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Dec. 22, 2021

Ed Mullins Receives S.C.’s Highest Honor

Retired partner Edward W. Mullins Jr. was presented the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina’s highest civilian honor, for his years of service to the local and legal communities. Mullins, who retired from Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough in 2019, received the award during the law firm’s annual partners meeting from Managing Partner Jim Lehman.

Mullins joined the firm in 1959 as its fifth lawyer in its sole office in Columbia. Through the years he contributed to professional and community causes, among them:  

  • Along with other legal leaders in the state, he pushed for the creation of the Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism in 2000. He was among the fund-raisers and longtime supporters of the University of South Carolina School of Law’s Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough Center on Professionalism.
  • He was among the attorneys who supported establishing a formal pro bono program and making community service a core value at Nelson Mullins.
  • He spearheaded the Firm’s United Way of the Midlands campaign efforts for many years. For several years, he was president of the United Way of the Midlands’ de Tocqueville Society, whose members contributed at least $10,000 annually, and was honored as the organization’s Humanitarian of the Year in 2019, as well as being recognized that year in an S.C. Senate Resolution for Outstanding Community Service.   
  • He also held a passion for the causes related to mental illness. He was chairman and eight-year member of the Board of the Columbia Area Mental Health Association as well as board member and chairman of Mental Health America of South Carolina. 

The Order of the Palmetto is South Carolina’s highest civilian honor bestowed by the governor in recognition of a lifetime of extraordinary achievement, service, and contributions on a national or statewide scale. An individual must be nominated for the Order of the Palmetto. This once-in-a-lifetime award may only be presented to natives or residents of South Carolina.

Established in 1897, Nelson Mullins is a firm of more than 850 attorneys and government relations professionals with 25 offices in 11 states and Washington, D.C. The offices run from Miami in the south to Boston in the north and west to Nashville, Denver, and Los Angeles. It is the 71st largest law firm in the nation based on 2020 gross revenues, according to the American lawyer's Am Law 100, the legal news organization that tracks law firm growth. In 2022 it is celebrating 125 years of legal service. For more information on the firm, go to

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