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Q&As with the 2011 Emerging Legal Leaders finalists

Editor’s note: For the first time, South Carolina Lawyers Weekly is recognizing a select group of attorneys – all of whom have practiced for 10 years or less – for their service to the profession and their communities. Colleagues, clients, firms and friends nominated a large number for the honors, and that group has been narrowed to 18 finalists.

In order to get to know them better, we asked each finalist a series of personal questions. Their answers to one question apiece are presented here.

Judges will select the 2011 Emerging Legal Leaders winners, and we will announce them at a reception on Thursday, Jan. 27 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.

 

 

Shannon Furr Bobertz

Turner Padget Graham & Laney

Columbia

 

Q: Tell us something about yourself that others would be surprised to find out.

A: I have traveled extensively, visiting countries in every continent except for Australia and Antarctica. I once sat next to Mother Teresa on an airplane traveling to Kenya, and she gave me a St. Christopher medal and blessed me. I also tracked wild orangutans in Borneo with Birute Galdikas, who was one of the three women sent out by Louis Leakey to study the great apes. I lived in Turkey for a year and a half with a host family and still stay in contact with my Turkish “family.”

 

 

Barrett R. Brewer

Clawson & Staubes

Charleston

 

Q: What is the most unusual thing on your desk or in your office, and what’s the story behind it?

A: On my desk is a wedding picture of my wife and me with my dog, wearing a bow tie collar in the foreground. I have had my dog, Foster, since I was in law school, and he was allowed to participate in the wedding ceremony, following us down the aisle. My wife wasn’t a dog person until she met Foster, and now we have two dogs.

 

 

Tushar Chikhliker

Nexsen Pruet

Columbia

 

Q: If you weren’t practicing law, what other career would you pursue?

A: If I was not practicing law, the history buff in me would lead me to a career as an archaeologist. I have always been intrigued by the prospect of traveling the world in search of artifacts that provide a window into past cultures and societies. Upon re-reading this, I have come to the realization that I would really just want to be Indiana Jones.

 

 

Suzanne Boulware Cole

Collins & Lacey

Greenville

Q: What is your favorite book, movie or TV show and why?

A: My favorite book is The Sun Also Rises because Lady Brett Ashley is a dominant, vivacious woman who goes after what she wants with gusto. Since the first time I read it, I have dreamt of running with the bulls in Pamplona. 

 

 

Reggie Corley

Rogers Townsend & Thomas

Columbia

 

Q: What is the greatest goal you hope to accomplish in your life?

A: The greatest goal I hope to accomplish in life is to be the best husband, father and lawyer possible. To a fault, I am a perfectionist. I am constantly telling myself that perfection is a goal, but as Salvador Dali famously said, “Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.” At the end of the day, I hope I can look back and say I did my best.

 

 

Jared H. Garraux

Richardson Plowden & Robinson

Columbia

 

Q: What is the most unusual thing on your desk or in your office, and what’s the story behind it?

A: I have been in my current office for three and a half years and have yet to hang anything on my walls. All of my degrees, certifications, licenses, awards, etc., are resting comfortably on the floor. I am somewhat superstitious. So, for now, my walls will remain bare.   

Karen Gieselman

Fisher & Phillips

Columbia

 

Q: Name an unusual thing you would like to do before you die.

A: I would like to visit and/or hike in every national park in the United States and Canada. There is so much beautiful country to explore! The added benefit is that BlackBerry reception in the parks is really limited or nonexistent, so visiting the parks gives me a much needed break from being connected to the office 24/7 and allows me to say without lying “you can try all you want, but you won’t be able to reach me.” I also want to hike the length of the Appalachian Trail. Really … honestly … and not as a code for doing something else.

 

 

Robert Goings

Collins & Lacey

Columbia

 

Q: Tell us something about yourself that others would be surprised to find out.

A: One of the things I held so close as a child still provides much comfort today. When I was younger, cowboy boots were my favorite. I called them my stompers. And now I wear cowboy boots to all major life events. When I married my bride, I wore cowboy boots. In court, I wear cowboy boots. 

 

Clay M. Grayson

Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd

Charleston

 

Q: Name an unusual thing you would like to do before you die.

A: I’d like to scuba dive to the wreck of the Andrea Doria. While not as famous as the Titanic, the Andrea Doria was a transatlantic ocean liner that sank in 1956 off the coast of Nantucket after colliding with another vessel. With the top of the wreck being 150 feet below the surface, this dive is at the limit of human capabilities and has been described as the Mt. Everest of scuba diving.

 

 

James B. Hood

Hood Law Firm

Charleston

 

Q: What is the most unusual thing on your desk or in your office, and what’s the story behind it?

A: An old cigar box full of fishing lures. Despite my grandfather’s best efforts, I never became the golfer that he hoped, but he encouraged me to pursue my passions. He had a profound impact on me, and his old box of lures is a happy reminder that I can strive to be a great father and husband and a dedicated professional. 

 

 

William Reamer Johnson

Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd

Columbia

 

Q: Tell us something about yourself that others would be surprised to find out.

A: During the February 2010 snowstorm in Columbia, I pulled out my snow skis and went skiing along what will eventually be the riverfront trail. I definitely got some weird looks, but I am one of the few people who can say that I have skied Columbia.

 

 

Maurie Lawrence

Wyche Burgess Freeman & Parham

Greenville

 

Q: What is the greatest goal you hope to accomplish in your life?

A: I used to have what might be considered a more ambitious list of goals. However, after my daughter was diagnosed with infant leukemia, now my honest “greatest goals” in life are to be a good mother, wife, daughter and sister; to do what is in my power to keep my family safe, healthy and happy; to be a person with integrity and compassion and to help others in need. These goals truthfully require a lot of work and I spend a great deal of time thinking about how to work towards achieving them.

 

 

Jonathan P. Lee

Ellis Lawhorne & Sims

Columbia

 

Q: Tell us something about yourself that others would be surprised to find out. 

A: I spent the summer after my 1L year in Hawaii taking summer school classes at the University of Hawaii School of Law. Two friends and I went and we shared an apartment in Waikiki. Classes were held Monday through Friday mornings. We spent our free time spending time on the North Shore, traveling the islands of Oahu and Maui, surfing, playing golf and meeting new people. It was an unusual way to spend a summer after your first year of law school, but I found the experience tremendously worthwhile.

 

 

Nosizi Ralephata

Turner Padget Graham & Laney

Charleston

 

Q: Tell us something about yourself that others would be surprised to find out. 

A: Growing up in Zimbabwe, I did a lot of traditional manual farm work, including walking for miles with a 10-gallon jug of water balanced on my head (did not spill a drop). 

 

 

Christian L. Rogers

Rogers Law Firm

Columbia

 

Q: If you weren’t practicing law, what other career would you pursue?

A: My dream as a boy was to be a fighter pilot. That idea got shot down when I found out my vision wasn’t quite good enough for that, so took another path. If I had it to do all over I might consider becoming some other type of pilot. At this point, I would just like to fly for fun. I took over 30 hours of flight lessons when I was in tax school and will eventually finish my private pilot’s license.

 

 

Rebecca A. Roser

Robinson, McFadden & Moore

Columbia

 

Q: Where are you likely to be found on the weekends or on vacation?

A: I continue to try to become a tennis player. While my talents are definitely limited, I enjoy the game, the people and the workout. I also hope to someday actually complete the entire P90X program (or even just one of the DVDs). I always enjoy being in Charleston.

 

 

Breon C.M. Walker

Ellis Lawhorne & Sims

Columbia

 

Q: What is your favorite book, movie or TV show and why? 

A: “Dexter” is by far my favorite TV show right now. I love the complexity of the main character, and the writing is awesome. He’s a serial killer who only kills bad people, so you root for him and don’t want him to get caught. With all of the reality TV right now, it’s one of the most original shows out.

 

 

Stephen J. Wunder Jr.

Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd

Greenville

 

Q: What is the most unusual thing on your desk or in your office, and what’s the story behind it? 

A: A framed fortune cookie given to me by mother when I became a lawyer, which jokingly says on the fortune – “Time is wealth. Especially with your lawyer.” Being the first to become a lawyer in my immediate and extended family, I believe my mother thought this to be funny but also as a reminder of how to treat others, especially those who are my clients, and to be mindful of not only their financial concerns, but their personal wellbeing.

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