Isadore S. Bernstein was born April 5, 1922, in Camden, NJ, to parents Sam Bernstein and Bessie Bernstein. His family moved back to SC when he was six months old. He graduated from Columbia High School at age 15 and entered the University of South Carolina, where he graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1941. He graduated magna cum laude from the USC School of Law in 1943, as a first honor graduate. He was the Chief Justice of the Society of Wig and Robe, editor-in-chief of the Selden Society Yearbook (predecessor to the Law Review) and a member of Omicron Delta Kappa.
Bernstein was a captain in the U.S. Army during World War II, serving in the Judge Advocate General’s Office. After the war, he opened his own law practice and taught business law at the University of South Carolina. He later served as a West Columbia Municipal Court Judge for 20 years, while continuing to engage in the private practice of law. From the 1960s to 1990, he partnered with his brother-in-law, Henry Hammer, to form the law firm of Hammer and Bernstein. The strength and reputation of the firm was built upon the strong foundation of ingenuity and leadership demonstrated by these two men. In 1994, Isadore was joined by two of his children, Lowell E. Bernstein and Beth E. Bernstein, and formed what is now known as Bernstein and Bernstein, LLC.
During a career that spanned more than 60 years, Isadore argued and prevailed in numerous cases in the U.S. District Court and S.C. Supreme Court. He helped create and shape new law and precedent during his career. He was considered by his contemporaries to be a “lawyer’s lawyer.” He had a brilliant legal mind and was exceptional in his devotion to the legal profession. Bernstein was admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, U.S. District Court and all of the S.C. state courts.
He was a member of the S.C. Bar, Richland County Bar Association, American Bar Association and S.C. Trial Lawyers Association. Bernstein was a life-long member of Beth Shalom Synagogue and engaged in extensive service to the Columbia Jewish community.
Isadore S. Bernstein died on June 29, 2010. He is survived by his children, Michele B. Perrick, Dr. Hilary J. Bernstein, Lowell E. Bernstein, Rep. Beth E. Bernstein and Dr. Anne L. Bernstein; and granddaughters, Danna and Rebecca Lewsky, and Caroline and Isabel Sanders. Mr. Bernstein was predeceased by his beloved wife, Carol O. Bernstein; son, Samuel K. Bernstein; and sister, Irene F. Bernstein.