Richbar News | Volume 19, Number 4

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Volume 19, Number 4

RICHBARNEWS Newsletter of the Richland County Bar Association

In this issue: Welcoming 2020 with Gratitude Unplugging to Recharge: Aligning Actions with Priorities 2020 RCBA Leadership 2019 Annual Award Honorees and more!

RICHBARNEWS Newsletter of the Richland County Bar Association

CONTENTS From the Editor: Wisdom from Barron Henley and Kurt Vonnegut

Executive Committee Charles F. “Charlie” Moore - President Ashley C. Story - President-Elect Walt Cartin - Member Mike Polk - Member Harrison Saunders - Member Derrick Williams - Treasurer Kristen Horne - Immediate Past President

by Mike Polk

Executive Director Supreme Court Beautification Project Update by Jack McKenzie From the President: Welcoming 2020 with Gratitude by Kristen Horne Photo Galleries: Holiday Party and Lunch and Learn

Mandy Wren

Newsletter Editors Mike Polk Van Horger

Contact Information Street Address:

Unplugging to Recharge:

950 Taylor Street, 3rd Floor

Aligning Actions with Priorities

Columbia, SC 29201

by Abigail Carson 2020 RCBA Leadership 2019 Annual Award Honorees: “Tootie” Williams Distinguished Service Award: Dean Robert Wilcox Hon. Matthew J. Perry, Jr. Civility Award - Judge: J. Michelle Childs

Mailing Address: Post Office Box 7632 Columbia, SC 29202 Phone: 803.771.9801 Email: Website:

Hon. Matthew J. Perry, Jr. Civility Award - Attorney: Leigh Leventis Civic Star Award - Lindsay Joyner Noteworthy News & Announcements Richland County Common Pleas Jury Verdicts

UPCOMING EVENT Oyster Roast Thursday, February 25th, 2020 5:30-8:00 PM Woodrow Wilson Home


On the Cover Photo by Lucas Brown of Kickstand Studio

From the Editor: Wisdom from Barron Henley and Kurt Vonnegut by Mike Polk Welcome to 2020! This year, the RCBA will offer more events and ways to engage with your friends and colleagues. If you have any ideas on how to make the newsletter better (or want to contribute) or to improve our events, feel free to contact Mandy Wren, Van, or me or any of the new officers spotlighted in this edition and we will do what we can. Also, to get you started on the right foot in 2020, I wanted to pass along some thoughts from two completely different sources: Barron Henley and Kurt Vonnegut. Barron Henley of Affinity Consulting spoke at the Busy Lawyer’s Guide to Legal Technology, with Wellness CLE, in December. (Shannon Bobertz, speaking about wellness, was a great way to cap off the day and the week.) The day was enjoyable and informative. Here are some of his tips and tricks: • Did you know that by default Word does not spellcheck words in all caps? You can easily turn it on by going to File > Options > Tools. • Make sure when you are redacting a pdf you are doing it properly. The free version of most software does not redact. Make sure you (and your staff) are doing it correctly and not just covering over the text. Paul Manafort’s attorneys did not correctly redact, to their (and their client’s) detriment. • If you are looking to buy something from Amazon, but you want to pay less for it, check for its price history. You will get a better idea of the best time to buy. • If you want Word to do something, it probably does. If you want it to stop doing something, you probably can make it stop. Google what you want to do and more likely than not you will find a way. • is an online meta dictionary, reverse dictionary, and thesaurus. It searches over a thousand dictionaries for results. It is also great for cheating at solving crossword puzzles. • Simultaneously pressing the Control button and the A button selects all the text in a document. (Go ahead –­try it out!) Kurt Vonnegut wrote Slaughterhouse 5, among other things. It turns out that in addition to being an author, Kurt Vonnegut was a popular commencement speaker. Some of his commencement addresses were collected in the book If This Isn’t Nice, What Is? Here is some of the wisdom he dispensed: • Don’t give up on books. They feel so good – their friendly heft. The sweet reluctance of their pages when you turn them with your sensitive fingertips. A large part of our brains is devoted to deciding

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Wisdom from Barron Henley and Kurt Vonnegut (...continued from page 2) whether what our hands are touching is good or bad for us. Any brain worth a nickel knows books are good for us. • One of the things [Uncle Alex] found objectionable about human beings was that they so rarely noticed it when they were happy. He himself did his best to acknowledge it when times were sweet. We could be drinking lemonade in the shade of an apple tree in the summertime, and Uncle Alex would interrupt the conversation to say, “If this isn’t nice, what is?” So I hope that you will do the same for the rest of your lives. When things are going sweetly and peacefully, please pause a moment, and then say out loud, “If this isn’t nice, what is?” • No matter what age any of us is now, we are going to be bored and lonely during what remains of our lives. We are so lonely because we don’t have enough friends and relatives. Human beings are supposed to live in stable, like-minded, extended families of fifty people or more...So I recommend that everybody here join all sorts of organizations, no matter how ridiculous, simply to get more people in his or her life. It does not matter much if all the other members are morons. Quantities of relatives of any sort are what we need. • I suppose you will all want money and true love, among other things. I will tell you how to make money: work very hard. I will tell you how to win love: wear nice clothing and smile all the time. Learn the words to all the latest songs. • The only advice my father ever gave me was this: “Never stick anything in your ear.” The tiniest bones in your body are inside your ears, you know – and your sense of balance, too. If you mess around with your ears, you could not only become deaf, but you could also start falling down all the time. So just leave your ears completely alone. They’re fine, just the way they are. Here’s to a great 2020! Mike Polk can be reached at The other editor, Van Horger, can be reached at




experience & relationships


Phone: 803.722.1175 | 1612 Marion Street | Columbia, SC 29201

Supreme Court Beautification Update by Jack McKenzie Our plan all along has been for the private money that so many of you have generously donated to act as a grant/incentive to help this project gain priority, as well as to enhance the quality of the project. We are happy to announce that this appears to have happened. We hope to have a big announcement in the coming months. We are inches away from our financial goal. If you have contributed toward the project, then we thank you. If you or your firm have yet to donate, then please consider doing so. All donations are tax deductible and every penny goes toward bricks and mortar. This is going to happen. Please join in and be a part of it.


From the President: Welcoming 2020 with Gratitude by Kristen Horne My youngest daughter Elizabeth asked if we could play “the question game” at dinner recently. Of course she wants to launch into these conversations on nights when Chad and I are exhausted – the kind of nights when we’ve done the pick-up-drop-off-pick-up circuit, come home to find that the dog has gotten into the trash, and realized we forgot to do some important but not critical task at work. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” she asks. “Mommy, you go first.” My answer comes easily, “An interior designer or a midwife.” Chad says a teacher or a game warden. The girls have the spectacular variety of answers that come with wide-ranging interests and a confidence that they really can be anything—teacher, soldier, ballerina, astronaut, unicorn, marine biologist, builder/maker, painter specializing in flowers, robot engineer, baker, veterinarian, gymnast. The question knocks me out of my alternate universe of whizzing to-do lists, a simultaneous loop of the day’s mistakes and a telescope into tomorrow’s demands—back into awareness of where I am—where I’m lucky enough to be. I’m sitting with my family having dinner in the house I grew up in. Where Chad picked me up for dates when we were in high school. Where my parents hosted brunch after our wedding in 2002. We bought it from them six years ago and brought our twins home from the hospital weeks later. Ann and Elizabeth, 6 and 6, are perched on their booster seats to my left, rosy cheeked with wild clouds of blonde ringlets set loose in playing hard. Elizabeth is all questions, and Ann is reporting on the parade at school. Margaret, 8, is to my right. She’s wearing her “future voter” shirt and getting nervous about delivering the opening line in the second grade play this week. Sarah Boyd sits next to her, 11 going on 23, offering stage tips. She routinely speaks at school events, so she’s a credible source. Chad is at the other end of the table, already satisfying requests for milk in empty-again cups. Its 7:50-ish and they have just trooped in the door from their Monday night Girl Scout meeting. They don’t have the urge to scroll on a phone or collapse into bed. They want to talk to us. About what they learned during today’s Veteran’s Day ceremony, about what they want to be when they grow up. “OK, now, what are you thankful for?” Elizabeth asks the next question, looking at Ann to go first. Everyone jumps in. It’s rapid fire and so genuine and joyful and totally overwhelming. They listed:


• Veterans. • Our dogs, Mackie and Poppy. The neighbor’s cats who let us pick them up sometimes. • Our games. Like, the ones we make up and the other ones we have. • Chewbacca. Unicorns. Cheetahs. Books. • My sisters. Mommy and Daddy. Meme and Bamba, Papa Steve and Maddie. Cousins. My whole family. • Popcorn. Candy. Chips! Applesauce cups. M&Ms, Skittles. • Ballet. Gymnastics. Tennis. • My teacher Mrs. Goddard. My teacher Mrs. Leitner. My teachers Mrs. Hardwick and Mrs. Dew. Our school (Center for Knowledge). • Our food. Our money so we can buy things. Our church. Girl Scouts. People who are making the world a better place. (That last one - my heart!) I can barely get words out to add anything of my own. Sarah Boyd delights in catching me in unexpected tears. “Mom, are you crying?!” Yes. Stuart Mauney led a powerful CLE with the RCBA Wellness Committee last summer about recognizing and building solutions around substance abuse and mental illness in lawyers. He included research about gratitude and its effects on wellbeing in the talk. He cited significant evidence that acknowledging things you are thankful for benefits mental and physical well-being. Gratitude is linked to better sleep, better relationships, enhanced resilience in challenges, reduction in aggression, and much more. Apparently, it can

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Welcoming 2020 With Gratitude (continued from page 6) also snap you back into the moment and bring you to tears over brussels sprouts and Ina Garten’s meatloaf. Stuart shared his practice of writing for a few minutes each day in a gratitude journal as a strategy to improve his own wellbeing, and that he had experienced positive results. He says that sometimes the entries reflect the truly exceptional, and sometimes the mundane. It doesn’t matter if you’re thankful for unexpected kindness or that you managed to squeeze one more day’s use from the last of both the toothpaste AND your deodorant. It’s the thankfulness that counts. Having heard from Stuart about how having gratitude works, recently experiencing the holidays and feeling it so deeply at my own dinner table, as well as having recently watched The Sound of Music and singing along (especially to “My Favorite Things”), these are a few things I’m particularly grateful for right now: 1. Mandy Wren, our exceptional leader and my good friend. In the nearly 5 years that she has served as Executive Director of the RCBA she has pushed us to stretch and grow and has led us in making our organization better. Thank you, Mandy! 2. Community organizations serving our neighbors who need help to buy groceries, stay warm in the cold, get medical care, and provide what might not come easily, like Christmas gifts. Giving your time and money generously will make you feel amazing. 3. The physical experience of being very small and inconsequential in a massive and inspiring space. I was in New York this week and soaked in this sensation in St. Patrick’s and The Met. 4. Piling everyone up around the fireplace to watch a movie or play cards. 5. Having so many people at my table we max out the chairs and scrounge up every stool and perch in the house. 6. Bourbon, neat, in a heavy glass. Say, Basil Hayden’s or Old Scout. But really anything that isn’t smoky. 7. The overwhelming power of scent and music to transport you to a crystalized moment. 8. The luxury of a good book and an uninterrupted stretch of time to enjoy it. 9. My brilliant girls. My incredible husband. My whole family. Our home. Our home group. My amazing friends. My work. Flavored sparkling water. The smell of laundry or chimney smoke on evening walks. Chocolate + almonds. Sharing a tiny bit of this with you. With tremendous gratitude for the honor of serving as your 2019 President, I wish you peace in the New Year. Kristen Horne is an AVP, Corporate Strategy and Development at Colonial Life & Accident.. She can be reached at khorne@


Annual Meeting and Holiday Party Wednesday, December 11th at the Columbia Museum of Art.

Wellness Committee Events Guided walking tour led by Historic Columbia and Holiday Breakfast co-hosted by the Young Lawyers Committee featuring an esteemed panel of RCBA leaders. The panel covered the topic of handling the stress and challenges of the holidays.

Lunch & Learn with Dave Maxfield on his book The Lean Law Firm December 10, 2019


Unplugging to Recharge: Aligning Actions with Priorities By Abigail Carson As a neophyte lawyer, those in their legal tenure may think we share little common ground. However, we may be more analogous than you’d think. For example, for those University of South Carolina Law graduates, we both called the ivory tower on Main Street home; our childhoods did not revolve around clickbait and view counts; and we currently live in a wired—or perhaps more appropriately “wireless”— world. In the twenty-first century, we are constantly surrounded by stimulation. With the world at our fingertips, can you recall the last time you were truly bored—and watching YouTube or scrolling social media in between tasks does not count. We use the stimulus around us as a distraction and we often fail to be present in the moment. We fail to meaningfully engage in the present, make time for quiet solitude, and seek out fulfilling causes. As members of the legal profession, we often find it difficult to unplug and be present. Not only do we find it challenging to disconnect from technology, we also find it difficult to be present and stop ruminating on our to-do list. The competitive nature of our profession causes us to reach for our phones or computers when a work email comes in after hours. We find ourselves departing for work before the sun comes up and returning well after the sun goes down. Our daily engagement with the world is through scrolling social media, podcasts on our commute, small talk with co-workers, client phone calls, and nightly television. With our daunting schedules we often are remiss to slow down, unplug, and allow ourselves time to find fulfillment in each day. Our weekdays in front of a screen are insignificant. We simply live for the weekend and let weekdays pass by unnoticed. In this mindset, years may pass before we realize that living for tomorrow perpetuates a state of present unfulfillment. Email and text notifications are a constant presence in our lives. Our moment-to-moment experience is fractured; we are constantly bombarded by an unprecedented onslaught of notifications. While technological advancements may simplify many tasks, they also inhibit our ability to be present. Upon receiving a notification, many of us inadvertently reach for our phone or click on our email. Our reaction is reflexive; we unintentionally divert our attention from the task at hand. Dividing our attention affects both our thinking and performance. For example, we all experience days when we are so consumed by a project deadline that we ignore the onslaught of emails and notifications. Conversely, we also experience days when we immediately click on every email, check every notification, and answer every call and text. In your experience, which day generated a higher work output? The differentiating factor may be attributed to the fact that, on average, it takes twenty-three minutes and fifteen seconds to refocus on the original task after an interruption (Gloria Mark, Daniela Gudith, & Ulrich Klocke, The cost of interrupted work: more speed and

stress, paper presented at the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Florence, Italy, 2008).


By simply resisting the urge to divert our attention with each new notification we can boost our overall productivity. Allowing ourselves time to unplug also creates more time to engage in and prioritize meaningful activities. Too often we find time to focus on screens, however, we make excuses as to why we are too busy to meaningfully engage. The Honorable Judge Bruce Williams of the South Carolina Court of Appeals taught me an invaluable lesson as a clerk in his chambers. Judge Williams demonstrated that as a member of the Bar you have a choice, you can go home at the end of the workday or you can dedicate your time to causes greater than yourself. Rather than dedicating time to unfulfilling screen time, we should dedicate our time to finding and furthering a cause. If you have yet to realize your cause, half of your battle may be looking up from a screen long enough to discover it. Just as we all have different goals and aspirations, each of our causes will be different—what is important is that you find your cause and prioritize it. Prioritizing a cause is integral to the long-term success of unplugging and engaging in the present. Minimizing screen time and channeling a cause affords the opportunity to find more meaning and joy in life—the end we all seek to attain. Unplugging also fosters greater creativity and problem solving. Ever wonder why innovative ideas always come to you in the shower? You can likely attribute your shower ingenuity to the simple fact that your

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Unplugging to Recharge (...continued from page 10) mind was resting. Research illustrates that when our minds rest, we are able to see the bigger picture and make unexpected connections (Benjamin Baird, Jonathan Smallwood, Michael D. Mrazek, Julia W. Y. Kam, Michael S. Franklin, Jonathan W. Schooler, Inspired by Distraction: Mind Wandering Facilitates Creative Incubation, 23 PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE 1117–22 - 2012). For centuries, innovators such as Einstein and Picasso, have prioritized unstructured quiet time to foster greater creativity and problem solving. In fact, our productivity decreases when we fail to give our minds time to rest. (Kalina Christoff, Alan M. Gordon, Jonathan Smallwood, Rachelle Smith, & Jonathan W. Schooler, Experience sampling during fMRI reveals default network and executive system contributions to mind wander-

ing, proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences - 2009). So, the next time you need a mental break, rather than reaching for your phone, opt for a walk - and leave the tech at home. As creatures of habit, it can be difficult to find time to make meaningful changes in our lives and, when we do make changes, we often revert back to our old ways. Unplugging takes not only initiative, but mindfulness. In order to curb our habit of instinctively checking and responding to notifications, we must be cognizant of our reflexive habit. We can effect change by intentionally reducing distractions. For example, adjust app settings to decrease the number of notifications you receive, filter or unsubscribe from email newsletters, or set a dedicated time to respond to emails, text messages, and checking social media. Perhaps, rather than sending an email to a coworker, opt for an in-person conversation—it might just save you time and strengthen your interpersonal co-worker relationships. Finally, take breaks throughout the day and take the time to intentionally disconnect. Ultimately, unplugging is about finding balance. In order to find balance, our actions must align with our priorities. Once our actions align with our priorities, we will be able to unplug and recharge.

Abigail Carson is a litigation attorney at Bruner Powell Wall & Mullins, LLC. She can be reached at acarson@brunerpowell. com.


2020 RCBA Leadership President, Charles F. Moore Charlie Moore is a shareholder at Turner Padget and is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and the University of South Carolina School of Law. Prior to attending law school, Charlie worked for BB&T as a corporate banker. He began his legal practice at Turner Padget working as a summer associate in 1997. Following graduation, he joined the firm in the general practice of litigation, concentrating on civil defense. With a client base comprised largely of insurance carriers and private businesses, Charlie’s specific area of expertise is liability defense. For the past four years, he has taught “Personal Injury Essentials,” a CLE program for the South Carolina Bar. He is a member of the John Belton O’Neall Inn of Court, and was inducted into ABOTA in 2019. Charlie has served as past chair of the Young Lawyer’s Division of the RCBA, chairman of the Board of Directors for Trinity Cathedral Day Care, and he is a past member of the City of Columbia’s Tree and Appearance Commission. He has been an honored recipient of Legal Elite of the Midlands for several years. He is an avid hunter and outdoor cook. Charlie and his wife, Mahalie, have three active children, and the family makes its way down to Edisto Beach as often as possible.

President-Elect, Ashley C. Story Originally from Cheraw, Ashley takes a personal interest in public education since she attended public schools in her home of Chesterfield County and graduated from Cheraw High School. Public school teachers and administrators are highly regarded by Ashley, as she gained first-hand experience and respect for the hard work that they do for our students, having lived with (and was taught by) her step-father, who has dedicated his entire professional life to teaching at Long Middle School in her hometown. Ashley is proud of her roots and takes great passion in assisting school districts across our state. Before partnering with Andrea White to form White & Story, LLC in April

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2020 RCBA Leadership (...continued from page 12) 2017, Ashley began advising local school districts and public agencies during her tenure at Duff, White & Turner, LLC. She provides counsel on a variety of topics ranging from employment and personnel matters to student disciplinary concerns and tort issues. Additionally, Ashley enjoys connecting with her clients and others by presenting on various legal topics at conferences throughout the state. Ashley previously practiced with J. Lewis Cromer & Associates, LLC, gaining experience in both federal and state employment issues by representing employees in both the private and public sectors, giving her a unique perspective on defending potential employment claims and providing legal advice as it concerns personnel matters. Ashley works frequently with Project HELP, which enables attorneys to provide free legal advice to Columbia’s homeless population. She obtained her undergraduate degree in International Business and Marketing from the University of South Carolina with Honors from the South Carolina Honors College. Prior to graduating from USC School of Law in 2012, Ashley served as a Public Interest Law Fellow and clerked with the South Carolina Legal Services and Richland County CASA. During her free time, Ashley enjoys traveling and playing with her rescue Greyhounds, Turbo and Nellie.

New Executive Committee Member, Michael Polk Mike Polk is an attorney at Belser & Belser in Columbia. His practice includes probate administration and litigation, estate planning, elder law, creditor rights, and general civil litigation. He attended Virginia Tech as an undergraduate and was a member of the Corps of Cadets. He served in the Navy for four years. Among other accomplishments, after appearing before King Neptune and his Royal Court, Mike was initiated into the Solemn Mysteries of the Ancient Order of Shellbacks. Mike attended the University of South Carolina School of Law. After passing the bar in 1994, he practiced in Winnsboro with Kenneth G. Goode and Associates. He joined Belser & Belser in 1995. Mike has served as the Richland County Bar Treasurer and newsletter editor. He was recently appointed head of the South Carolina Bar Technology Committee and has worked on the Probate Code Revision Committee.


Mike enjoys watching hockey on TV and playing fantasy baseball, which, as he says is even lamer than it sounds. Mike is married to Betsy Polk, who is also an attorney. Their daughter Jane is a freshman at USC. They all thought it was a good idea to get two border collie puppies a couple of years ago, and boy were they wrong.

New Treasurer, Derrick L. Williams Former Commissioner Derrick L. Williams is one of the youngest-ever to be appointed to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. He was appointed in March 2007 and served until January 2013, when he decided to return to private practice. He is responsible for spearheading efforts to make mediation of workers’ compensation available for complex injury by accident cases in South Carolina. Derrick began his legal career at a mid-size insurance defense firm, where his litigation background included defending workers’ compensation claims for insurance companies and insurance defense litigation. Prior to joining the SC Workers’ Compensation Commission, he was an associate at a national law firm based in South Carolina. He practiced in the areas of business litigation, franchise and distribution litigation, and labor and employment. Derrick currently practices with Mickle & Bass, where he is a partner with the firm. His practice is devoted to representing injured workers, and he is also a certified mediator. Derrick earned his JD from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 2002, where he was a member of the South Carolina Environmental Law Journal. He earned a BA in English in the Honors Program at the College of Charleston in 1999. He ran Cross Country and Track for the College of Charleston, and he was the team captain of both his senior season. He is a Past President of the Riverbanks Zoo Society Board. He also serves on the College of Charleston Alumni Board (Executive Committee President-Elect), and the College of Charleston Honors College Board. Derrick is an active member in the American Bar Association, where he is involved in the T.I.P.S. Workers’ Compensation Section. He is a member of the John Belton O’Neall Inn of Court and also serves on the South Carolina Board of Law Examiners.


2019 Annual Award Honorees “Tootie” Williams Distinguished Service Award: Dean Robert Wilcox Dean Robert Wilcox is a native South Carolinian raised in Charleston. He received his bachelors from Duke with the original intent of going into the newspaper business but ultimately decided his calling was the practice of law. He returned to South Carolina to get his JD at the USC School of Law and graduated at the top of the class. After some time in private practice, Dean Wilcox returned to his alma mater as a law professor and after years of dedicated service, he earned the position of Dean of the Law School. He has worked tirelessly to boost the reputation of the law school and succeeded in getting the new law school built. One of his nominators stated “When Rob Wilcox says he will do something, he gives it his all. He was keenly aware of how important it was to get the new law school not just to future law students and alumni but to every lawyer in South Carolina. The building is a stunning representation of all that is good in the law and he is the keystone.” Dean Wilcox has been a dedicated member of the Richland County Bar and the SC Bar. He routinely speaks at CLEs and serves on the South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice’s Commission on the Profession and is on the executive board of the local John Belton O’Neall Inn of Court. He has also served on the SC Supreme Court Commission on Judicial Conduct and the SC Judicial Merit Selection Commission. He is passionate about the importance of civility in the practice of law and dedicated to making sure law students are prepared to excel in the ever-changing legal profession. Dean Wilcox recently announced that he will be stepping down as dean at the end of May 2020 and will return to the classroom. He has achieved so much for the benefit of the legal community and especially the law school. A few of his many accomplishments: Ensured and guided the construction of the new law school building that is both an asset to our county and to our profession; Worked to lower the tuition rate for in-state law students this year; Established a Veterans Law Clinic to provide indigent veterans legal assistance; Working on the Palmetto LEADER (Legal Advocacy and Education Resource) bus to help provide


legal assistance to the poor as well as giving law students invaluable pro bono experience. He was recently selected as the 2019 DuRant award recipient by the SC Bar Foundation and has also been the recipient of numerous awards for his leadership. For this reason and many more, the RCBA is honored to present the 2019 Tootie Williams Award to Dean Robert Wilcox.

Hon. Matthew J. Perry, Jr. Civility Award - Judge: the Hon. J. Michelle Childs The Honorable J. Michelle Childs was appointed to the United States District Court Judge for the District of South Carolina in 2010. She is an inspiration to everyone who has the opportunity to meet her and is an amazing advocate for mentoring. She cares a great deal about ensuring law students and new lawyers have the opportunity to experience federal court. One nominator stated, “Judge Childs invests wholeheartedly in the judicial observation experience, giving her interns an opportunity to do more than simply observe - they do substantive work and gain valuable experience. Her greatest strength is her love of mentoring young attorneys, giving them ample opportunities to argue their case before her.” She frequently repeats and truly lives by “holding the ladder down” so that young attorneys have a chance to succeed and grow in their practice. She routinely has at least four law students in her chambers getting incredible experience through USC’s externship program. Her community involvement is unparalleled. She is a Liberty Fellow as well as a mentor. She is the chair of the American Bar Association’s National Conference of Federal Trial Judges, a member of the American Law Institute and serves on the council of the ABA’s Section of Litigation. Judge Childs is on numerous boards including ETV Endowment of South Carolina, Inc., St. Martin de Porres Catholic School and the Federal Judges Association. She is a member of the American Bar Association (House of Delegates, Standing Committee on Constitution and Bylaws, Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund, Drafting Committee on Policies and Procedures), American College of Business Court Judges and South Carolina Bar-House of Delegates. She served on the Board of the South Carolina Bar Foundation as well. Prior to being nominated to the federal bench she was a state circuit court judge and chief administrative Judge for Business Court in Richland County, an acting justice for the SC Supreme Court as well as Commissioner of the SC Workers Compensation Commission, Deputy Director of the SC Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation and was a partner with Nexsen Pruet. She has numerous degrees including a Masters in Judicial Studies from Duke, a JD from USC School of Law, a Masters from the USC Moore School of Business, and a bachelors from the University of South Florida. Her outstanding work and dedication to public service is being recognized at the national level, as she has been elected as chair-elect for the prestigious ABA Judicial Division. According to her nomination, everyone has their day in court with Judge Childs, even the pro se litigants. She gives all an opportunity to speak and be heard, and the RCBA is pleased to present this year’s Civility Award to the Honorable J. Michelle Childs.

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2020 RCBA Leadership (...continued from page 16)

Hon. Matthew J. Perry, Jr. Civility Award - Attorney: Leigh J. Leventis Leigh Leventis is this year’s lawyer honoree for the Hon. Matthew J. Perry, Jr. Civility Award. He is truly deserving of this award because, in the words of one of his nominators, he is the very epitome of civility. The way he treats people - with respect, dignity, and kindness - shows he truly cares about and likes people. As one of his nominations noted, he is the “perfect role model for any attorney, and over the years I have gone so far as to ask myself, WWLD? (What would Leigh do?).” He is known for taking a genuine interest in those around him, as well as their families and wants to know how they are really doing. Leigh not only gets to know the merits of a case but goes beyond to get to know the client, the victim, their families and their circumstances. His lifelong friend Dick Harpootlian notes that without a doubt, Leigh is the nicest guy that he has ever met and has amazingly never been in a single fist fight! By any definition, Leigh must be considered “successful,” but his success has not gone to his head. He is as down to earth and approachable as anyone in any profession, and he is a credit to ours. It is with honor that the RCBA presents the 2019 Civility Award to Leigh J. Leventis.

Civic Star Award - Lindsay Joyner Named as one of Columbia’s Best and Brightest under 35 and the 2018 recipient of the Young Professional of the Year from Columbia Metropolitan Magazine, Lindsay Joyner serves our community with outstanding service. She has an extensive background with the Junior League of Columbia, including serving as Vice President of Finance and receiving the prestigious Katharine Heath Manning Perry Award in 2016 for her service in the community. Lindsay has also been very involved in the Columbia Museum of Art serving on the Contemporaries Board of Directors and currently holds positions at Downtown Church serving as Nominating Committee Chair since 2017.


She is equally as involved in the SC Bar having served as President of the Young Lawyers Division and the committee chair for the iCivics program, a program to help grade school students become better educated and comfortable with the functions of the United States Government. Lindsay currently serves as the chair for the SC Bar’s Wellness Committee. Concentrating further on attorney wellness, Lindsay serves as co-vice coordinator for Fit2Practice for the American Bar Association. Her nomination notes “I could go on and on about how exceptional Lindsay is, but the bottom line is that she is someone who serves the legal community with exemplary service and acts as an ambassador of the legal community to the Richland County community as a whole.” The RCBA is honored to recognize Lindsay Joyner’s commitment to service with this year’s Civic Star Award.

2020 Executive Committee

Pictured from left to right: Harrison Saunders - Member, Charles F. “Charlie” Moore - President, Kristen Horne - Immediate Past President, Walt Cartin - Member, Ashley Story - President-Elect, Jack McKenzie - Past President, and Mike Polk Member. Not pictured - Derrick Williams, Treasurer.


Noteworthy News & Announcements Bell Carrington Price & Gregg announces that

ognition given to employers for their support of

Renee Ballew and D. Max Sims have joined the

their employees who serve in the United States

firm’s Columbia office located at 339 Heyward

National Guard and Reserves. Honorees were


recognized with the Freedom Award in a cere-

Joseph P. Bias has been named general counsel

mony at the Pentagon. The law firm had already received the ESGR’s highest state-level honor,

and special advisor to the president at Midlands

the “Pro Patria” Award, for its support of the

Technical College.

Guard and Reserve. Callison Tighe then became

Blair Cato Pickren Casterline, LLC announces that Erica G. Lybrand has joined the firm’s Columbia office located at 700 Huger St., Suite 102. Christopher Boguski has joined Robinson Gray law firm as an associate. His practice areas will include bankruptcy and creditors’ rights, commercial litigation, and real estate and title insurance. Chris grew up in Columbia and has practiced here since graduating from law school. He earned his juris doctorate in 2012 from Charleston School of Law, where he had served as the Student Works Editor for the Federal Courts Law Review. He was also a summer law clerk for the Honorable Bristow Marchant, U.S. magistrate judge for the United States District Court. Branch & Dhillon, P.C., announces that Will Hoffman has joined the firm located at 1328 Richland Street. Burr Forman McNair announces the addition of associate Jennifer Leaphart, who joins the firm’s Corporate and Tax group in the Columbia office.

one of 30 finalists out of 2,415 nominations, for the 2019 national Freedom Award, which recognizes employers who have, through their leadership and practices, made it easier for employees to participate in the Guard and Reserve. Members Mike Tighe, Rick Detwiler and Louis Lang were at the Pentagon ceremony to receive the award, along with associate Maj. Ian T. Duggan, who also serves in the South Carolina Air National Guard. The Columbia City Attorney’s Office announces Jacqueline M. Pavlicek has joined the office as Assistant City Attorney at the office located at 1401 Main Street. Sarah J.M. Cox, a graduate of the Mitchell Hamline School of Law in Minnesota, has become Burnette Shutt & McDaniel’s newest associate. Her practice focuses on employment law, personal injury, civil rights law and litigation. She also represents clients in foodborne illness cases and in grandparent rights cases. Cox began working at Burnette Shutt & McDaniel nearly two years ago, serving as the firm’s senior law

Callison Tighe is one of 15 businesses from

clerk while she completed her JD through Mitch-

across the country who received the 2019 Free-

ell Hamline’s ABA-approved Hybrid program that

dom Award given by the Defense Department’s

allows students to continue working as they pur-

Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve

sue their degrees.Cox earned a bachelor’s de-

(ESGR). This award is the nation’s highest rec-

gree in liberal studies at the University of North


Carolina at Greensboro. She also attended the Uni-

awarded the Charles H. Gray ’72 Distinguished

versity of South Carolina School of Law.

Service Award by Wofford College. Costa was

Cromer, Babb, Porter & Hicks, LLC announces that Elizabeth Millender has joined the firm’s Columbia office located at 1418 Laurel Street. Crowe LaFave, LLC announces that Lee Ellen Bagley has joined the firm as a partner located at 500 Taylor St., Suite 202. Davidson, Wren & Plyler, P.A. announces that the firm name has changed to Davidson, Wren & DeMasters, P.A. The firm will remain located at 1611

presented the award for his dedicated service and commitment to the college. He is a graduate of Wofford and received an honorary doctor of laws from the college in 2002. Costa began serving on the Board of Trustees in 2013 and currently serves as secretary of the board. A former Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court, Costa advises clients on complex litigation and appellate matters. His experiences as a successful practitioner, trial judge and appellate jurist allow him to provide skillful and effective dispute resolution services. His

Devonshire Drive, Second Floor, Columbia 29204.

mediation practice focuses on business disputes,

Gaffney Lewis LLC announces that Sara Brakmann

putes, personal injury and prisoner litigation mat-

has joined the firm in the Columbia office located

ters. Costa is a graduate of the USC School of Law

at 3700 Forest Dr., Suite 400.

and a Certified Federal Court Mediator and Certi-

Nick Haigler, a member of Robinson Gray law firm,

contracts, medical malpractice, nursing home dis-

fied Circuit Court Mediator and Arbitrator.

has been admitted as a member of the Federation

Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd’s Roopal Ruparelia

of Defense & Corporate Counsel. The FDCC is an

has earned the Certified Litigation Management

organization of civil defense attorneys who are rec-

Professional (CLMP) designation from the Claims

ognized leaders in the legal community, dedicated

and Litigation Management Alliance. Each year

to promoting knowledge, fellowship, and profes-

only 100 participants are selected for the Litiga-

sionalism in the pursuit of a balanced system of

tion Management Institute, hosted at Loyola Law

justice. The group offers members opportunities to

School. It is the first certification program specifi-

interact with and learn from nationally recognized

cally designed to provide a comprehensive under-

lawyers in multiple jurisdictions across the country.

standing of the business of litigation management.

Nick is a litigator who focuses his practice on work-

The program bridges the gap between legal theory

ers’ compensation defense. Robinson Gray Mem-

and litigation strategy and the business aspects

ber Monty Todd is also a member of the FDCC.

of litigation management. Roopal heads a general

HawkLaw, P.A. announces that Rachel G. Peavy

civil litigation practice with an emphasis on the defense of both personal injury and construction

has joined the firm’s Columbia office located at

defect claims. She is a graduate of the USC School

1835 Gervais Street.

of Law and Wofford College.

Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd’s Costa Pleicones was

Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd announces that Joseph

continued on page 21...


Noteworthy News & Announcements (...continued from page 20) Spate has joined the Columbia office located at

liams rejoined the firm in 2015 after leaving in 2013

1201 Main Street.

to clerk with the Honorable R. Bryan Harwell in the

Hedrick Gardner Kincheloe & Garofalo LLP, a leading regional litigation and dispute management law firm, is pleased to announce the promotion of Lee Dixon to partner in the Columbia office. Lee focuses

U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina. Both Coco and Williams are former associates and earned their JDs, cum laude, from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 2012.

his practice on civil litigation and workers’ compen-

Nexsen Pruet, LLC announces that Andrew Saleeby


has joined the Columbia office located at 1230

Kristen Horne has joined Colonial Life & Accident as

Main Street.

AVP, Corporate Strategy and Development. She will

Robinson Gray member Beth Burke Richardson is

be designing and leading winning strategy choices

the new president of the South Carolina Chapter

for Colonial Life’s growth with her team.

of the Federal Bar Association. She was officially

Howser, Newman & Besley, LLC, is pleased to announce that firm member, Kelley Shull Cannon,

sworn in to the post at the organization’s 2019 Annual Meeting and CLE. Her leadership of the organization is part of a pattern of commitment to

has been selected to membership in the American

the federal bar on the part of Robinson Gray. The

Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). ABOTA seeks to

association monitors and sometimes advocates on

promote and improve the American civil justice sys-

issues that affect the practice of federal lawyers

tem and to elevate the standards of integrity, honor

and the courts; provides opportunities for scholar-

and courtesy in the legal profession.

ship and education; and brings judges and attor-

J. Tyler Lee, Jr. announces the formation of Lee Injury Law, LLC, located at 1314 Lincoln Street, Suite 307. McDougall Self Currence & McLeod, LLP announces that R. Jason Hall has joined the firm’s Columbia office.

neys together to interact professionally and socially. Beth’s law practice focuses on business disputes of all kinds, in courtroom and arbitration settings, including FINRA. In addition, Beth has been selected by South Carolina Lawyers Weekly as one of 20 NC and SC lawyers to receive the publication’s Diversity & Inclusion Awards for 2019. Beth is the Diversity & Inclusion Team Leader at Robinson Gray and was a

The partners of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough

member of the Midlands Spring 2019 Class of the

LLP have elected attorneys Jarrett Coco and Blake

Riley Institute’s Diversity Leaders Initiative.

Williams to the partnership effective Jan. 1, 2020. Coco practices in the area of commercial litigation and business torts and joined the firm in 2012. Williams practices with the Commercial, Appellate, Consumer, and Employment Litigation team. Wil-


Robinson Gray members Grady L. Beard and Shannon Till Poteat are among the seven co-authors of the new seventh edition of The Law of Workers’ Compensation Insurance in South Carolina. The book

has served since 1992 as the state’s preeminent re-

in 2017. Dewana regularly speaks at seminars on

source on the complex legal issues associated with

workers’ compensation topics.

workers’ compensation in South Carolina. Current through May 2019, the publication is written with

Sweeny, Wingate & Barrow, P.A. announces that

the practicing attorney in mind, and is comprehen-

Griff Doolittle and William A. Neinast have joined

sive, meticulously researched, practical, and afford-

the firm’s Columbia office located at 1515 Lady


Street as associates.

Scott & Corley, P.A., announces that Jordan D.

Todd and Johnson, LLP announces that Jonathan E.

Beumer has joined the firm located at 2712 Middleburg Dr., Suite 200.

Spitz has been promoted to partner. Lisle Traywick, an associate with Robinson Gray

The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Edu-

law firm, has been elected to the board of the South

cational Association (SCWCEA) is pleased to an-

Carolina Chapter of the Federal Bar Association.

nounce the elected 2020 officers and board mem-

Traywick was elected at the organization’s 2019 An-

bers to the Board of Directors. Grady L. Beard,

nual Meeting and CLE. The FBA consists of more

member at Robinson Gray, was elected Vice Presi-

than 18,000 lawyers, including 1,500 federal judges,

dent. He focuses his practice on Workers’ Compen-

who work together to promote the sound admin-

sation Defense, Workers’ Compensation Mediation,

istration of justice and integrity, quality, and inde-

Alternative Dispute Resolution and also practices

pendence of the federal judiciary. The SC chapter

in the Firm’s Appellate Practice Group. He attended

has more than 400 members, making it one of the

Louisiana State University and received his BS from

largest chapters in the country. Lisle graduated cum

Northwestern State University. He received his JD

laude from Wofford College and earned his juris

from Emory University School of Law. Grady is a

doctorate from the USC School of Law in 2014. He

Fellow in the College of Workers’ Compensation

focuses his practice at Robinson Gray mainly on ap-

Lawyers, and is an Advisory Board Member for

pellate advocacy and civil litigation.

Larson’s National Workers’ Compensation Group. Grady has previously served as co-chair for the Workers’ Compensation Section of the SC Defense Trial Attorneys Association. Dewana F. Looper, of the Atkins Law Firm was elected Treasurer. Her practice is focused on helping injured workers. Dewana earned her BA from the USC Honors College, magna cum laude, and earned her JD from the USC School of Law, where she graduated cum laude. Dewana spent the first nine years of her

Turner Padget announces the addition of three new attorneys to the firm’s Columbia office: shareholders Kelli L. Sullivan and L. Patricia (Tricia) Wharton, and associate Ashtin D. Kilpatrick. Willson Jones Carter & Baxley, P.A. announces that Riley A. Bearden, Kristy G. Goldberg and Alexa M. Tattersall have joined the firm’s Columbia office located at 3600 Forest Drive, Suite 204.

legal career practicing workers’ compensation on the defense side before joining the Atkins Law Firm


Richland County Common Pleas Jury Verdicts


Cause of Action: Personal Injury, Slip and Fall

Priscilla Winstead v. Marcus Bryant

Verdict: For Plaintiff


Actual Damages: $12,292.76

Plaintiff: Lester M. Bell, Jr., Stanley Myers Defendant: Catharine Griffin, Kyle T. Watson


Cause of Action: Automobile, Personal Injury

Christina Jones v. Alesha Williams

Verdict: For Defendant

Attorneys: Plaintiff: Andrew Johnson, Kenneth Berger


Defendant: James P. Newman, Jr., Kylie Keesley

Clayton M. Somers v. Darrell W. Harper

Cause of Action: Automobile, Mental Anguish -


Pain & Suffering

Plaintiff: William H. McAngus, Jr.

Verdict: For Defendant

Defendant: Rob L. Brown Cause of Action: Automobile, Personal Injury


Verdict: For Plaintiff

Michael Bollinger v. Wanda Stockton McCaa

Actual Damages: $60,000

Attorneys: Plaintiff: Karl Brehmer


Defendant: Jeff Silverberg, Kylie Keesley

Terry Lyn DiChiara v. Jayne R. Walker

Cause of Action: Automobile, Combination


Verdict: For Plaintiff

Plaintiff: Frederick Hall III

Actual Damages: $23,215

Defendant: Ronald Diegel Cause of Action: Automobile, Personal Injury


Verdict: For Plaintiff

Jason Huffman v. Lauren Culler

Actual Damages: $585,000

Attorneys: Plaintiff: Jason Thomas Yonge


Defendant: James Paul Newman, Jr.

Kenneth Taylor Jr. v. Morris Morgan Realty Inc.

Cause of Action: Automobile


Verdict: For Plaintiff

Plaintiff: Barry B. George

Actual Damages: $7,500

Defendant: Damon Christian Wlodarczyk




Sidney A. Gatch v. Alena Karalevich

Harold K. Johnson v. Albert Leonard Campbell



Plaintiff: Benjamin A. Dunn II

Plaintiff: Robert F. Goings

Defendant: Sarah B. Fellona

Defendant: Brett Bayne

Cause of Action: Automobile, Personal Injury

Cause of Action: Automobile

Verdict: For Plaintiff

Verdict: For Plaintiff

Actual Damages: $7,800

Actual Damages: $35,000



Richard & Ann Pringle Washington v. Richland

Jerry Locklear v. Kelly Lynn Higgins




Plaintiff: Melissa Mosier, Chris Cunningham

Plaintiff(s): S. Jahue Moore & William H. Edwards

Defendant: James Paul Newman, Jr.

Defendant(s): Michael B. Wren and Brandon M.

Cause of Action: Automobile, Personal Injury


Verdict: For Plaintiff

Cause of Action: Property, Condemnation

Actual Damages: $15,000

Verdict: Directed Verdict for Defendant

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Allison Sullivan is responsible for this content.



Congratulations to Michael Tighe, a five-time Lawyer of the Year winner in Best Lawyers in America© Columbia.* Clients have trusted Mike for more than 50 years to represent them in a range of legal matters. *Criteria:

1 8 1 2 L I N C O L N S T. | C O L U M B I A , S C | 8 0 3 4 0 4 . 6 9 0 0 | C A L L I S O N T I G H E . C O M

RICHBARNEWS Newsletter of the Richland County Bar Association Post Office Box 7632 Columbia, South Carolina 29202

Two offices, including space for admin, are available in Jack Swerling’s office suite. The offices are conveniently located directly across from the Richland County Courthouse. Rent includes parking, and use of copier and fax. Please call 803-765-2626 for more information.



R O W 1 : Mike Tighe, Louis Lang, Rick Detwiler

R O W 2 : Jim Koutrakos, Drew English, Bert Brannon

R O W 3 : Reece Williams, Woody Cleveland, Butch Barnhill

Congratulations to Callison Tighe’s 2020 Best Lawyers in America© Columbia honorees.* The nine attorneys are recognized in a wide range of practice areas. Learn more at *Criteria:

1 8 1 2 L I N C O L N S T. | C O L U M B I A , S C | 8 0 3 4 0 4 . 6 9 0 0 | C A L L I S O N T I G H E . C O M

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