Recent political campaign ads have waged an attack against the legal profession, rather than presenting solutions to problems facing South Carolinians.

 

Recent political campaign ads have waged an attack against the legal profession, rather than presenting solutions to problems facing South Carolinians. The uncivil, misleading political rhetoric clouds the opportunity for honest debate on substantive issues important to our state.

Instead, candidates and committees supporting them should present their own credentials and experience and allow intelligent voters to make informed decisions as to how to vote based on those facts. This site refutes the misinformation that is being spread and provides education about the legal profession and the service provided by lawyers to the citizens of South Carolina.

 
 

the facts

Vigorous Debate is What Democracy is All About
But those involved should stick to an honest discussion about the facts. Our democracy will be best served when the electorate bases its decisions on information that is accurate and truly meaningful. Below are smear tactics that have been used and the reality about lawyers in South Carolina.

Lawyers have a professional duty to ensure that justice is not rationed but is available to everyone, a right guaranteed to each of us by the Constitution. CLAIM: A lawyer who represents criminal defendants should not serve in public office.
TRUTH: Lawyers have a professional duty to ensure that justice is not rationed but is available to everyone, a right guaranteed to each of us by the Constitution. It is the job of a criminal defense lawyer to ensure his or her client has a fair trial, not to defend the crime.
   
Lawyers’ legal education provides a strong background for the task of helping our legislature craft laws. CLAIM: We don't need any more lawyers in office.
TRUTH: Of the 2014 General Assembly of 170 members, only 16 lawyers serve in the Senate and only 28 lawyers serve in the House of Representatives. South Carolina has historically been well-served by lawyers in office
, where they bring a number of strengths to the law-making process, including training in constitutional issues and the rule of law. Lawyers’ legal education provides a strong background for the task of helping our legislature craft laws.

In addition, the American colonies and emerging nation turned to lawyers during significant events in our nation’s history:

  • Thomas Jefferson, to write the Declaration of Independence
  • 35 of the 55 framers of the U.S. Constitution were lawyers
  • John C. Calhoun, to lead the movement to find the balance between federal and state governments
  • Abraham Lincoln, to end slavery and the conflict over states’ rights
  • Franklin Roosevelt, to bring the country out of the Great Depression with the New Deal
  • Thurgood Marshall, to fight segregation peacefully
 
 

proud to be a s.c. lawyer

assistance, insight and empathy
The following videos were produced in conjunction with the South Carolina Bar's "Proud to be a South Carolina Lawyer" video series. The series is designed to promote a true representation of South Carolina lawyers and their commitment to their clients and the community, restoring some balance to unfair public perceptions. The individuals featured in the videos come from diverse backgrounds and practice areas. Each relates his or her story about how they use their own experiences combined with their legal training to provide assistance, insight and empathy to the people they serve.

(Click the Play button followed by the Playlist tab to view all videos in this series.)

 
 

news & press

Lawyers Do More Than Try Lawsuits
They advocate for their clients, perform public service, serve on boards and commissions, hold public office and advise others in elected posts, teach in our educational institutions, and perform military service. Lawyers also provide free legalservices to those in need, to help ensure justice is not rationed but available to everyone. Read on for examples of lawyers in action.

Former Florence student named Young Lawyer of the Year
WBTW, April 29

Agencies to observe Community Law Week with blood drives
WMBF, April 25

Law School for Non-Lawyers
WSPA, March 11

Free adoption fair coming to Lexington this weekend
Cola Daily, March 6

Lawyers help homeless move forward
Columbia Star, February 28

Read more »

Lawyers do more than try lawsuits; they advocate for their clients, perform public service, serve on boards and commissions, hold public office and advise others in elected posts, teach in our educational institutions, and perform military service.

 

economic study of the profession

Positive Impact
In late 2013, the South Carolina Bar commissioned a study on the economic impact of the legal profession in South Carolina. The study, completed in January 2013 by the Division of Research at the University of South Carolina Moore School of Business, found that the total impact of lawyers and law firms on the state of South Carolina is nearly $2.7 billion annually in economic output, which is associated with more than 23,000 jobs and $1.2 billion in labor income. The greatest impact occurs in the Midlands, Upstate and Charleston regions of the state.

The study was conducted and presented by Dr. Joseph C. Von Nessen, Research Economist with the Moore School of Business. Von Nessen said, “The legal profession maintains a strong economic footprint in the state, about 1.4 percent of the gross state product.”

The study was commissioned for use in demonstrating the positive impact South Carolina’s lawyers and law firms have on citizens and communities throughout the state. Too often the legal profession is attacked for harming jobs and small businesses, and these types of claims can undermine the public’s trust of the legal system and the rule of law that is fundamental to our country. This study demonstrates the reality of what the legal profession contributes in terms of economic activity and jobs for South Carolinians. This impact is seen through the benefit of direct legal services, and reputable statistics on labor income and job creation as well.

According to the report, the statewide employment multiplier is 1.78, indicating that for every 100 jobs created by the legal profession, an additional 78 jobs are added to South Carolina’s economy.

PDF Download the study

 
 
This information is provided as a public service by the South Carolina Bar.