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The South Carolina Bar Law Related Education (LRE) Division has recognized two lawyers with its Lawyer of the Year Award for their work with the mock trial program. Rock Hill attorneys Gary Lemel (McKinney, Tucker & Lemel Law Firm) and Nathan Sheldon (Law Office of Nathan Sheldon) share this year’s title. Both attorneys will be recognized at the House of Delegates meeting on May 24 at the Wild Dunes Resort in Isle of Palms.

Over the last four years, Lemel and Sheldon have dedicated more than 1,000 hours to helping students at Fort Mill Middle School and Nation Ford High School understand the law for mock trial competitions. Their love of the law and passion for the mock trial program inspires students to succeed.

“Each year, Gary and Nathan challenged me so that I would become better and never stop trying to improve our team as a whole,” said Guinevere Hartman, the co-captain of Nation Ford High School Mock Trial team. “I find it hard to say enough positive things about them and how they’ve helped me throughout the years.”

In 2017, the pair lost several star mock trial students when another middle school opened in the area. In spite of this challenge, Fort Mill Middle School won its second consecutive state title. Two months later, Nation Ford High School won the regional mock trial competition and placed second at the state level.

“The mock trial program is very fortunate to have such dedicated and amazing coaches,” said Hartman.

The LRE Lawyer of the Year Award is presented to members of the SC Bar who have fostered public understanding of the values of the legal and judicial system; stimulated a deeper sense of individual responsibility by helping students recognize their legal duties and rights; encouraged and supported effective LRE programs; and increased communication among students, educators and those working in the legal system.