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The Charleston School of Law Board of Advisors includes founders of the school and some of South Carolina’s most prominent judges, lawyers and scholars. Members share a commitment to establishing a student-oriented law school premised upon ideals of service to the community, professionalism and excellence in legal education.

The Honorable P. Michael Duffy, Chairman

U.S. District Judge, District of South Carolina
The Citadel, B.A., 1965
University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D., 1968

From 1969 – 72, Judge Duffy served on active duty with the U.S. Army in Germany. From 1973 to 1974, he was the Assistant County Attorney for Charleston County, S.C. He then entered private practice as a partner in the law firm of Hollings & Hawkins and later as a principal in the McNair Law Firm until his appointment to the federal bench on Dec. 27, 1995. Judge Duffy’s areas of practice were civil litigation, including admiralty, aviation, commercial, environmental and construction litigation, and appellate practice. He has been admitted to practice in all courts in South Carolina: U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, U.S. Claims Court, U.S. Tax Court, U.S. Court of International Trade, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Duffy is a permanent member of the Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference. He maintains memberships in the Charleston County and American Bar Associations and served on the Executive Committee of the S.C. Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline from 1986 to 1989. He serves on the Information Technology Committee of the Judicial Conference of the federal courts. Judge Duffy was an Advocate of the American Board of Trial Advocates, where he served as chapter representative to the National Board from 1988 to 1991 and was elected president of the Charleston Chapter in 1991. Judge Duffy is a past president of the Charleston YMCA and Optimist Club of Charleston and was charter president of the S.C. Irish Historical Society in 1979. He serves on the boards of numerous charitable foundations in the United States and Ireland. He is a senior bencher of The Citadel Inn of Court and has served on the board of numerous civic organizations. Judge Duffy has written and lectured widely on various litigation topics and teaches at the National Advocacy Center on a recurring basis. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Law degree from The Citadel in 2000 and is a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at the Charleston School of Law. Judge Duffy is married to the former Katherine Hostetter and they have three children — Katie, Patrick and Brian — and seven grandchildren.

T. Patton Adams IV, Esquire

Executive Director, S.C. Commission on Indigent Defense
Washington & Lee University, B.A., 1965
University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D., 1968

As executive director of the S.C. Commission on Indigent Defense since January 2005, Patton Adams was instrumental in securing passage of legislation in 2007 creating a unified, statewide indigent defense system. A native of Columbia, S.C., he maintained an active private law practice there for more than 28 years. Prior to joining the commission, Mr. Adams served as vice president for government relations and general counsel for a major hospital industry trade association. A Vietnam veteran, Mr. Adams was mayor of Columbia from 1986-1990 and an at-large member of its city council from 1976-1986. Since 1986, he has served as the civilian aide to the Secretary of the Army for South Carolina, an appointment which in 2001 was extended for his lifetime. He is a recipient of the state’s highest civilian honor, the Order of the Palmetto.

Steven R. Anderson, Esquire

Attorney: Law Office of S. R. Anderson, Columbia, S.C.
The Citadel, B.A.
University of South Carolina, M.A.
University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D.

Mr. Anderson was admitted to the South Carolina Bar in 1973. He is a sole practitioner who resides in Columbia.

Charles J. Boykin, Esquire

Attorney: Boykin & Davis, LLC, Columbia, S.C.
Benedict College, B.A., 1974
University of South Carolina, M.P.A., 1977
University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D., 1992

A labor and employment lawyer, Mr. Boykin is a certified Circuit Court mediator and arbitrator and is active in many professional legal groups. He is a shareholder with the law firm of Boykin & Davis, LLC, which is listed in the 2010 Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers. Prior to attending law school, Mr. Boykin worked in public administration with the city of Anderson and Clemson University. He practices in all areas of employment, higher education, public education and local government law, with an emphasis in personnel, school board/superintendent matters, inter-governmental affairs, land use, zoning and litigation. He has recently devoted time to elected officials’ liability issues in South Carolina. Mr. Boykin is chairman of the Board of S.C. Legal Services. In November 2006, he was invited by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission to submit a brief on the practical effects of desegregation orders on K-12 schools. In 2002, Mr. Boykin received the Compleat Lawyer Award from the University of South Carolina in recognition of his contributions to the legal profession. Mr. Boykin holds memberships in the S.C. Bar, Richland County Bar, American Bar Association, S.C. Defense Trial Lawyers Association, and Council of School Attorneys.

Thomas C. Brittain, Esquire

Attorney: The Brittain Law Firm, PA, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Wofford College, B.S., 1975
University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D., 1978

As a private practitioner, Thomas C. “Tommy” Brittain has been involved in many significant trials, both civil and criminal. Brittain is Phi Beta Kappa, Wofford College and U.S. Army, First Calvary Division (Captain). He is a member of the Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference, American Board of Trial Advocates, a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and past chairman of the Wofford College Board of Trustees (2005-2009). In May, 2010 he received an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Wofford College. He has received Martindale-Hubbell’s highest rating. Recently, his three children have joined his practice, which includes criminal law, personal injury and trials in all courts.

The Honorable Richard E. Fields

Retired Judge, Ninth Judicial Circuit, Circuit Court of South Carolina
West Virginia State College, B.S., 1944
Howard University, LL.B., 1947

Judge Fields was admitted to practice before both the Bars of the District of Columbia and South Carolina in 1948. A year later, he returned to Charleston to begin his law practice. In 1969, he was appointed Associate Municipal Court Judge for the city of Charleston and in 1971 became the court’s Presiding Judge. In 1974, Judge Fields was elected by the S.C. General Assembly to the position of Judge of the Family Court in Charleston County and served in this capacity until 1980 when he was elected by the General Assembly to serve as a Judge of the Circuit Court of South Carolina, where he served with distinction until he retired in 1992. Throughout his illustrious career, Judge Fields has served on numerous boards and agencies throughout South Carolina and has maintained active membership in the United Methodist Church. He has served as a delegate to numerous Methodist conferences, as a member of the General Board of Finance and Administration of the United Methodist Church, the corporate body of the church, and as a member of its executive committee for eight years. Before taking the bench, Judge Fields was active in the Democratic Party and in 1968 and 1972 was a delegate to the National Democratic Conventions respectively held in Chicago, Illinois and Miami.

The Honorable Paul W. Garfinkel

Attorney: Young Clement Rivers, LLP, Charleston, SC
University of South Carolina, B.S., 1967
University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D., 1970

Judge Garfinkel was born in Charleston in 1944. He began private practice after receiving his J.D. from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1970. In 1989, Judge Garfinkel joined a firm then known as Riesen, Gardner and Felder, later known as Riesen Law Offices. He was elected to serve as a state Family Court Judge for the Ninth Judicial Circuit in May 1995 and contiues to serve in that position. In 2005, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the Medical University of South Carolina. He has held various leadership positions in legal and community organizations.

Michael D. Glenn, Esquire

Attorney: Glenn, Haigler, McClain & Stathakis, LLP, Anderson, S.C.
Furman University, B.A., 1962
University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D., 1965

Mr. Glenn is admitted to practice in the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, U.S. District Court of Appeals for the Armed Services, U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, and S.C. Supreme Court. Mr. Glenn served as City Judge in Anderson, S.C., (1969-72), County Judge for Anderson County (1972-78), and S.C. Family Court Judge (1977-78). He is a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers, American Bar Association, American Board of Trial Advocates, Association of Trial Lawyers of America, and S.C. Bar. Mr. Glenn has served as a member of the S.C. Bar Board of Governors (1999-2002), Judicial Qualifications Committee (1992-1995), S.C. Supreme Court Board of Commissioners on Grievance and Discipline (1985-88), S.C. Supreme Court Board of Bar Examiners (1990-93), and presently serves on the S.C. Supreme Court ADR Commission.

The Honorable Ernest F. Hollings

The Citadel, B.A.
University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D.

Ernest F. “Fritz” Hollings, a World War II veteran, has enjoyed a remarkable career in public service as a S.C. legislator (1949-1954), Lieutenant Governor (1955-1959), Governor (1959-1963) and U.S. Senator (1966-2004). He was a United States presidential candidate in 1983-84. A visionary workhorse, Sen. Hollings has focused throughout his career on putting government on a sound financial basis and promoting economic development to create opportunities. Recognized as a policy expert on the budget, telecommunication, the environment, defense, trade and space, he is the author of the Coastal Zone Management Act (1972), the Ocean Dumping Act (1972) and the Automobile Fuel Economy Act (1975) and coauthor of the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Deficit Reduction Act (1985). Sen. Hollings led in the creation of the Special Supplement Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children in 1972 and passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. For 30 years, as chairman or ranking member of the State-Justice Commerce Subcommittee of Appropriations, he oversaw the needs of the Supreme Court, Circuit Courts of Appeal, District Courts, Bankruptcy Court, U.S. Attorneys, legal services, Federal Bureau of Investigation, etc. He is the author of The Case Against Hunger and Making Government Work. Sen. Hollings is a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at the Charleston School of Law.

Edward M. Hughes, Esquire

Attorney: Nexsen Pruet, LLC, Hilton Head Island, S.C.
Clemson University, B.A., 1971
University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D., 1974

In 2000, Mr. Hughes merged his Hilton Head Island law firm with Nexsen Pruet, LLC. He currently serves as the Real Estate Practice Group Leader overseeing 27 attorneys and 11 paralegals. Mr. Hughes specializes in business law, land use law, real estate development, interstate land sales, banking and creditor’s rights, and commercial and residential transactions. Mr. Hughes has been involved in several large real estate developments in Beaufort and Jasper counties, including Hilton Head Plantation, Indigo Run Plantation, Wexford Plantation, Port Royal Plantation and Shipyard Plantation. Most recently, Mr. Hughes was involved in the acquisition and development of Palmetto Bluff, a 20,000-acre development in southern Beaufort County and the 5,500-acre Hardeeville Tract in Jasper County. In addition to local developments, Mr. Hughes has been involved in the acquisition and development of properties in Colorado, Utah, Texas, Indiana and Georgia. He is currently a member of the Hilton Head Island Bar Association, Beaufort County Bar Association and the S.C. Bar Association. He served in the House of Delegates of the S.C. Bar for 10 years representing the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit. Mr. Hughes was born in Columbia, S.C., on Dec. 17, 1949.

The Honorable Deadra L. Jefferson

Ninth Judicial Circuit Judge, Circuit Courts of South Carolina
Converse College, B.A., 1985
University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D., 1989

A lifelong resident of Charleston, Judge Jefferson received a B.A. in English and Politics from Converse College and was admitted to pratice law in South Carolina in 1989. She is also admitted to practice before the Federal Bar and the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Jefferson was elected Family Court Judge of the Ninth Judicial Circuit for the Family Courts of South Carolina on Feb. 14, 1996. She was elected Circuit Court Judge of the Ninth Judicial Circuit for the Circuit Courts of South Carolina on May 30, 2001. She has served continuously in this position since then. She is a member of many professional associations and commissions. Judge Jefferson is active in her community and serves as a member of the Board of  Trustees of Converse College. She is a member of the Liberty Fellowship Class of 2009. She has received numerous community and professional honors. She is also a faithful member of The Life Center Cathedral of Charleston.

The Honorable Charles W. Jones

Magistrate Judge, Spartanburg, S.C.
Wofford College, B.A., 1973
University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D., 1976

Spartanburg Magistrate Charles W. Jones practiced law with Whiteside, Smith, Jones and Duncan with trial experience in all South Carolina courts for 30 years before becoming a full-time magistrate in 2006. In addition to receiving degrees from Wofford College and the University of South Carolina School of Law, Mr. Jones attended the University of Vienna, Austria. He is a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International and the 2008 recipient of the Chief Justice Claude A. Taylor Distinguished Service Award given by the Spartanburg County Bar Association.

C. Roland Jones Jr., Esquire

Attorney: Jones & Hendrix, P.A., Spartanburg, S.C.
Wofford College, B.A., 1967
University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D., 1972

Mr. Jones’ firm in Spartanburg emphasizes the practice of insurance litigation and workers’ compensation defense.  Mr. Jones began his legal career as a teaching associate in the Clinics Program of the University of South Carolina School of Law from 1972 to 1974. He was a law clerk for U.S. District Chief Judge J. Robert Martin Jr. for the District of South Carolina from 1974 to 1975, then an assistant circuit solicitor for the Seventh Judicial Circuit from 1975 to 1977. He served as associate judge of Spartanburg County Civil and Criminal Court from 1977 to 1979 before becoming chief judge of the Spartanburg Magistrate Court. Prior to starting his own practice in 1998, Jones worked as an attorney with the Ward Law Firm, P.A., from 1983 to 1998. In 1993, after 24 years of service, Mr. Jones retired as a major in the U.S. Army Reserve.

William Edward Lawson, Esquire

Attorney: Turner, Padget, Graham & Laney, PA, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Spartanburg Methodist College, A.A., magna cum laude, 1977
East Tennessee State University, B.S., magna cum laude, 1979
University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D., 1982

Myrtle Beach attorney Ed Lawson, concentrates on construction, products liability, trucking and transportation, and insurance-related matters in his practice with Turner, Padget, Graham & Laney, P.A. In addition, he serves as both a mediator and arbitrator in a wide variety of disputes. Mr. Lawon has been in private practice since 1982.

The Honorable J. C. Nicholson Jr.

Tenth Judicial Circuit Court Judge
The Citadel, 1964
University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D., 1973

S.C. Circuit Judge J.C. (Buddy) Nicholson Jr. of Anderson has served on the bench since his election by the legislature in 1999. Prior to being selected as a judge, he served as an Air Force pilot, assistant solicitor and an attorney in private practice in Anderson with Epps & Krause.

The Honorable David C. Norton

Chief U.S. District Court Judge
The University of the South, B.A., 1968
University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D., 1975

David C. Norton was sworn in on July 13, 1990, as a U.S. District Judge in Charleston, S.C. Judge Norton was born in Washington, D.C., and has two daughters. From 1969 to 1972, he served in the U.S. Navy. Prior to becoming a federal judge, Judge Norton was a partner at the law firm of Holmes & Thomson, served in the Solicitors Office for the Ninth Judicial Circuit, and was City Attorney for the City of Isle of Palms, S.C. He was the Fourth Circuit District Court Judges Representative to the Judicial Conference of the United States from 2002-2007, is president of the Fourth Circuit District Judge’s Association, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Federal Judges Association. He became Chief Judge for the District of South Carolina on Oct. 1, 2007. Judge Norton is a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at the Charleston School of Law. He and his wife, Dr. Kim Collins, who is a forensic pathologist, reside with their four dogs on Wadmalaw Island, S.C.

James W. Peterson Jr., Esquire

Attorney: Clarke, Johnson, Peterson & McLean, P.A., Florence, S.C.
Presbyterian College, B.S., 1972
University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D., 1975

Mr. Peterson is a shareholder in the firm of Clarke, Johnson, Peterson & McLean, P.A. He was admitted to practice in South Carolina in 1975 and in the U.S. Court of Military Appeals in 1976. After three years on active duty as a Captain with the U.S. Army, JAGC, he served as a law clerk to the Hon. C. Weston Houck, U.S. District Judge for the District of South Carolina. Mr. Peterson continued his military service in the U.S. Army Reserves until retiring as a Colonel in 2002. He joined his present firm in 1981, and is involved in a general practice with emphasis on civil litigation, mediation and municipal law. He has served as City Attorney for the city of Florence since 1994, and was president of the S.C. Municipal Attorneys Association in 2006. He was appointed by the S.C. Supreme Court as a member of the initial Board for Certification of Mediators and Arbitrators and presently serves as Chair of that Board and as a member of the ADR Commission for South Carolina.

The Honorable Daniel F. Pieper

S.C. Court of Appeals Judge
College of Charleston, B.A., 1982
University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D., 1984
New York University Law School, LL.M.

In 1993, Judge Pieper was elected by the General Assembly to the position of Master-in-Equity in the Ninth Judicial Circuit. Soon after his appointment, the Chief Justice designated Judge Pieper as a Special Circuit Judge whereby he regularly presided over additional civil and criminal cases and proceedings, all appeals from lower courts and administrative agencies, as well as grand jury matters. He continued serving as Master-in-Equity and Special Circuit Judge until May 22, 1996; on that date, he was elected Resident Circuit Judge of the Ninth Circuit and continued in that role until fall 2007. On May 23, 2007, Judge Pieper was elected as S.C. Court of Appeals Judge and fully assumed the duties of that office in November 2007. Judge Pieper is greatly interested in legal education and serves as an Adjunct Professor at the Charleston School of Law, teaching courses in criminal law, advanced criminal law and equitable remedies. He was appointed by the S.C. Supreme Court to the Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization, which approves courses for continuing legal education credit and which also recommends the certification of lawyers in specialty practice areas of the law.

Gary W. Poliakoff, Esquire

Attorney: Poliakoff & Associates, P.A., Spartanburg, S.C.
Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia, B.A., 1973
University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D., 1977

Spartanburg litigator Gary Poliakoff is a trial attorney with 33 years’ experience and is board certified in Civil Trial Advocacy (NBTA). He is the recipient of a number of awards, including S.C. Bar Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year; Public Citizen Award (S.C. Trial Lawyers Association); Victim’s Voice Award (S.C. Jury Trial Foundation); and American Jurisprudence Award for Excellence in Constitutional Law. He also served as vice chair of the S.C. Forestry Commission (appointment), Board of Advisors for USC – Upstate, and numerous professional and charitable boards and commissions, and is listed in The Best Lawyers in America, South Carolina Super Lawyers,and The Bar Register of Pre-Eminent Lawyers (Martindale-Hubbell). He has published a number of professional articles (largely in environmental law) and has presented at numerous professional seminars.

Terry E. Richardson Jr., Esquire

Attorney: Richardson, Patrick, Westbrook & Brickman, Barnwell, South Carolina
Clemson University, B.A., 1967
University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D., 1974

Prior to founding Richardson, Patrick, Westbrook & Brickman in 2002, Richardson was the managing partner with the firm Ness, Motley, Loadholt, Richardson & Poole, PA. Richardson, Patrick, Westbrook & Brickman, LLC is a litigation firm. Richardson was named one of the Best Lawyers in America; is the editor of Treatise on South Carolina Damages; Editor-in-Chief of The South Carolina Law Review, 1974; received The Compleat Lawyer award; was President of the Charleston Chapter of ABOTA; is a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers and received an honorary degree from The Charleston School of Law.
Currently, Richardson sits on The Nature Conservancy Board of Directors as the South Carolina Chairman Elect. He has been married for over 40 years, and is a father of three.

Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr.

Professor of American Government and Public Policy, The Citadel
The Citadel, 1964
University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D., 1967

Currently serving an unprecedented ninth term as Charleston mayor, Mayor Riley has been named as one of the 25 most dynamic mayors in America by Newsweek magazine. Because of his outstanding leadership, Charleston has been named as one of the most progressive and livable cities in the United States. In June 2000, he was awarded the first President’s Award from the U.S. Conference of Mayors for outstanding leadership. Other leadership roles include past president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, chairman of the Cities Task Force of the Southern Growth Policies Board, and president of the National Association of Democratic Mayors. Currently Mayor Riley serves on the U.S. Conference of Mayors Executive Committee.

Mike Spears, Esquire

Attorney: Michael E. Spears, P.A., Spartanburg, S.C.
University of South Carolina, B.A.
University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D.

Recognized in several legal publications as one of South Carolina’s preeminent attorneys, Spears has been committed to public service while in private practice. He has been a member of the state Reorganization Committee on Prison Overcrowding (1983-1993) and the Chief Justice’s Bench-Bar Committee for the 7th Judicial Circuit (1992-94). He served on the S.C. Sentencing Guidelines Commission from 1989 to 1995, including serving as vice chair from 1992 to 1995. Spears has an “AV” rating as one of Martindale-Hubbell’s Preeminent Lawyers in America and has been named to “Best Lawyers in America,” “Best in the U.S.” and “Trial Superstars.” A Spartanburg resident, Spears, married for more than 20 years, has two children.

John C. Stewart Jr., Esquire

Attorney: Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
The Citadel, B.S., 1967
Tulane University Law School, J.D., 1970

Myrtle Beach attorney John Stewart is a partner of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP, where he practices real estate, commercial and banking law. Former vice chairman of the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base Redevelopment Authority, he is active in civic affairs.

The Honorable John H. Waller Jr.

Retired Justice, S.C. Supreme Court
Active for recall and sits periodically with the S.C. Supreme Court
Qualified South Carolina Circuit Court Mediator
Qualified South Carolina Family Court Mediator
Qualified South Carolina Arbitrator
Wofford College, A.B., 1959
University of South Carolina School of Law, LL.B., J.D., 1963

Retired S.C. Supreme Court Justice John H. Waller Jr. is a Mullins, S.C., native who has spent his life performing public service. Before becoming a legislator, senator or judge, he was active in his community as an attorney, Mason, Shriner, Jaycees, charter member and first president of the Mullins Rotary Club, as well as charter member and member of the first Board of Directors of Pineland Country Club. While a single practitioner in Mullins, he was elected five times to serve in the S.C. House of Representatives where he held the positions of Assistant Majority Leader and House Majority Leader. He was elected to the state Senate in 1976. After serving one term in the Senate, he was elected by his peers in 1980 to be a State Circuit Judge. He was active in the Circuit Judges Association, serving as chairman of the Circuit Court Advisory Committee and as chairman of the Judicial Standards Committee. He held the position of Circuit Judge until 1994, when he was elected to the State Supreme Court. He was an active member of the Supreme Court from 1994 until Dec. 31, 2009, at which time he reached South Carolina’s mandatory judicial retirement age.

Thomas Waring, Esquire

Attorney: Moore & Van Allen, PLLC, Charleston, S.C.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, A.B., 1966
Harvard University, M.B.A., 1972
University of South Carolina, Master of Accounting,  1977
University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D., 1978

Before joining Moore & Van Allen in 1999, Mr. Waring served as managing partner at the Charleston law firm of Holmes & Thomson. Previously, he worked in resort real estate development in South Carolina, first as a project manager and financial officer with the Sea Pines Company on Hilton Head Island and then as the vice president of finance and administration with the Kiawah Island Company in Charleston.

Daniel B. White, Esquire

Attorney: Gallivan, White & Boyd, P.A., Greenville, S.C
Davidson College, B.A., 1970
University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D., 1976

Daniel B. White is the senior litigation partner at the eighth largest firm in South Carolina, where he specializes in commercial, products liability and pharmaceutical litigation. He is listed in Chambers USA: Leading Lawyers for Business in the field of commercial litigation, has been listed since its inception in South Carolina SuperLawyers in the field of products liability and is recognized by Best Lawyers in America in five litigation fields (products liability, commercial litigation, personal injury law, railroad and mass torts). Mr. White served as president of the S.C. Bar from 2005-2006 and was chairman of the S.C. Bar House of Delegates from 2000-2002. He is a charter fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America and currently serves as state co-chair. He was lead counsel for a national rail carrier in the In re: Graniteville Train Derailment litigation, the largest non-natural disaster in South Carolina history. He currently serves as national coordinating counsel for an international product manufacturer in numerous national class actions and MDL 2047.

The Honorable William W. Wilkins

Attorney: Nexsen Pruett, LLC, Greenville, S.C.
Former Chief Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
Davidson College, B.A., 1964
University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D., 1967

Described by Sen. Strom Thurmond as “a man of character and unquestionable integrity,” Judge Wilkins has devoted much of his life to public service. He first served as law clerk to Judge Clement F. Haynsworth Jr., after which he entered private practice in Greenville. Shortly thereafter, Judge Wilkins was elected as solicitor for the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit and served in that capacity until 1981 when he was appointed to the U.S. District Court by President Ronald Reagan. In 1985, President Reagan appointed Judge Wilkins as the first chairman of the U.S. Sentencing Commission in charge of establishing guidelines for the sentencing of federal defendants. In 1986, Judge Wilkins was further appointed to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals responsible for hearing appeals from South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland. He served as Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, from 2003-2007. He returned to private practice in October 2008 and now leads Nexsen Pruet’s White-Collar Crime, Appellate Advocacy, and Corporate Compliance/Crisis Management practice groups and actively participates in the firm’s Business Litigation Group. Since joining Nexsen Pruet, Judge Wilkins has been named as one of the “50 Most Influential” people in Greenville and his peers have voted him to the 2010 list of “Best Lawyers in America.” Judge Wilkins is a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at the Charleston School of Law.

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