Posted in: Lawyers › None
When Phillips Workman, associate at Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd in Greenville, was an undergraduate, he did not think “attorney” would one day become his title.
A native of Monticello, Georgia, Workman grew up two blocks away from the courthouse where scenes from legal classic “My Cousin Vinny” were filmed. Due to the proximity, some people may have thought Workman was predestined to become an attorney. Still, as a history and political science major in college, he dreamed of becoming a sportswriter.
Encouragement from a history professor at Clemson University inspired Workman to apply to law school and discover the career path meant for him.
“I wrote for the sports page of The Tiger and finagled my way into seeing every football game by playing trombone in Tiger Band,” Workman reflected. “One of my favorite professors, Dr. Lee Wilson, suggested I apply to law schools, so I did. I’ve heard it said by an attorney that no doctor accidentally falls into medical school, but most lawyers accidentally fall into law school.”
After settling into law school, Workman knew at the beginning of his 2L year that he wanted to be a transactional attorney. He particularly appreciated real estate law. His law experience and Brigadoon, a mythical village in the Scottish Highlands, are what inspired the question covered in his recent SC Lawyer article.
The village is said to be enchanted and invisible to the outside world except for one special day every 100 years when it could be seen. This led Workman to ponder the covenant conditions and restrictions in South Carolina, specifically, the amount of time between intervals when landowners can amend their covenants.
“The underlying question—when can 10-year covenants be amended? —came up in my practice. As I dug in on the research, I soon realized that this is one of those questions that doesn’t particularly have a satisfactory answer under South Carolina law,” Workman said. “The idea of there being only one day every decade that covenant amendments become effective stuck with me. I first thought about the festival in the horror film “Midsommar” that occurs once every 90 years—but readers who have seen that movie may understand why Brigadoon is a better fit for an article!”
Workman’s most significant takeaway is the analytical skills attorneys must use to advise clients in situations described in his article.
“There will always be soft, nougaty questions of law that evade a black-letter response,” Workman said. “This leaves us as lawyers to use our analytical and reasoning skills as best we can to assess risk and advise our clients on the way forward.”
An avid writer, Workman reflects on his experience writing for SC Lawyer and his fondness for academic writing.
“I have been pleasantly surprised that so many lawyers across the state have reached out with their stories on this little corner of the law,” he said. “For anyone like me who sometimes misses academic writing—or writing for its own sake—I would highly recommend submitting to SC Lawyer. I hope I will have an opportunity to write for SC Lawyer again.”