Posted in: Lawyers None, Awards


Awards season is in full swing and the South Carolina Bar is no exception. Six deserving members were recognized by their colleagues for their dedication to improving their communities and the profession at the 2020 South Carolina Bar Convention in Columbia.

The Trial and Appellate Advocacy Section Award was presented to Whitney Harrison, a Columbia native and McGowan Hood & Felder, LLC attorney, for her outstanding commitment to trial and appellate advocacy in the legal profession.

“Receiving the Trial and Appellate Advocacy Award is a tremendous honor,” said Harrison. "As lawyers, we get the daily privilege of advocating on behalf of our clients to help address some of the most significant issues our clients will ever face, and through that process we are given the opportunity to help advance the law for those that will come next. To be recognized for those efforts by the Bar and my peers is extremely humbling.”

As the first woman to receive the award, Harrison joins an elite group of Trial and Appellate Advocacy Section members. Previous award winners include Brett H. Bayne, John I. Mauldin and John S. Nichols.

“The past recipients of this award are legal giants, who have set the standard for advocacy in this state,” she continued. “It is an incredible honor to follow them.”

George Cauthen and Fred Suggs were recognized by the Pro Bono Board for their outstanding service to the South Carolina Bar Pro Bono Program during the House of Delegates meeting at the Bar Convention.

Cauthen, partner at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, was instrumental in the initial design of the 1985 Pro Bono Program as well as sustaining it through serving on the Pro Bono Board until stepping down in 2019. His impressive list of pro bono achievements also includes representing clients, drafting wills for first responders, speaking at education clinics for the public, answering questions at Ask-A-Lawyer phone banks and the Project H.E.L.P — homeless legal clinics.

Former Bar President Fred Suggs, currently of Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart, has been dedicated to his work on the Pro Bono Board through structuring it to better evaluate the legal needs of citizens across the state and put initiatives into action. In 2016, Suggs was named the recipient of the Alan R. Willis Society of Service Award, which is the highest honor presented by the Upstate Employers Network.  The award pays tribute to those whose actions help community members understand the meaning of "service above self."

Senior Lawyers Division members Pamela Robinson and Malissa Burnette were awarded with the 2019 SLD Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year award during the Senior Lawyer Executive Council meeting at the Convention.

Robinson has been the director of the University of South Carolina School of Law Pro Bono Program for 29 years and has held numerous leadership positions on various nonprofit boards and is a past recipient of the SC bar Pro Bono Program Service Award. Her dedication to bringing justice to underserved South Carolinians makes her a champion of pro bono throughout the state.

Partner at Burnette Shutt & McDaniel, PA, and past present of the Senior Lawyers Division, Burnette has a strong resume of pro bono work. She was a founding member of the South Carolina Women Lawyers Association and has served the public through a variety of appointed positions throughout her career, including Lt. Gov. Nancy Stevenson’s chief of staff.

Burnette and Robinson were recently spotted helping law students answer questions submitted to SC Free Legal Answers during the 2020 Bar Convention.

University of South Carolina School of Law Dean Robert Wilcox was awarded the DuRant Award, the most prestigious award given by the South Carolina Bar Foundation. Dean Wilcox joined the University faculty in 1986 and has been a prominent member of the legal community throughout his career. Watch a video of Wilcox accepting the award on the UofSC School of Law's Facebook page.