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Charleston Business

2019 Legal Elite of the Lowcountry

Banking and Finance

John B. Hagerty



John B. Hagerty has an interdisciplinary practice that combines the areas of corporate and real estate law. Hagerty regularly counsels clients on corporate management, as well as contract development and drafting. He has represented start-up companies and innovators at every stage, from establishing a corporation to developing employment agreements, establishing employee stock option plans and negotiating leases. He has been named to the Best Lawyers in America in corporate law every year since 2009, including being named 2016 Lawyer of the Year in Charleston. Hagerty is a member of the Society of International Business Fellows, chairs the Charleston Regional Development Alliance and serves as counsel, and is on the board of directors for the Spoleto Festival USA. 

Also Recognized for 2019: 

Michael Hickerson | FisherBroyles

Bryan L. Walpole, III | K&L Gates, LLP

Jennifer Blumenthal | Burr Forman

Cynthia J. Lowery | Moore & Van Allen, PLLC

Laurel R. S. Blair | Womble Bond Dickinson, LLP

W. Foster Gaillard | Womble Bond Dickinson, LLP

Bankruptcy and Creditor's Rights

Charles P. Summerall, IV

Walker Gressette Freeman & Linton, LLC


Charles Summerall has been practicing law in Charleston for more than 30 years. He is certified by the South Carolina Supreme Court as a bankruptcy and debtor-creditor law specialist. Summerall is a certified mediator, and his practice also includes a wide variety of business litigation matters such as partner disputes and disputes relating to contracts and real estate. The diversity of his practice is demonstrated by his listings in Best Lawyers in America in multiple categories: Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Litigation - Banking and Finance, Litigation - Bankruptcy and Litigation - Real Estate. Summerall has recently been named the Best Lawyers in America 2019 Litigation - Real Estate "Lawyer of the Year” in Charleston.

Also Recognized for 2019: 

Mark Sharpe | K&L Gates, LLP

Sean Markham | Markham Law Firm, LLC

Robert Byrd | Parker Poe

Business Litigation 

Danielle F. Payne

McAngus Goudelock & Courie, LLC


Danielle F. Payne's practice focuses on general litigation handling a variety of cases including insurance defense, general liability, construction litigation, product liability, dram shop, wrongful death, personal injury, appellate court, automobile wrecks, declaratory judgment actions and insurance defense coverage opinions. Prior to joining MGC, Payne practiced insurance defense in Columbia. She enjoys spending time with her husband and two sons. She loves traveling with friends and family, going to the beach and cheering on the Gamecocks.

Also Recognized for 2019: 

David Cox | Barnwell Whaley Patterson & Helms, LLC

G. Hamlin O'Kelley, III | Buist Byars and Taylor LLC

Brian Duffy | Duffy & Young, LLC

J. James Duggan | Duggan Law Firm, LLC

David K. Haller | Haller Law Firm

James Hood | Hood Law Firm

Jennifer Theim | K&L Gates, LLP

Ellis Lesemann | Lesemann & Associates, LLC

Paul Dominick | Nexsen Pruet, LLC

Elizabeth Palmer | Rosen Hagood, LLC

Alice Paylor | Rosen Hagood, LLC

Irish Ryan Neville | Stevens & Lee

Michael Timbes | Thurmond Kirchner & Timbes, P.A.

Trenholm Walker | Walker Gressette Freeman & Linton, LLC

John Massalon | Wills, Massalon & Allen, LLC

Ashley Kelley | Womble Bond Dickinson, LLP

Jim Myrick | Womble Bond Dickinson, LLP

Matt Tillman | Womble Bond Dickinson, LLP

Commercial Real Estate 

Merritt G. Abney



Merritt Abney practices in the area of complex commercial litigation, including business disputes, shareholder and partnership disputes, and disputes involving financial institutions, real property, and real estate development.  He has broad experience with jury and non-jury trials, arbitration, and has argued numerous cases in state and federal appellate courts. He graduated from Davidson College and earned his law degree at Vanderbilt University Law School.

Also Recognized for 2019: 

Lauren Gulley | Buist, Byars & Taylor LLC

Megan Stevens | Buxton & Collie, LLC

Jeff Vinzani | Graybill, Lansche & Vinzani, LLC

James H. "Jeddie" Suddeth III | Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, P.A.

Brian Hellman | Hellman Yates and Tisdale

Jennifer Smith | Jennifer S. Smith, Esquire, P.C.

Matthew Norton | K&L Gates, LLP

Manning Unger | Moore & Van Allen, PLLC

John Hagerty | Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP

Nicholas Sottile | Sottile, Hopkins & Lewis, LLC

Cynthia Morton | Womble Bond Dickinson, LLP

Foster Gaillard | Womble Bond Dickinson, LLP

James Wilson | Womble Bond Dickinson, LLP

Thomas L. Harper, Jr. | Womble Bond Dickinson, LLP

William Dawson III | Womble Bond Dickinson, LLP

Construction Law

J.D. Smith, JR.

McAngus Goudelock & Courie, LLC


J.D. Smith, Jr. has practiced insurance defense and litigation for more than 20 years, with a focus on construction defect litigation, personal injury defense, product liability, professional liability, trucking and insurance coverage. He regularly defends general contractors, subcontractors and design professionals in construction defect litigation brought along the counties of coastal South Carolina. His practice also includes the defense of insured defendants in automobile and trucking accidents, premises liability suits, products liability cases and other insurance-based claims. He earned a juris doctor from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University and a bachelor's degree from the College of Charleston. He is a member of the S.C. Bar Association, Charleston County Bar Association, S.C. Defense Trial Attorneys' Association and Defense Research Institute.

Also Recognized for 2019: 

Barbara Wagner | Barnwell Whaley Patterson & Helms, LLC

Dean Best | Best Honeycutt, P.A.

Walter Bundy, Jr. | Bundy McDonald, LLC

Sarah Wetmore Butler | Carlock Copeland & Stair

Patrick Norris | Carlock, Copeland & Stair, LLP

Paul Sperry | Carolock, Copeland & Stair, LLP

Robert Hawks | Ethridge Law Group

John Hayes | Hayes Law

Michael Allen | Pope Flynn Group

James Elliott | Richardson Plowden & Robinson, PA

Drew Butler | Richardson Plowden & Robinson, PA

J. Brewton Hagood | Rosen Hagood, LLC

James (Chip) Bruorton, IV | Rosen Hagood

Timothy Muller | Rosen Hagood, LLC

Graham P. Powell | Wall Templeton & Haldrup, P.A.

G. Troy Thames | Willson Jones Carter and Baxley

Allen Gibson | Womble Bond Dickinson, LLP

William Warnock, Jr. | Womble Bond Dickinson, LLP

Dana Lang | Womble Bond Dickinson, LLP

Corporate, Mergers and Acquisitions 

John E. Rosen



John Rosen has extensive experience with business transactions involving corporate law, commercial real estate and other related issues, as well as business and commercial litigation. Having earned a master's degree in international business, Rosen understands the complex issues facing today's management and is able to provide sound strategic and legal advice. His practice includes advising corporate clients throughout the life of their business, from business formations and governance to contract negotiations, mergers and acquisitions, and general corporate issues to shareholder oppression and share buyout and valuation litigation.

Hailing from a family of lawyers, Rosen has long appreciated the opportunities the legal profession provides for continuous learning, new challenges and assisting people in successfully planning for and resolving their legal issues. He maintains an AV Preeminent rating, the highest professional rating, in the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory. He is also listed in the Best Lawyers in America for commercial litigation.

Also Recognized for 2019: 

Ian Bowers | Buist, Byars & Taylor, LLC

Jim Buxton | Buxton & Collie, LLC

J. James Duggan | Duggan Law Firm, LLC

Andrew Lloyd | K&L Gates, LLP

Ernie Cochran | K&L Gates, LLP

David Hawkins | Nexsen Pruet, LLC

David Foley | Taylor Foley

Susan Smythe | Womble Bond Dickinson, LLP


Christopher A. Skipper

Skipper Law Firm, LLC


Since April of 2004, Christopher A. Skipper has been the sole practitioner of the Skipper Law Firm, LLC. Skipper practices criminal defense in federal, state, magistrate and municipal courts. He represents injured workers before the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission. 

Born and raised in Georgetown and Horry counties, Skipper began to work in the Charleston legal community while a student at the College of Charleston in 1990. After graduating from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1996, Skipper returned to the Lowcountry to work as an assistant solicitor in the Berkeley County Solicitor's Office and in the Charleston County Solicitor's Office. He currently serves as the judge for the City of Folly Beach Municipal Court and the city prosecutor for the City of Isle of Palms.

Skipper resides with his wife Amy and their three children in Mount Pleasant. He enjoys spending time with his family and being on the water.

Also Recognized for 2019: 

J. Scott Bischoff | Adams & Bischoff, PC

Christopher Geel | Adams & Geel

Sterling Chillico | Chillico & Associates

D. Keith Bolus | D. Keith Bolus, Attorney at Law

Dale Savage | Dale Savage Law Firm, LLC

Rad Deaton | Deaton Law Firm

Stephen Harris | Harris & Huge, LLC

Matthew Hubbell | K&L Gates, LLP

Bart Daniel | Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP

Mark Peper | Peper Law Firm

Rachael Arora | Public Defender's Office (Charleston)

Perry DeLoach | The Law Offices of Perry B. DeLoach, Jr., LLC

Ryan Schwartz | Thrower & Schwartz Law Firm

Jerry Theos | Uricchio, Howe, Krell, Jacobson, Toporek, Theos & Keith, P.A.

Family Law

Alex B. Cash

Rosen Hagood


Alex B. Cash has decades of experience representing individual clients in family law and personal injury cases.  During the past decade, his practice has focused predominantly on representing clients with substantial assets in dispute and/or complex matters in Family Court cases.  He is a senior partner at Rosen Hagood, LLC.  


Highly active with the state's community of trial attorneys, Alex was elected to serve as president for the South Carolina Association of Justice (SCAJ) during 2016-2017. SCAJ is an organization dedicated to protecting individual rights and has in excess of 1,300 members in South Carolina. As a member of SCAJ he has also served as the president-elect, vice president, secretary/treasurer, and on the board of governors. He is AV Preeminent rated by Martindale-Hubbell and recognized by Super Lawyers in the field of family law. Alex was previously nominated by his peers and became a member of the National Trial Lawyers "Top 100 Trial Lawyers" in South Carolina (2008-present). Alex was also nominated by his peers and became a member of the National Association of Distinguished Counsel "Top One Percent" in 2015. He has also been nominated by his peers for inclusion in the Best Lawyers of America for 2020 in the field of Family Law. 

In addition, Alex is a member of the Family Law Section of the South Carolina Bar Association, American Bar Association, American Association for Justice, and the Southern Trial Lawyers Association.


During the past couple of years, Alex has been a guest lecturer at the Charleston School of Law for the family law class. He has spoken at a variety of continuing legal education seminars about family law issues. Alex is the co-author of "Negligence" published in South Carolina Jurisprudence. He is also the co-author of supplement to "Marital and Relational Torts" published in South Carolina Jurisprudence.

Also Recognized for 2019: 

Tara Edwards-Vitollo | Bitollo Law Firm, LLC

Britton Hawk | Bluestein & Douglas, LLC

Michael DeTreville | DeTreville Law & Mediation, LLC

Mary Ann Hall | Hall and Means, LLC

Todd Manley | Manley & Halverstadt, LLC

Marie-Louise Ramsdale | Ramsdale Family Law Firm

Rene Dukes | Rosen Hagood, LCC

Greg Forman | Stokes & Haselden, LLC

Julianne Stokes | Stokes & Haselden, LLC

Stuart Feldman | Stuart A. Feldman Law Firm

Sara Turner | The Law Office of Sara A. Turner, LLC

Andrew Brene | The Peck Law Firm

Ryan Schwartz | Thrower & Schwartz Law Firm

Government and Environmental Law

Newman Jackson Smith

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP


Newman Jackson "Jack" Smith is a partner of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough in its Charleston office. Smith received his juris doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1978 and is admitted in the state of South Carolina, the Fourth Circuit Court of Claims, the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina  and the U.S District Court for the District of Columbia. Previously, he worked for state and federal coastal zone management agencies and has experience in complex private and government litigation.

Currently, Smith focuses his practice on environmental law and litigation, administrative law, land use law and constitutional law. Smith's current leadership roles include the Urban Land Institute representative of the NOAA Digital Coast Partnership, founder of the ULI Coastal Forum, the Charleston Chamber representative on the Charleston Resilience Network and immediate past president of the S.C. Mitigation Association. He is a former adjunct professor of environmental law at Charleston School of Law.

Also Recognized for 2019 in environmental law: 

Chris Jaros | K&L Gates, LLP

Perrin Dargan | K&L Gates, LLP

Wendy Parker | Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP

Trenholm Walker | Walker Gressette Freeman & Linton, LLC

Also Recognized for 2019 in government law: 

J. Ashley Cooper | Parker Poe

Stephanie Yarbrough | Womble Bond Dickinson, LLP

Insurance Law

John S. Wilkerson

Turner Padget Graham and Laney, P.A. 


John S. Wilkerson is a senior trial lawyer, having served as lead trial counsel in over 200 jury trials. 

Business disputes and insurance coverage/bad faith matters constitute the majority of his current caseload, but he also regularly represents attorneys and other professionals in defense of malpractice claims. He also maintains an active and rapidly growing mediation practice. Expert witness consulting in the areas of insurance claim handling and bad faith is also part of his practice.

A Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, John holds himself to the highest standards of advocacy and professionalism. Seeking efficient solutions to legal disputes is a quality he has honed with his years of practice in many areas of litigation. 

Experience as a mediator gives him a perspective and focus to find creative ways to resolve differences whenever possible, and his courtroom experience enables him to present a strong case when a negotiated solution is not obtainable. John has always been an active participant in local (Florence County Bar Association president), state (president, South Carolina Defense Trial Attorneys' Association) and national professional organizations (Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel) which provides many resources and the most up-to-date analysis of current legal issues.

Also Recognized for 2019: 

M. Dawes Cooke, Jr. | Barnwell Whaley Patterson & Helms, LLC

Micheal Ethridge | Ethridge Law Group

Grayson Smith | Gallivan White & Boyd, P.A.

Blanton O'Neal, IV | Hood Law Firm

R. Bruce Wallace | Nexsen Pruet, LLC

Bennett Crites | Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP

Intellectual Property Law

David Cox

Barnwell Whaley Patterson & Helms, LLC


David Cox serves as counsel for a variety of major product manufacturers in product liability litigation. He works to help manufacturers manage product liability risks and litigation, with an eye on controlling costs. 

In his intellectual property practice, Cox obtains trademarks and copyrights for business clients, and he has litigated infringement and trade practice cases. He helps clients implement strategies for protecting their intellectual property and for addressing infringement issues and other threats to that intellectual property. 

Additionally, Cox represents numerous South Carolina companies for general business advising, risk management and litigation of commercial disputes, both as plaintiff and defendant. 

He believes that his litigation experience helps him be a better business lawyer and that his business experience helps him be a better litigator. Cox works to understand his client's perspectives and goals, and he understands the need to balance risks and costs.

Also Recognized for 2019: 

B. C. "Bill" Killough | Barnwell Whaley Patterson & Helms, LLC

Edward Fenno | Fenno Law Firm, LLC

Jason Rosenblum | Law Office of Jason H. Rosenblum

International Law

W. Ford Graham

K&L Gates, LLP


W. Ford Graham has more than 12 years of experience in economic development. He has been one of the leading recruiters of international companies to the Southeastern United States, facilitating new industry and expansion in more than 110 projects, resulting in more than 8,500 jobs and $3.9 billion in investment.


Prior to joining K&L Gates, Graham served as director of international strategy and trade for the state Department of Commerce. While there, he directed international efforts including South Carolina's offices in Delhi, Munich, Shanghai and Tokyo; uncovered foreign direct investment opportunities; and supported South Carolina companies exporting their products to the world.


He is on the boards of the Darla Moore School of Business's Folks Center for International Business and the French American Chamber of Commerce of the Carolinas. He received the Distinguished Young Alumni Award from the Moore School in 2017. Graham also served in the Peace Corps in Guatemala.

Also Recognized for 2019: 

Scott Bluestein | Bluestein Law Firm

Julius Sam Hines | K&L Gates

Bradish Waring | Butler Snow LLP

Labor and Employment Law

Amy Jenkins

McAngus Goudelock & Courie, LLC


Amy Jenkins is a member at the law firm of McAngus Goudelock & Courie, LLC, which is headquartered in Columbia and has a total of 18 offices in six states. Jenkins has practiced in the area of employment law since 1993 and is a South Carolina Supreme Court-certified specialist in labor and employment law, as well as a certified mediator. 

Jenkins handles all aspects of employment law, including litigation and claims pending with federal and state agencies. She has extensive experience in drafting and evaluating employment contracts, handbooks and policies. She also routinely provides legal counsel to clients in employee-related matters. 

Jenkins currently serves on the S.C. Supreme Court's Employment and Labor Law Specialization Advisory Board. She has been recognized in the Best Lawyers in America (2007-2019), S.C. Super Lawyers (2008-2019) and Charleston Business Magazine's Legal Elite (2017).

Also Recognized for 2019: 

Lucy Sanders | Bloodgood & Sanders, LLC

Allan Holmes | Gibbs & Holmes

Meg Sawyer | K&L Gates, LLP

Walker Coleman | K&L Gates, LLP

Adriane Belson | Mercedes-Benz Vans, LLC

Molly Cherry | Nexsen Pruet, LLC

Alice Paylor | Rosen Hagood, LLC

Rene Dukes | Rosen Hagood, LLC

Ashley Kutz Kelley | Womble Bond Dickinson, LLP

Personal Injury

Andrew D. Gowdown

Rosen Hagood, LLC


Andrew D. Gowdown focuses on helping his clients with their complex and catastrophic personal injury cases. 

From traumatic brain injuries and wrongful death to product liability and trucking accidents, Gowdown's clients benefit from his experience, strategic thinking and relentless drive to see these cases through to a successful resolution. He has handled some of the most challenging cases, often against large companies, working professionally but aggressively to achieve the best result for his clients. 

His passion and dedication to his family and clients also extends to the community. He enjoys working with various organizations in the community to improve the well-being of others, such as the Trident Head Injury Support Group. 

Gowdown holds the AV Preeminent rating by Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory and has been repeatedly selected for inclusion in the Best Lawyers in America and South Carolina Super Lawyers. Most recently he was chosen for membership into The National Trial Lawyers Brain Injury - Top 25. 

Also Recognized for 2019: 

Christy Fargnoli | Clawson Fargnoli

Michael Dill | Cobb Dill & Hammett

Andrew Countryman | Countryman Law Firm

Kevin Smith | Hoffman Law Firm

Arthur Stuart Hudson | Hughey Law Firm, LLC

Nathan Hughey | Hughey Law Firm, LLC

Jennifer Purdy | Popowski, Callas, & Shirley, P.A.

Susan Rosen | Rosen Law Firm, LLC

Curtis Bostic | The Bostic Law Group, P.A.

Perry DeLoach | The Law Offices of Perry B. DeLoach, Jr., LLC

Brian Kern | Turner Padget

David Yarborough | Yarborough Applegate Law Firm, LLC

Douglas Jennings | Yarborough Applegate Law Firm, LLC

William Applegate | Yarborough Applegate Law Firm, LLC

Residential Real Estate

Jessica Dawson

McAngus Goudelock & Courie, LLC


Jessica Dawson's practice focuses on real estate and probate law, including residential and commercial real estate transactions and the preparation of simple estate planning documents. She earned a juris doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law and a bachelor's degree from Clemson University. Dawson is a member of the Charleston County Bar Association.

Also Recognized for 2019: 

Eric Bradshaw | Bradshaw & Company, LLC

Morgan Insley | Buist Byars & Taylor, LLC

Treadwell Josey | Buist, Byars & Taylor, LLC

DJ Shymansky | Cobb Dill & Hammett

Jennifer Williams | Law Office of Jennifer Williams

Tax and Estate

Jennifer Williams Davis

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP


Jennifer Williams Davis is a partner of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP in Charleston, where she practices in federal and state taxation, economic development and estate planning. She counsels clients in the areas of tax planning, state and local economic incentives, controversy work, tax-exempt organizations, partnership tax, estate planning and taxation of real estate transactions. She has been certified as a specialist in taxation law by the South Carolina Supreme Court.

Also Recognized for 2019: 

Jeffrey Bogdan | Barnwell Whaley Patterson & Helms, LLC

Abe Gutting | Buxton & Collie, LLC

J. James Duggan | Duggan Law Firm, LLC

Andrew Chandler | Evans Carter Kunes & Bennett

Patricia Scarborough | Evans Carter Kunes & Bennett

Edward Bennet | Evans, Carter, Kunes & Bennet, P.A.

Jean Lee | Evans, Carter, Kunes & Bennet, P.A.

Carter Grant | Grant & Kuyk, P.C.

Jason Walton | K&L Gates, LLP

Angela Kirby | Kirby Law, LLC

Meghan Barnes | Kirby Law, LLC

Tiffany Provence | Provence Messervy, LLC

David Taylor | Taylor Foley

Tripp Wiles | Wiles Law Firm, LLC

Graeme F. Philp | Womble Bond Dickinson, LLP

Workers' Compensation

Allison C. Nussbaum

McAngus Goudelock & Courie, LLC


Allison Nussbaum is a shareholder and practice group leader of McAngus Goudelock & Courie in the Charleston office. Since 2005, Nussbaum has focused her practice on workers' compensation defense, representing employers, self-insureds, and insurance carriers before the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission and in state courts. 

Nussbaum is an active member in national, state, and local professional organizations devoted to workers' compensation issues. She regularly lectures before various organizations on issues related to workers' compensation. Nussbaum is a former law clerk to the Honorable Diane S. Goodstein, judge of the First Judicial Circuit of South Carolina.

Outside of work, Nussbaum serves on the Board of the Children's Museum of the Lowcountry.

Also Recognized for 2019: 

Matt Cook | Hoffman Law Firm

Brian McElreath | Lueder, Larkin & Hunter

Vince Northcutt | Lueder, Larkin & Hunter, LLC

Max Sparwasser | Max Sparwasser Law Firm, LLC

Brandon Dawson | Miller, Dawson, Sigal and Ward

Malcolm Crosland | Steinberg Law Firm

Johnnie Baxley | Willson Jones Carter and Baxley

Charles Condon | Charles Condon Law Firm