Professionalism Series talk to feature first woman to run for SC attorney general

Feb. 26, 2020 — Charleston School of Law professor Constance Anastapoulo was the first woman in South Carolina history to run for state attorney general, winning 769,000 votes in the 2018 election. 

Constance Anastapoulo and her grandmother at age 107

Constance Anastapoulo and her grandmother at age 107

“More votes than Nikki Haley ever got (in a governor’s race),” she points out. (Haley received about 690,000 in each governor’s race.) 

While Professor Anastapoulo certainly didn’t need another job, she was compelled to run for a number of other reasons, the biggest being the influence of her grandmother, a Greek immigrant who lived to be 109 years old. “She was from Sparta, Greece, and was a business woman who worked six days a week until she was 95,” says Anastapoulo. “When I was asked to run, my grandmother had just passed, and it felt like it was time. I wanted my daughters and other young women to see that when my name was called, I got off the sidelines.”

While she ended up losing the race to Alan Wilson, Professor Anastapoulo says she learned a lot by running a statewide campaign. “One of the hardest things I’ve ever done,” she says, pointing out that she has birthed two children. In the end, Professor Anastapoulo is certain that it was worth the long hours and hard work, “I won the day I got in the race and changed the conversation. The next woman who runs, it will be that much easier.”

On Thursday, Feb. 27 at noon, Professor Anastapoulo will be joined on stage at the Charleston Museum by third-year law student Kelly Barber to discuss their experiences and explore what it means to be a lawyer that serves the greater good. 

Consistent with the Charleston School of Law motto, Pro Bono Populi (“for the good of the people”), Professor Anastapoulo has spent her professional career serving her community. She first realized the kind of lawyer and person she wanted to be when she worked on a women’s prison project while attending law school at the University of North Carolina.

“It informed the kind of lawyer I became,” she says. “As a lawyer you can speak for people who don’t have a voice,” she says. “It’s very empowering and that’s what I hope students can take away from this talk.”

Join Professor Constance Anastapoulo and Kelly Barber on Thursday, Feb. 27 at noon at the Charleston Museum for their talk entitled “Attorneys as Civic Leaders.”

About the Professionalism Series

The Charleston School of Law Professionalism Series presents students with real-world insight into the role of professionalism in the field of law. Guest speakers represent a wide range of well-respected judges and practicing attorneys. Practitioners and judges are welcome to attend any of the lectures in the series.

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