May 20, 2020
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The S.C. Bar Foundation and the S.C. Supreme Court Historical Society today released four episodes of oral histories recorded with Claude M. Scarborough, Jr., a former managing partner of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, as part of its Historical Society Podcast series. Former S.C. Gov. and U.S. Education Secretary Richard W. “Dick” Riley, Scarborough’s law partner, provided the introduction. Scarborough died in 2012.
In an interview with Herbert Hartsook, director of South Carolina Political Collections at the University of South Carolina Libraries, Scarborough discusses his childhood, joining the law firm as a young associate, growing the firm, serving as president of the South Carolina Bar, his hopes for the future of the practice of law, and so much more.
The Historical Society, through the leadership of Nelson Mullins partner George Cauthen and others, has been collecting oral stories for more than 10 years. Scarborough’s and the other episodes are available on Apple Music, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and the Supreme Court Historical Society website.
Other posted interviews are with Judge Matthew Perry, Judge Joe Anderson, Judge Jasper Cureton, and Sarah Leverette, who was one of the first women to graduate from the University of South Carolina School of Law. Upcoming podcasts will be posted on Alex Sanders, former Chief Judge of the South Carolina Court of Appeals; former legislator and former Bar president I.S. Leevy Johnson; and many more.
“We have accumulated a collection of narratives that will inspire, and Claude’s impact on the legal profession is among those inspirations,” said Cauthen, the project chair.
Scarborough was the managing partner of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough from 1964 through 1995. He had practiced law with the firm since 1955 after completing service in the U.S. Army as a First Lieutenant from 1952-1955. The law firm consisted of six attorneys in Columbia when Scarborough assumed management responsibilities. He was a visionary leader, and the firm now has more than 800 attorneys and government relations professionals across the nation.
Scarborough attended the University of South Carolina School of Law where he received an LL.B. in 1952 as well as the University of the South (1947-1949) and the University of South Carolina, where he was a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity and received an A.B. in 1951. Always an active leader in his profession, he served as president of the South Carolina Bar, 1975-76; and as chairman of the Board of the South Carolina Bar Foundation, 1978-80. He was a lifelong champion of lawyers – instrumental in integrating the S.C. Bar, establishing pro-bono service to the poor as a core ethic of his firm and the bar at large, and always striving to improve the administration of justice. He was awarded the Herbert Harley Award by the American Judicature Society in 1976 for his service to judicial reform in South Carolina, the "Order of the Palmetto" for his service to the state in 1986, and the DuRant Award in 1996 for "distinguished public service" to the bar and the community. He also received the Compleat Lawyer Award from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1992.
A dedicated proponent of bettering his city and state, Scarborough served as chairman of the South Carolina Research Authority, 1983-1987, and chairman of the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce, 1986-1987, as well as a member of its board from 1980 to 1990.
He served as president of the Board of Trustees and as chairman of the Board of Commissioners of the Columbia Museum of Art, where he served as a member of the Trustees' Board from 1995 through 2007, championing the museum's move to Main Street. He has also been a member of several other boards including the board of the South Carolina Philharmonic, 1992-1995; the State of South Carolina Coordinating Council for Economic Development, 1984-1987; the Midlands Board for Economic Development; the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce; the Board of Visitors of Columbia College; and the Board of the University of South Carolina Educational Foundation.
As a lifelong servant of his church, Claude served as president of the Board of Trustees of the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina, 1985 to 1997, and as senior warden, vestry member, and lay reader among other positions in Columbia's Trinity Episcopal Cathedral.
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