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Formalized ADR means better resolutions, fewer trials, lawyers say (access required)

Attorneys have been known to agree on little, but on the rise of formalized alternative dispute resolution in South Carolina trial courts, they agree on one point: ADR is good for litigants and good for attorneys. But it may be depriving young attorneys of courtroom experience. Columbia attorney and mediator John Moylan told Lawyers Weekly that the pilot mediation program the Supreme Court started over a decade ago has expanded to numerous counties in the state, where some form of mediation is mandatory in civil cases.

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Sign might remain for awhile, but internal changes underway for Buist (access required)

As the longtime Charleston firm of Buist Moore Smythe McGee readied for its May 2 debut as Womble Carlyle's newest office, one detail seemed to escape managing partners at both firms last week. Would the Womble Carlyle sign be up on the former Buist Moore offices on this first Monday morning after the North Carolina giant completed its April 30 acquisition?

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New ASTM energy standard to impact commercial real estate transactions (access required)

The growth of renewable energy in the U.S. has been subject to inconsistent public policy at both the federal and state levels. This lack of predictability creates difficulty for investors looking for long-term stability, which is needed to justify the often significant capital investments associated with most renewable energy systems. Despite this uncertainty, one renewable energy that continues to show steady progress is an area often not even seen as a renewable energy resource: energy efficiency.

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Dram shop claim overcomes 7-figure setoff for settlement (access required)

A man who claimed a Sumter restaurant served wine to an intoxicated customer has settled a wrongful death suit for $3 million, thanks in part to recent S.C. Supreme Court case law. Lawyers for plaintiff Paul Schmidt said the court's 2010 decision in a dram shop case helped Schmidt get the settlement despite a multi-million-dollar setoff resulting from an earlier, confidential settlement with the customer's employer. "We had a very high setoff that we would have had to overcome had we gone to trial - a high seven-figure setoff," said Mount Pleasant lawyer David Yarborough, a member of the plaintiff's legal team.

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Smith Moore opens Charleston office, takes on established lawyers (access required)

Two weeks after North Carolina giant Womble Carlyle announced its acquisition of a Charleston firm, the regional law firm of Smith Moore Leatherwood also has opened an office in the port city. The move expands the firm's footprint in the Southeast and positions it for growth in an area of economic vitality, Smith Moore Leatherwood chairman Rob Marcus told Lawyers Weekly. "Charleston is becoming a very vibrant business market," Marcus said. "We've been excited to see Charleston grow and we wanted to be part of that growth."

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173 hopefuls make the grade on the February bar exam

Of the 248 would-be attorneys who took the S.C. bar exam in February, 173 passed, according to the state Office of Bar Admissions. The names of the successful candidates for admission to the S.C. Bar went up on the state Supreme Court's website on April 24. If they have completed all other law license requirements, the candidates will be sworn in as full-fledged lawyers next month. But if you couldn't find your name on the list of the 173 folks who passed, you may want to look again.

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Developer gets $930K verdict in environmental cleanup dispute (access required)

A jury has awarded a real estate development company more than $930,000 plus attorney's fees in a breach-of-contract action centering on an environmental cleanup in Richland County. Plaintiff Ginn-LA University Club Ltd. claimed defendant Amelia Capital III breached a contract for the sale of The University Club Golf Club, a 239-acre real estate development in Blythewood. The plaintiff claimed the contract required Amelia Capital to pay the cost of cleaning up hazardous waste on the property.

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Longtime USC professor to tackle fundraising, morale issues in dean’s role (access required)

Growing up south of Broad in Charleston, Robert Wilcox never thought he'd be a lawyer. His dad was the editor of The Charleston Evening Post, and Wilcox worked summers at the paper, planning on a career in journalism. After he received his bachelor's degree from Duke University, he enrolled in law school at the University of South Carolina - still not thinking much of a law career. "A part of me thought I might be a legal reporter for the Charleston newspapers," he said. Instead, he fell in love with the practice of law and never looked back.

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Scalia, Breyer confirmed for 2012 S.C. Bar convention (access required)

Two U.S. Supreme Court justices will be attending the S.C. Bar's annual convention next January in Columbia. Leigh Thomas, communications director for the Bar, told Lawyers Weekly that Justices Antonin Scalia and Stephen Breyer will attend the convention, which is set for Jan. 19-22, 2012. No specifics about their visit were immediately available. In an announcement emailed to members Tuesday, the Bar said it would announce details such as the justices' schedules as the justices' offices make them public.

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