul Thurmond considered it a great enforcement officers to wear body cameras.
honor to serve South Carolinas 41st
District, representing Charleston and How do you know your work as a lawyer
Dorchester counties in the state Senate for has had a positive impact on others?
four years. Every day was different and every I have a firm belief that not all people accused
day was a challenge, but the nicest thing about of crimes are guilty. I want to help those people
serving in elected office is I was able to help a (and even the guilty ones) better their situa-
lot of people and used the power of the office tion. Our legal system is built on the ideals that
for good, he said Prior to being elected to everyone is entitled to a defense and to a lawyer,
the Senate, he held local elective office on the because our rule of law is based upon the premise
Charleston County Council for six years. He is that the State must prove its case against a per-
co-founder and managing partner of Thurmond son beyond a reasonable doubt. In defending the
Kirchner & Timbres Law Firm in Charles- guilty and the innocent, I constantly challenge
ton, established in 2003. He holds a B.A. from the state to be fair, accurate and just. Through my
Vanderbilt and earned his law degree from the work, I have been forced to make sense of what
University of South Carolina law school. actually happened. Criminal defense involves the
life of another person held delicately in the bal-
What were the rewards of serving in ance between proper application of the law and
elected office and how did that service proportional ethical treatment. I have seen the
shape the lawyer you are today? effects my work has on individuals. A well-re-
Working as an attorney, I am able to assist searched argument can lead to someone being
clients and serve the common good on the micro found not guilty. A properly prepared bail ap-
level. While representing the people of South plication can result in someone being allowed to
Carolina, I tried to do things differently. I re- across the street from the South Carolina State be with his or her family while awaiting trial. A
moved the door from my office because I believe House following the deadly shooting at Emanuel well-presented sentencing argument can lead to
in transparency that nothing in my office is done AME church, taking a position I knew people someone being permitted to serve their sentence
behind closed doors. I offered free coffee in my vehemently did not agree with. After Walter in a way that supports rehabilitation.
office to encourage others to come and talk with Scott of Charleston, an African American, was
me about what is going on in our State. I joined shot and killed as he ran from a white police offi- What three qualities do you admire most
fellow Republicans in calling for the Confeder- cer last April, I was an early Republican co-spon- in a person?
ate flag to be removed from a public monument sor of a new law to require state and local law Honesty, integrity and compassion.

Your team does great work

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L E A D E R S H I P I N T H E L AW S O U T H C A R O L I N A L A W Y E R S W E E K LY 19
Robin F. Wheeler
South Carolina Access to Justice Commission | Columbia

s executive director of the South Carolina child, I was encouraged to volunteer for commu-
Access to Justice Commission, Robin nity projects, and volunteerism is second nature to
Wheeler leads the organizations mission me. My involvement in professional organizations
to facilitate collaboration to ensure equal access began in law school. My first day of law school, I
to civil legal assistance for all South Carolinians. went to the pro bono office, and introduced myself
Growing up in a small town in Tennessee she to the director. Even during my first year, I made
looked up to her neighbors, who were attorneys sure I volunteered each semester. It helped to keep
and judges. I admired these leaders greatly, not me grounded, especially when my studies over-
just because they were learned, but because they whelmed me. Volunteering is almost addictive.
exuded respect and fairness, she said. Wheel- Once you help the first person, its much easier to
er went on to become a lawyer herself, earning help the second, then the third, and so on. I cant
a B.A. from Lawrence University and her law imagine being an attorney and not volunteering.
degree from the University of South Carolina law
school. She worked as a staff attorney for Protec- Who are some of the role models you
tion and Advocacy for People with Disabilities looked up to throughout your career?
for eight years before taking her current position My first role model is Pam Robinson, pro
with the Access to Justice Commission in 2007. bono coordinator at the USC School of Law. I
She devotes time to volunteering for a wide vari- respected her opinion in law school, and continue
ety of community and professional organizations, to seek her out to discuss ideas and opportunities.
and in 2014 was named Champion for Mental She offers practical advice, and stays connected
Health, Volunteer of the Year by Mental Health with the legal community. I have been fortunate
America of South Carolina. to work with a variety of judges and attorneys,
who have provided me with a plethora of role
What influenced your decision to fascinated with the judge, the attorneys, the trial, models from the Supreme Court to commission-
become a lawyer? the witnesses, the jury and the process. I pur- ers to passionate volunteer attorneys.
In 1994, I began to date my now-husband, chased a practice LSAT book and started quiz-
who had just graduated from the USC School of zing myself with a kitchen timer. I was accepted What is your favorite vacation activity and
Law. As he started his practice, I met a lot of his to the USC School of Law, and sold my house to why?
friends, many of whom were also recent grad- attend law school. The rest is history. Swimming in the ocean is my absolute favorite
uates, and I began to consider law as a possible pastime. I have always been the first one in and
career. Then I received my first summons for jury Why is it important to give back through the last one out. After that, I am intrigued by
duty, and I was selected for a week-long trial service to community and professional traveling somewhere new or trying something
in the Court of Common Pleas in Greenville organizations? new. I am curious about people, language and
County. I was hooked from the first moment, and Community involvement is in my DNA. As a cultural similarities and differences.

Congratulations to all Honorees and especially

to our own Honoree, John Roberts!


to our Founding MeMber,

Ken Lester
Leadership in Law 2017

803.252.4700 |