Hon. David W. Harwell was born January 8, 1932 in Florence, SC, to parents Baxter H. Harwell, Sr. and Lacy Rankin Harwell. He earned his J.D. from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1958. In 1973, he graduated from the National College of State Trial Judges from the University of Nevada. He graduated from the American Academy of Judicial Education at the University of Colorado in 1976.
Justice Harwell was a member of the Georgetown County Bar Association, American Bar Association, the SC Bar, the U.S. District Court, District of S.C.; U.S. Court of Appeals Fourth Circuit; and the U.S. Supreme Court.
He served in the House of Representatives from 1963 until 1973. He also served on the Ways and Means Committee, Judiciary and Agriculture Study Committee. He was active in various state and national alternative dispute resolution committees and organizations.
He practiced with Harwell and Harwell Law Firm from 1958 to 1973, where he then served as a resident Circuit Court Judge in the 12th Judicial Circuit in S.C. In 1980, Justice Harwell joined the S.C. Supreme Court and served as an Associate Justice until 1991, when he was elected Chief Justice of the S.C. Supreme Court. He served in this capacity for three years. From 1994 to 2010, he served as special counsel with Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP and later joined Bell Legal Group.
In 2014, Justice Harwell was presented with the C.C. “Cotton” Harness III Peace award by the SC Bar. He also received the Order of the Palmetto from Gov. David M. Beasley and the Reid Montgomery Freedom of Information award from the S.C. Press Association.
Hon. David W. Harwell died on September 30, 2015. He is survived by his sons, the Honorable R. Bryan Harwell (Debra) and Wm. Baxter Harwell (Teresa); and grandchildren, Carson Harwell, Sarah Nell Harwell, Walker Harwell and Mason Harwell.