JAN. 25, 2019 – Jesse Cartrette and FitzLee McEachin were pioneers when they chose to attend the newly opened Charleston School of Law in 2004. Both graduated in 2007 and returned to their hometown of Florence, S.C. to clerk for circuit judges and then practice law. This month, they celebrated another first by being the first Charleston Law graduates to be sworn-in as a popularly elected county probate judge and a legislatively elected family court judge in South Carolina.
After clerking for 12th Judicial Circuit Judge Thomas Russo after law school, Cartrette formed his own law firm. He spent much of his early legal career litigating in circuit, family, and probate courts. He later expanded his practice to serving as a family court mediator and guardian ad litem. He also was a board member and counsel to the Senior Citizens Association of Florence County.
“I am very proud of the education I received as a member of the pioneer class of 2007,” Cartrette said. “With so many honors and blessings I’ve been privileged to have experienced in this life, being a Charleston Law graduate and a part of its legacy in our beloved state ranks among the top. There’s no doubt in my mind that the foundation laid in my legal education shaped fundamentally how I practiced law. The guiding principle of pro bono populi will continue to influence the selfless public servant I strive daily to be as probate judge for the people of Florence County.”
McEachin clerked for 12th Judicial Circuit Judge Michael Nettles after law school. He then worked for the 12th Circuit Solicitor’s Office as an assistant solicitor, first full-time and then part-time upon entering private practice with his father in the firm of McEachin & McEachin, P.A. His private practice focused primarily in the areas of domestic relations and civil litigation.
“Family court, more so than any other court in the state has the opportunity to positively affect the lives of children. Being a family court judge is my greatest opportunity to give back,” McEachin explained. “This value was instilled in me by my father, who also was involved in public service, and by the values espoused at the Charleston School of Law.”
Reflecting on the coincidence of two Charleston Law graduates from the same class and the same hometown becoming judges, McEachin noted, “It speaks volumes about the education we received at the Charleston School of Law.”