GUEST POST by J. Calhoun Watson of Sowell Gray 

The Fourth of July is a good time to remember our nation’s dedication to the rule of law and to celebrate this principle that sets us apart from many other countries.

Two hundred thirty-eight years ago, the Declaration of Independence charged the king of England with depriving the colonists of their right to a trial by jury. Because America’s founders believed serving on a jury and testifying in court were essential responsibilities of being a citizen, they were willing to wage war to stand up for this right.

Throughout history, lawyers have fought to uphold the rule of law in our nation’s most defining moments: drafting the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, crafting the Emancipation Proclamation and ending the Civil War, creating the New Deal to pull America out of the Great Depression and supporting the Civil Rights movement.

Still today, the rule of law is essential to our freedoms. The rule of law describes a system based on fair, publicized, easily understood and stable laws enforced by knowledgeable judges. Although Americans often take these rights and privileges for granted, we must always remember that our liberties, rights and way of life would be in great jeopardy without the rule of law. In many parts of the world, these rights are just a dream.

There always will be people who do not agree with a judge’s ruling and who criticize the lawyers who defend the accused. The fact is that under the American judicial system, anyone charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty: It is the defense attorney’s job to ensure his or her client has a fair trial, the prosecutor’s responsibility to present evidence to the court on behalf of the state, and the judge’s responsibility to rule based on the facts presented. This system is the very cornerstone of our founders’ vision. As Americans, we should share the same passion and commitment today as our founders 238 years ago.

In some cases, the system our founders envisioned is not fully accessible. I am very proud that S.C. lawyers are dedicated to advancing justice and ensuring that the civil legal system is available to all our citizens. Many lawyers choose this profession because they believe in the American legal system and want to make a difference in the lives of those they represent. It is important that we stand up for everyone’s access to the privileges of our system.

Thanks to many lawyers serving as volunteers, the S.C. Bar offers programs to provide legal representation and advice to those who cannot easily access or afford it. We sponsor free legal clinics and Ask-A-Lawyer phone banks and web chats. We also help provide wills to first-response personnel and Habitat for Humanity homeowners; educate at-risk high school students on criminal law and the consequences of their choices; educate the public about adoption and foster care; and teach students about civic responsibility. For information, please visit scbar.org or call (803) 799-6653.

As we spend time this weekend with family and friends and give thanks for this beautiful nation, let us honor one of the defining principles of this nation’s founding — celebrating our legal rights, access to a fair and balanced justice system and the commitment of this state and nation to upholding the rule of law for all citizens.

Printed July 3, 2014 in "The State" as:

Watson: Lawyers fight for America’s founding principles

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Cal, a native of Bamberg, South Carolina, is a graduate of Wofford College and the University of South Carolina School of Law. He is also President of the South Carolina Bar and the former President of Historic Columbia.

E cwatson@sowellgray.com
P (803) 231-7839
F (803) 231-7889
 
Admissions
South Carolina Bar
U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
Education
Wofford College, B.A., summa cum laude, 1984
– Phi Beta Kappa
– President of the Student Body
University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D., cum laude, 1987
– Order of the Coif
– Order of Wig and Robe
– Student Works Editor of the South Carolina Law Review
– Legal Writing Instructor, 1986-1987
Associations
International Association of Defense Counsel (Technology Chair, 2010-2012), Business Litigation, Professional Liability, and Trial Tactics Committees and Social Media Task Force (Chair)
Richland County Bar Association
American Bar Association
John Belton O’Neall Inn of Court (President, 2010-2011)
South Carolina Defense Trial Attorneys’ Association
Defense Research Institute
Certified South Carolina Circuit Court Mediator
Judicial Clerkships
Honorable Robert F. Chapman, Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
Offices
Fellow, American Bar Foundation
Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
President, South Carolina Bar (2014-2015), President-Elect (2013-2014), Treasurer (2012-2013), Secretary (2011-2012)
President, John Belton O’Neall Inn of Court (2010-2011)
South Carolina Bar Board of Governors (1997-2000, 2009-present)
South Carolina Bar House of Delegates (1997-present)
Access to Justice Commission (2006-present)
President, South Carolina Bar Foundation (2006-2007)
Editorial Board of South Carolina Lawyer Magazine (2000-2007)
President, Young Lawyers Division of the South Carolina Bar (1997-1998)
Honors & Awards
Best Lawyers in America (Woodward/White, 2008-2014), Commercial Litigation
Best Lawyers in America (Woodward/White, 2008-2014), Professional Malpractice Law, Defendants
Best Lawyers in America (Woodward/White, 2010-2014),  Bet-the-Company Litigation
South Carolina “Super Lawyer” Business Litigation (2008-2014)
South Carolina “Super Lawyer” Professional Liability Defense (2010-2012)
Chambers U.S.A. America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (2009-2014)
Selected as a Top Rated Lawyer in Commercial Litigation by Litigation Special Report (2012)
Recipient, Innovative Leadership Award, Historic Columbia (2010)
Recipient, Compleat Lawyer Award Silver Medallion, USC Law School Alumni Association (2001)
Community Involvement
President, Historic Columbia Foundation (2007-2009)
President, Wofford College National Alumni Association (2000)
Wofford College Parents Advisory Council (2012-2013)
AC Flora PTSO (Co-President, 2011-2012)

 

 

 

Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/2014/07/03/3544531/watson-lawyers-fight-for-americas.html?sp=/99/168#storylink=cpy

 

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Photo of Trey Mills Trey Mills

Floyd S. “Trey” Mills III knows that suffering a personal injury through no fault of your own can be a nightmare for the victim and his or her family

Mr. Mills was born on April 24, 1978.  His parents, Floyd S. “Butch” Mills,

Floyd S. “Trey” Mills III knows that suffering a personal injury through no fault of your own can be a nightmare for the victim and his or her family

Mr. Mills was born on April 24, 1978.  His parents, Floyd S. “Butch” Mills, Jr. and Patricia Yarborough Mills, were originally from Newberry, South Carolina, and soon after the birth of Mr. Mills, his parents brought him back to be raised in the same county they grew up in.

Education

Mr. Mills attended Newberry Academy from grades K-3, Gallman Elementary 4th grade, Rikard Elementary 5-6th grade, Mid-Carolina Middle School 7-8th grades, Mid-Carolina High School from 9-12th grades, Clemson University, and Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University.

Health Crisis

While Mr. Mills was a junior in high school he was chosen by his school to be a representative to Boys State.  This was a great honor and would have been an even better experience except, while at Boys State, Mr. Mills became unusually ill with blackouts, night sweats, and back pain.  Fortunately for Mr. Mills, his mother was an ER nurse at Lexington Medical Center, but unfortunately, for Mr. Mills that did not change his diagnosis of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia.  Along with his diagnosis, Mr. Mills received a prognosis of two weeks.

Obviously, Mr. Mills has been blessed with his second chance at life and those who have been wronged by health care insurance companies and other types of insurance companies can feel confident in knowing that Mr. Mills can not only empathize with them but fight fervently for their side.  Mr. Mills’ cancer experience and his mother’s arduous yet unsuccessful battle against lung cancer were very trying times.  However, those real-world battles and experiences were nothing compared to the administrative and billing wars he had to encounter with Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Insurance. It seems BCBS would deny any charge over $1,000 without rational reasoning therefore prompting Mr. Mills to go to law school and carry the torch for those that were too ill to fight for themselves while the school yard bully beat them down.

College

Mr. Mills went on to Clemson University where he was very active in student activities along with academic accomplishments.  Mr. Mills was invited to join Calhoun Honor’s College, Sigma Pi fraternity, Golden Key National Honor Society, Student Government, IPTAY Student Advisory Board, and Tiger Brotherhood. Mr. Mills also worked as a student employee with IPTAY Scholarship Fund under the direction of Bert Henderson, formerly the Associate Athletic Director of Planned Giving at Clemson University.

Early Life

Mr. Mills was unsure of where his hard work and life experiences would best provide an adequate return to the outpouring of kindness he received during his cancer experience. Having received many blessings from the American Red Cross, Mr. Mills went on to be an Apheresis Donor Recruiter under the supervision of Barry Pollard at the American Red Cross Blood Donor Services in Columbia, SC after graduating Clemson University.

Running from his true calling, Mr. Mills fled to Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico to Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL).  Having spent a semester of college in Madrid, Spain, Mr. Mills thought he should be assisting foreign countries. Mr. Mills was certified by the Vancouver Language Centre in Guadalajara for his TEFL training.  Mr. Mills was in Guadalajara only a few months when September 11, 2001 occurred and helped him focus on his life priorities.

Law School

Mr. Mills went on to law school at Mercer University and clerked each summer trying to determine how he could best serve those less fortunate.  The corporate law firms never truly provided him with that personal feeling of assisting the common person in need.  It wasn’t until Mr. Mills became the first law clerk of the South Carolina Trial Lawyers Association under the supervision of Linda Franklin and lobbyist Michael Gunn that he realized where his education, life experience, drive, and hard work could truly benefit those who have been personally and directly affected by the negligence of another.  Mr. Mills wanted to be a coveted and much needed plaintiff’s trial attorney.  More importantly Mr. Mills realized the power of the faceless insurance companies, misinformed legislative members, and the true power of money and lobbyist in dictating laws.

What’s the one service you pay for all your life but you are actually penalized if you ever have to use it? Insurance.

Trammell & Mills

Mr. Ernie Trammell gave Mr. Mills his big break at leveling the playing field against the faceless and heartless insurance companies.  Mr. Mills works tirelessly every day in an effort to bring justice to those who have been wronged.  Mr. Mills has worked on both sides of the law and has been through some harrowing life experiences.  Mr. Mills has been tested and tried by many of the more traumatic events that life has to offer and now provides his services to the public.

Who would you rather have on your side? Someone whose resolve has been tested and tried? Or someone who has intertwined their morality and greed in such a way that they can’t tell one from the other?

Why haven’t you hired Mr. Mills to be your attorney yet?

Would you listen to the devil on how to get to Heaven? Then why listen to insurance adjusters?