I advise young lawyers that if they want to be good trial lawyers, they should do appellate work and that if they want to be good appellate lawyers, they should do trial work. Trials turn primarily on proving the relevant and necessary facts, which requires an understanding of the substantive law to know what is relevant and necessary. The trial lawyer examines witnesses, introduces evidence, and argues procedural motions. The appellate lawyer must rely on a transcript of the trial andthe evidence produced at trial to show the appellate court that the trial judge madea mistake and misinterpreted or misapplied the law. A fatal flaw in an appeal is that an issue was not presented or decided in the trial court. Even if the trial judgemakes a mistake, the appellate court will not change the result unless the mistakewas prejudicial to the appealing party.

Appellate cases in the South Carolina Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court of South Carolina teach the trial lawyer what he or she must know to “protect the record” at trial. Trial experience helps the appellate lawyer explain why the trial judge’s error was prejudicial. Trial lawyers with appellate experience and a known willingness to appeal, have an advantage negotiating settlements and trying cases.

Erin and I are proud of our appellate experience and our appellate record. The written opinions of the South Carolina Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court ofSouth Carolina are public records. Our appellate cases include the following decisions:

South Carolina Supreme Court
Peay v. Peay, 260 S.C. 108, 194 S.E.2d 392 (1973)
Brown v. Reynolds, 266 S.C. 41; 221 S.E.2d 396 (1975)
State v. Fortner, 266 S.E. 223; 222 S.E.2d 508 (1976)
State v. Gilliam, 270 S.C. 345; 242 S.E.2d 410 (1978)
McGrew v. McGrew, 273 S.C. 556; 257 S.E.2d 743 (1979)
H.W. Carriker Co. v. Johnson, 277 S.C 280 ; 286 S.E.2d 140 (1982)
Whitner v. Duke Power, 277 S.C 397; 288 S.E.2d 389 (1982)
Finley v. Manley, 278 S.E 652; 300 S.E.2d 914 (1983)
Phillips v. Phillips, 288 S.E. 185; 341 S.E.2d 132 (1986)
Wingate v. Wingate, 305 S.C. 368; 409 S.E.2d 346 (1991)
Berkebille v. Outen, 311 S.C. 50; 426 S.E.2d 760 (1993)
Sexton v. Sexton, 310 S.E. 501; 427 S.E.2d 665 (1993)
Ardis v. Ward, 321 S.C. 65; 467 S.E.2d 742 (1996)
Mullinax v. J. M. Brown Amusement Co., 333 S.C. 89; 508S.E.2d 848 (1998)
State v. Cherry, 361 S.C. 588; 606 S.E.2d 475 (2004)
City of Rock Hill v. Suchenski, 374 S.C. 12; 646 S.E.2d 879 (2007)
**Pittman v. Pittman, 407 S.C. 141, 754 S.E.2d 501 (2014)

South Carolina Court of Appeals
Marshall v. Marshall, 282 S.C. 534; 320 S.E.2d 44 (1984)
Troutman v. Facetglas, Inc., 281 S.C. 598; 316 S.E.2d 424 (1984)
Coogler v. Thompson, 286 S.C. 168; 332 S.E.2d 215 (1985)
Elders v. Parker, 286 S.C. 228; 332 S.E.2d 563 (1985)
Taylor Freezer Sales Co. v. Bachman, 285 S.C. 292; 329 S.E.2d 1 (1985)
Henry v. Henry, 296 S.C. 285; 272 S.E.2d 104 (1988)
Hough v. Hough, 312 S.C. 344; 440 S.E.2d 387 (1994)
Burbach v. Investors Mgmt. Corp. Int’l, 326 S.C. 492; 484 S.E.2d 119 (1997)
Charest v. Charest, 329 S.C 511; 495 S.E.2d 784 (1997)
McCurry v. Keith, 325 S.C. 441; 481 S.E.2d 166 (1997)
Shirley v. Shirley, 342 S.C. 324; 536 S.E.2d 427 (2000)
Maxwell v. Maxwell, 375 S.C 182; 650 S.E.2d 680 (2007)
**Pittman v. Pittman, 395 S.C. 209 (S.C. Ct. App. 2011)
**Schultze v. Schultze, 403 S.C. 1, 741 S.E.2d 593 (2013)
**Brown v. Brown, 408 S.C. 582, 758 S.E.2d 922 (2014)

 

** Thomas F McDow and Erin K. Urquhart, Attorneys of Record