APRIL 16, 2018 – As a member of the Charleston School of Law’s first graduating class in 2007, Jennifer Blanchard McCoy knows what it is like to be a trailblazer. On April 12, her hard work culminated in being sworn-in as the first Charleston Law graduate to become a circuit judge in South Carolina. She will be based in the Charleston area.
Judge McCoy’s path to the circuit court bench, which includes service as a part-time Charleston County Magistrate and criminal and civil practice, is a testament to her hard work and desire to serve in the judiciary starting in law school.
“I worked diligently in law school to obtain a judicial externship with U.S. District Judge Sol Blatt, Jr, which opened my eyes to the importance of our judiciary and the high level of professionalism required to do the job right. Judge Blatt taught me to treat all who appear in court with courtesy and respect,” McCoy said.
McCoy, who grew up in Augusta, Ga. and earned her undergraduate degree in English from the University of Georgia in 2002, credits the Charleston School of Law for helping students make connections in the legal community, such as her externship with Judge Blatt.
Immediately after law school graduation, McCoy, clerked for Circuit Judge Markley Dennis, Jr. in Moncks Corner who also heard cases throughout South Carolina. “Judge Dennis taught me to appreciate the positions of the attorneys before me and the delicate balance between clients, attorneys and reaching a fair decision,” McCoy said.
After her judicial clerkship, McCoy gained civil defense litigation experience as an associate attorney for Carlock, Copeland & Stair, LLP in Charleston for three years. She then worked as an assistant solicitor in the 9th Judicial Circuit Solicitor’s Office in Charleston for almost four years.
Desiring judicial experience, McCoy then served as a part-time Charleston County Magistrate from 2015 until she became a circuit judge. She also took limited cases, primarily in criminal defense outside Charleston County and federal cases, in her own private practice.
“I have worked hard for every job I have obtained and every job has prepared me for service as a circuit judge,” McCoy explained. “My father was a World War II Marine veteran and homebuilder and my mother worked as a school teacher and administrator. They instilled in me a strong work ethic.”
In addition to learning from her parents’ example, McCoy, who is married to attorney Peter McCoy, described motherhood as her most humbling and educational life experience. “Being a parent of three children has given me better insight into intrinsic personality differences, as well as patience, perspective and the ability to prioritize the important things in life.”
Having the benefit of career and life lessons and surrounded by family, friends and colleagues, McCoy celebrated the natural path of her legal career.