In the new issue of South Carolina Super Lawyers, we profile Dawes Cooke of Barnwell Whaley Patterson & Helms, who represented The Citadel when Shannon Faulkner sought to become the first woman to enroll at the military college. Here’s a sample:
“One of the keys to being a successful lawyer, Cooke says, “is to be lucky enough to get a chance to perform on a large stage. Once you’ve done that, you can get a reputation for handling big cases, and other big cases will come your way. Ironically, it’s better for your career to lose a big case than to win small ones.”
That’s not to say he hasn’t won some big ones. In one of Cooke’s most satisfying cases, he represented a nurse accused of malpractice. The nurse had erred in administering an IV, resulting in a patient’s death. Distraught, she blamed herself for the death and left the profession, but Cooke demonstrated that, based on her training, she was not negligent. “To have a jury tell her that it was not her fault finally brought her some relief,” Cooke says.
Editor Nyssa Gesch also conducts a Q&A with Lewis Smoak, a founding partner at Greenville’s Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, who credits relationships and early education for his success in employment law. A sample:
What has helped you succeed in your career?
I attended the public school system down in Walterboro, S.C., and had some world-class teachers there. Then I went to Furman and had some great professors there. So I attribute a lot of [my success] to both my early education and my education at Furman. Then I went to USC law school and have a number of good friends-many of whom have sent us substantial clients down through the years.
Our success was based a lot on that. We received business from existing clients, and then as our business and their business grew, and they moved up the ladder in their corporate jobs within their businesses, they were able to take us to additional facilities and additional locations around the country that they then had responsibility for. They asked us to help them handle legal matters for those new and additional locations. So our business has grown in that manner. For example, we might handle [a matter] for them, say, in Woodruff, S.C., and then that HR manager might end up being in charge of 10 plants across the country and he would ask us to help him at those other nine locations as well. We’ve been fortunate in that as our friends have progressed up the business ladder, they have not forgotten us.
We now have 40 offices around the country and about 550 lawyers.