During fall law school orientation, a few biographies from Memory Hold the Door are cited to highlight the professional virtues that law students and lawyers should cultivate. In addition, the Law Library curates a display that celebrates the lives and accomplishments of the highlighted honorees.
The attorneys honored in the current display are:
The Honorable John Belton O'Neall (1793-1863)
He graduated second in his class at South Carolina College in 1812. He later became a lawyer, a trustee of South Carolina College, a judge for 35 years, and Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court. The John Belton O'Neall Inn of Court at UofSC Law is named for him.
The Honorable Ernest A. Finney, Jr. (1931-2017)
After he graduated from law school in 1954, he became one of only five Black lawyers in South Carolina. He gained a reputation as an outstanding defense lawyer and civil rights advocate. Justice Finney served in the South Carolina House of Representatives, as a judge, and as Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court.
Sarah Leverette (1919-2018)
She was the first female faculty member at UofSC Law. Ms. Leverette was a law librarian and taught legal writing and workers’ compensation law. She later chaired what is now known as the Workers’ Compensation Commission. Ms. Leverette was also a Lieutenant Colonel in the Civil Air Patrol.
The display is located in the Coleman Karesh Reading Room on the second floor of the Law Library.
Henry Edward Young (1831–1918)
“He was remarkable for the care and thoroughness he gave his cases. His briefs were noted for accuracy and precision. His arguments were models of clearness and compactness.” Henry Young was one of the founders of both the American Bar Association and the South Carolina Bar Association.
The Honorable Matthew J. Perry, Jr. (1921–2011)
He individually tried more than 6,000 cases, and his work led to the release of nearly 7,000 people arrested for protesting various forms of segregation. Judge Perry became South Carolina’s first African-American Federal District Judge in 1979.
The Honorable Ann L. Furr (1945-2016)
When her husband was drafted for the Vietnam War, she chose to follow him to Vietnam, where she became a social worker in the Saigon city jail. Upon returning to South Carolina, she earned a law degree, opened a law practice, and became the first woman judge on Columbia’s municipal court. She later became the chief judge. After retirement, Judge Furr joined the Peace Corps and served in both Afghanistan and Azerbaijan helping develop emerging legal systems.
The 2019 display remained in place during 2020 as well, due to the pandemic.
The Honorable Jonathan Jasper Wright (1840-1885)
He was the first Black man to practice law in South Carolina, a delegate to South Carolina’s 1868 Constitutional Convention, a senator from Beaufort County, and an associate justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court. After leaving the Court, he established Claflin College’s law department and conducted classes at his law office in Charleston.
Thomas E. McCutchen, Jr. (1919-2018)
He served in the Army Air Corps in World War II, then practiced law for 66 years, from 1946 to 2012. He successfully argued a boundary dispute, Georgia v. South Carolina, before the United States Supreme Court. He received the first Lifetime Achievement Award from the Richland County Bar Association, and the Compleat Lawyer Award.
Harriet M. Johnson (1957-2008)
She was a solo practitioner in Charleston and a board member of Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities, Inc. She published about disability advocacy, including works titled Stairway to Justice; Too Late to Die Young; and Accidents of Nature. UofSC Law’s Harriet McBryde Johnson Memorial Scholarship is established in her name.