I Am a Native South Carolinian
I attended a small high school and my focus was always furthering my education.
Why I Pursued Law
After graduating from high school, I went on to the University of South Carolina, proud to be a Gamecock fan. Shortly after my freshman year I was held up at gunpoint and carjacked. It was a frightening ordeal, but in the end I “made lemonade out of lemons” and decided to pursue a career in Criminal Justice. I completed an internship in the SC State House and another internship at the Richland County Drug Court. I was so excited about the prospect of being a lawyer that I graduated in three and a half years from USC with a 3.7 GPA by taking summer school courses (that, combined with my AP credits from high school).
I always had some kind of part time job. I babysat before I was old enough to work. I was incredibly driven and realized quickly the harder I worked, the more I accomplished. I worked in a small ladies clothing store, Hallmark card stores, was an academic tutor in college, helped students with disabilities, had holiday employment at the mall, and even landed a job as a courier at a small law firm (Tompkins and McMaster Law Firm in Columbia, South Carolina).
That little law firm had some powerful lawyers that encouraged and inspired me. I ended up getting into law school and I knew I would be happy doing exactly what I enjoyed. And I was right. I was the first lawyer, and first lady lawyer in the history of my family. And I wasn’t finished making history.
First year law students are encouraged not to work due to the demanding academic work load. Not working and being a full time student was a laughable, foreign concept for me. I had a part time job as a nanny for Thad Myers, a local attorney in Columbia, SC. As luck would have it, the law firm where Thad worked needed a law clerk and guess who got the job?
It was a big break for me and I loved every minute working for the infamous James C. Anders and Associates. The building where I worked was an old historic home-turned-office space and it was beautiful…it looked like a museum. It was the nicest house I had ever seen. I was grateful for my very own small desk space in the basement of the old house. There were copies of checks on the walls of multimillion dollar verdicts prooving their success and I was fortunate enough to be there researching cases, learning the law, rubbing elbows, being a team player, taking it all in!
The lawyers there were brilliant, creative, colorful, and were well known and well respected in the community. NBC’s Dateline followed one of the cases. The lawyers worked on cases sometimes made national news (The Susan Smith case), and all of my opportunities were just right there in front of me. I worked alongside Keith Giese, who was a key lawyer in prosecuting the case against Susan Smith that made national headlines. My boss, Jim Anders prosecuted Pee Wee Gaskins. The Anders law firm was a long ways from the farm where I grew up!
I Had a Great Mentor
A self made man, the late Jim Anders always told me, “you have to get some trial experience before you can start winning verdicts like these.” Anders, who tried the infamous case of serial killer “Pee Wee” Gaskins encouraged me to get some “real” trial experience at the Solicitor’s Office, which is where he began.
I followed his advice and started working at the Dorchester County Solicitor’s Office where I gained more trial and “in court” experience than I ever thought possible. I was actually trying cases, and not just researching. Jury after jury convicted sex offenders, domestic violence abusers, child abusers, and other derilects. For 4 years I tried cases and enjoyed my job immensely. I learned first-hand what the State needed to prove someone guilty. I met and tried cases with various defense attorneys. I learned their tactics, studied their legal theories, and dooked out cases with them. I loved it! It really doesn’t feel like work when you get to do something everyday you enjoy and are passionate about.
Why I Started My Own Law Firm
With all the education, life experience, and necessary trial experience under my belt, it was time for me to open my own practice. People always ask me, how can you switch sides…go from prosecuting to defending? That’s easy… everyone has constitutional rights. If I was arrested and was innocent, I would want the best representation I could get. I use the experiences from the Solicitor’s office, from my humble beginnings in rural South Carolina, my experience at Anders’ firm, and, yes, even from the carjacking in my practice now. I give my clients the one on one attention they deserve.
In my Spare Time
In my free time I enjoy fishing (saltwater and freshwater), taking hikes, crabbing, boating, going to the dog park, attending USC football games, travelling, riding bikes, swimming, playing the piano and violin, going to the beach, and working out. I have an old hound dog that didn’t make the cut to become a police K-9 that a former Dorchester County Deputy gave me.