2018-02-09 / Society

SCABOTA inducts new members and honors their own

Photos by Phillip Jones and story by Mimi M. Maddock


Eight new members of South Carolina American Board of Trial Lawyers were inducted by Chief Justice Donald Beatty, and plaques were awarded to them: Sarah Purnell, Ben Alexander, Austin Hood, Gerald Jowers, Wes Kissinger, Thiele McVey, Blakely Smith, and Dominic Starr. Eight new members of South Carolina American Board of Trial Lawyers were inducted by Chief Justice Donald Beatty, and plaques were awarded to them: Sarah Purnell, Ben Alexander, Austin Hood, Gerald Jowers, Wes Kissinger, Thiele McVey, Blakely Smith, and Dominic Starr. The South Carolina American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) held its annual meeting and black tie dinner in the Grand Ballroom of The Palmetto Club February 2.

In the South Carolina Chapter of ABOTA, the executive director is Patricia Price Cavanaugh; president, James W. Fayssoux Jr.; president elect, Kirby D. Shealy III; treasurer, Robert F. Goings; national board representatives: Douglas F. Patrick, Samuel W. Outten, and Clarence Davis.

New members were inducted at the dinner: Sarah Purnell, Ben Alexander, Austin Hood, Gerald Jowers, Wes Kissinger, Thiele McVey, Blakely Smith, and Dominic Starr. The recipient of the Jeter E. Rhodes Jr. Award was Tom Pope.


Patricia Cavanaugh, executive director of SCABOTA, welcomes guest as they come to the annual meeting of the South Carolina American Board of Advocates. Patricia Cavanaugh, executive director of SCABOTA, welcomes guest as they come to the annual meeting of the South Carolina American Board of Advocates. According to the SC ABOTA website, the history of ABOTA began in 1957. The jury system was under fierce attack by the press, legislators, judges, and scholars. California’s governor, Edmund “Pat” Brown, even suggested a commission to hear workers’ compensation, liability, and other civil cases.

It was this dark cloud —the potential death sentence for the civil jury system that provided the seeds for the birth of the American Board of Trial Advocates. In 1958, a handful of young lawyers began an organization (ABOTA) that was “revolutionary,” according to most of their elders.

The same forces are at work today as they were in the late 50s—those people want to dismantle the civil jury system—and the attacks are far less subtle.


National Representative, Sam Mabry III, and recipient of the Jeter E. Rhodes Jr. Award, Tom Pope National Representative, Sam Mabry III, and recipient of the Jeter E. Rhodes Jr. Award, Tom Pope The preservation of the civil jury trial, “Justice by the People,” is the primary purpose of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). They seek attorneys who display skill, civility, and integrity, to help younger attorneys achieve a higher level of trial advocacy and to educate the public about the vital importance of the Seventh Amendment.

Thomas Jefferson was of the opinion that the right to trial by a jury of fellow citizens was a more important safeguard of personal liberty than the right to vote. “With a jury, the rights and duties of each of us will be decided by our fellow citizens, not by some bureaucrat or governmental functionary.”

ABOTA agrees with Jefferson and is a leader in the fight to preserve and protect all Americans the right to a jury trial. ABOTA is dedicated to “Justice by the People.”



Outgoing President of SCABOTA Dennis N. Cannon and Incoming President Wally Fayssoux. Outgoing President of SCABOTA Dennis N. Cannon and Incoming President Wally Fayssoux.

Memorial presentation is given to the family of John Johnston. Memorial presentation is given to the family of John Johnston.

Officers of SCABOTA are incoming treasurer, Robert Goings; incoming president, Wally Fayssoux; Chief Justice Donald Beatty, recipient of the Jurist of the Year Award; incoming vice president, Kirby Shealy; and outgoing president, Dennis Cannon. Officers of SCABOTA are incoming treasurer, Robert Goings; incoming president, Wally Fayssoux; Chief Justice Donald Beatty, recipient of the Jurist of the Year Award; incoming vice president, Kirby Shealy; and outgoing president, Dennis Cannon.

Memorial presentation is given to the family of Chief Justice Ernest Finney. Memorial presentation is given to the family of Chief Justice Ernest Finney.

Memorial presentation is given to the family of Laniel Chapman. Memorial presentation is given to the family of Laniel Chapman.

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