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Please use the links to the right to check out firm news and more information relating to these specific areas of law. Happy reading and please contact us if you have any questions that we can help answer.


KellyGram – University of South Carolina School of Law: Building Dedication

 

Yesterday, the day finally arrived! Over twelve years ago, the then-president of the University of South Carolina, John Palms, and the law school dean, John Montgomery, took me to the faculty house on the Horseshoe for lunch and asked me if I would be interested in chairing the USC Law School Building Fund Campaign. With my legal career meaning as much as it does to me and my family, I could not say no. I happily accepted the position, yet little did I know that it would take us such a long time to raise the money. There were numerous challenges and arguments against building a new law school, but it was clear to me that the existing building was inadequate to provide the proper learning environment. Throughout the time of the building’s construction, we have had two new presidents after Dr. Palms, and the university wisely added Steve Hamm as my co-chair. Steve is one of my favorite people, along with being one of the best lawyers, fathers, and husbands on the planet. Together, along with other volunteers and university development staff, we finally raised close to $20 million, with the State Legislature graciously giving us the remaining $65 million.

I must say that the new law school is not about me, although Steven, myself, and many others worked very hard to get us here. I am so proud to have been a part of this effort, and the new building is a stunning addition to the university. It is state of the art, designed by the best law school architects; it has everything in terms of class, dignity, and the “wow-factor” that the old building lacked. In addition, I am very proud to say that the university named rooms after both Steve and I, naming my dedicated room the Mike Kelly Courtroom/Seminar Room.

It has been an honor to serve this cause, and I feel great pride in the achievement of our goal. I am delighted that my name will be on an endearing plaque on the wall of probably the newest and nicest law school in the country. After the Building Fund Dedication Ceremony yesterday morning, we had the pleasure of attending the Black Tie Gala to celebrate this wonderful new addition to the University of South Carolina, the City of Columbia, and the administration of justice in South Carolina.

Go Gamecocks!

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KellyGram – Hurricane Season

 

The Mike Kelly Law Group has two offices in the midlands, Columbia and Winnsboro, and one office on the coast at Myrtle Beach, two blocks from the ocean. With the news of Hurricane Irma, we are all watching and waiting to see if we are going to be impacted by this possible category 5 hurricane. I have experienced many hurricanes, some mild, some moderate, and some severe, and they are never any fun. While some people may marvel at the awesome display of the power of nature, hurricanes are too dangerous and destructive to wish for.

The one that I most vividly remember is 1989’s Hurricane Hugo. I had four very large pine trees blown down in my yard, barely missing my residence, and no power for five days. It took a while to recover, just as the thousand year flood that affected Columbia in 2015.

We are all about safety, and the prevention of the loss of human life or property, at the Mike Kelly Law Group, so PLEASE pay attention to what the weather forecasters are saying, and take appropriate precautions.

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/prepare/ready.php

https://www.ready.gov/hurricanes

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Why We Do This

Paul Swearingen

I grew up in a rural area in a time before cable television and satellite dishes were options for such areas. The three national networks were the only channels we had to choose from when watching television. On most days, when the weather was good, we had one more independent channel that would come in clearly enough to watch. This channel would show nothing but re-runs of old shows. This is where I was introduced to the “Perry Mason” show.

Perry Mason was a character created in books written by Earl Stanley Gardner in the 1930’s, brought to life on a television series that aired in the late 1950’s- early 1960’s. Perry was a criminal defense attorney, and every episode featured Perry representing a client that everyone believed was guilty of a crime, usually murder. Perry would fight for his client, investigate every angle, and by the end of the episode, uncover the truth and prove his client innocent. This show came on every weekday at lunch time. After a summer morning of playing ball outside with brothers and friends, I would take a break and watch Perry Mason win yet another case while eating my lunch.

I always loved a good mystery. I loved trying to solve the case along with Perry Mason, trying to figure out who really committed the crime before the big reveal at the end of the episode. Perry was brilliant in the courtroom, and after watching this show all summer and reading the novels, I was hooked on the idea of being a lawyer. I remember our English teacher the next school year asking us to write a paper on what we wanted to be when we finished school, and I wrote about being a lawyer. From that point on, law was the only profession I even considered.

As we often find out when growing from childhood to adulthood, reality does not always meet the expectations we set based on what we see on television. I must confess that during my first year of law school, the reality of the legal profession set in, and I began to question if I really wanted to be a lawyer. The more I studied, and the more I saw of the profession from working as a law clerk, the less it looked like the world of Perry Mason. Innocent criminal clients come along much less often than portrayed on television. The practice of law involves much more behind the scenes work and paperwork than it does courtroom drama. Despite popular belief, becoming a lawyer does not automatically come with a big paycheck. It is definitely not as glamourous as what you see on television.

Almost by accident, I ended up practicing real estate and probate law. I did not have those areas of practice in mind when I went to law school, or even when I graduated law school. An opportunity arose to practice law in those areas as I passed the bar exam, so I decided to give it a try. Almost 19 years later, I am still practicing the same types of law. I often hear about how in divorce cases, no client is entirely happy with the outcome. In criminal cases, unless you get a not guilty, the client is usually not entirely happy with the outcome. But I have found that in my practice, I am able to help people with their problems and, more often than not, I have a happy client leaving my office.

We often take for granted how much a kind word or a compliment can brighten someone’s day. I can’t tell you how much it means for a client to tell me how grateful that they are for my help, or how happy they are to have chosen me to be their attorney. We all want to feel like we are needed, like we are doing something meaningful in this world. An expression of sincere gratitude from a client is worth much more than any fee collected ever could be. I recently got the most thoughtful and sincere expression of thanks that I have ever received from a client, which I want to share here:

This letter from Diane made my day. This is why we practice law. This is why we endure the bad days, the bad lawyer jokes, the misperceptions, the days of wading through mountains of paperwork and the days where you feel like you’ve read so much that your eyesight has gone blurry. Being able to help clients like Diane and hear how we have made a difference in their lives is why we come to work every morning. It may not be the glamourous and adventurous life I envisioned while watching “Perry Mason” re-runs, but knowing that I make a positive impact on people’s lives makes it worth all the effort.


KellyGram – Labor Day – Football Season’s Finally Here!

 

It’s Labor Day Weekend, and I’m sure you have big plans for the days ahead. While there are many fun and exciting activities to choose from, there is one I am most excited about… it’s finally football season!

I must confess, I love every season of the year. Now that I am north of sixty, I’m more appreciative of the privilege that God gives me to wake up every morning and enjoy each day to the fullest! With that being said, I am especially excited during football season!!! I love all kinds of football: Canadian, high school, middle school, college, and professional, but my first love is most definitely college football. It’s no secret that I am a Gamecock fan, and I will be travelling Saturday to Charlotte to watch them take on a very tough opening team, the NC State Wolfpack. Thursday night, in the same stadium, will be the final Panthers exhibition game, and I think it’s fair to say that I am going to be enjoying football season this year like never before. Go Gamecocks! And for those other fans… Go Tigers!


Enjoy your Labor Day weekend!

 

Mike Kelly

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KellyGram – The Eclipse

 

I hope everyone receiving this KellyGram had the opportunity to witness the eclipse. I talked about eclipse safety last week, but now that this historical event is over, I have two major thoughts that I would like to share about Monday’s event of a lifetime.

First, I have to touch on the event as a whole. The entire experience was absolutely spectacular, and exceeded my expectations a million times over. It was phenomenal! Although I try not to preach religion in my KellyGram, I don’t think anyone could witness what I saw during totality and not know in their heart that there is a God responsible for this planet’s existence. The view from the MKLG parking lot was majestic, and a very special memory that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I was privileged to watch the eclipse unfold with two of my employees, Jamie Smith and Kimberly Smith, plus Jamie’s dog Moby! Secondly, I have to commend how well organized and problem-free things were on both sides of the river, thanks to excellent planning by the authorities. Everything went very smoothly, and I am certain that the out of town visitors got an extremely favorable impression of our city and region. I hope everyone enjoyed the view of this spectacular event.


Have a great weekend!

 

Mike Kelly

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KellyGram – Eclipse Safety

 

I am excited about the international attention that our state’s capital is receiving, as Columbia buzzes with the anticipation of the upcoming eclipse. South Carolina is projected to have an influx of hundreds of thousands of visitors, eager to witness the total solar eclipse, one of nature’s rarest spectacles. While I am personally very excited about experiencing not just the eclipse, but also all of the affiliated activities going on in Columbia on Monday, it is important to remember that safety comes first. This includes not only safely viewing the eclipse, but also coping with traffic, which is expected to be ten times more than a Carolina vs Clemson home game! One of the missions of the Mike Kelly Law Group is to make South Carolina a safer place to live, work and play. Please take extra caution on the road over the next few days, and be vigilant of your surroundings. Most importantly, be prepared. Below are some helpful links for advice on viewing the eclipse safely. Enjoy the eclipse, but please be safe!

https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety


Have a blessed weekend!

 

Mike Kelly

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KellyGram – Corporate Disgrace – A Blow To Fairfield County

 

As you know, the Mike Kelly Law Group has an office in Fairfield County, and I have a very special place in my heart for this community. I grew up in a small town in Southern Virginia that reminds me very much of Winnsboro, and I have grown to love the town, the surrounding countryside and especially its people! A week ago this past Monday, SCE&G and Santee Cooper delivered the devastating news that they would halt the construction of the two nuclear reactors at the V.C. Summer Plant in Jenkinsville. In the blink of an eye, thousands of people lost their jobs, and a county that had relied heavily on the promise of future revenues from the project was economically and emotionally devastated.

While the prospects of the utilities reconsidering this awful decision are slim, I am hoping that through political, regulatory or legal means, SCE&G and Santee Cooper will be held accountable for the damage they have caused to Fairfield County as well as the customers who have been forced to pay higher rates over the years. Investigations are underway by the legislature and the Attorney General, and I strongly suspect that some very disturbing facts will come to light about the handling of this construction project, as well as the parameters of their decision making in halting construction. Stay tuned…

http://www.wltx.com/news/local/sceg-santee-cooper-to-stop-building-billion-dollar-nuke-reactors/460752000


Have a blessed weekend!

 

Mike Kelly

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KellyGram – Our Friends at CBE

 

This week’s KellyGram features one of my favorite businesses in South Carolina, CBE – Carolina Business Equipment. CBE is our long time, office equipment and technology partner. They do an outstanding job for us, servicing all three of the Mike Kelly Law Group offices in Columbia, Myrtle Beach and Winnsboro. Due to their technological excellence and exceptional customer service, they have become a multi-state business concern based out of Irmo, South Carolina. Their president and CEO, John Eckstrom, and his team are not just concerned with running a successful business; they are also very active in our community. Last week, the Mike Kelly Law Group had the pleasure of being hosted in CBE’s private suite at the Spirit Communications Park to watch the Columbia Fireflies play against the Augusta Green Jackets. Needless to say, a great time was had by all! John and his team truly believe in giving back to the community. The Mike Kelly Law Group appreciates all that you do for us, and our community! Thank you CBE!


Have a great weekend!

 

Mike Kelly

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KellyGram – A Tribute to John V Grisetti – March 2nd, 1943 – July 23rd, 2017

 

I met John Grisetti thirty-one years ago, shortly after he moved to South Carolina from Florida. I was lucky enough to have his wife, Sally, become my receptionist, and over the last thirty-one years, I have gotten to know both John and Sally very well. Sally, or “The Queen”, as she is referred to at the office, is our Social Security Paralegal, and I can confidently say that she is the best in the country, hands down. This KellyGram, however, is about John, who sadly passed away this past Sunday, July 23rd 2017, after a lengthy battle with cancer. John was born on March 2, 1943 to Rose Grisetti and the late Angelo Grisetti. He was a graduate of Wooster High School in Florida. When John and Sally moved to Lexington, South Carolina, I remember him being an expert in tennis court construction, and he worked for many years in the building and real estate industry. First and foremost, John Grisetti was a family man. He and Sally were very much in love with each other, and were constant companions and best friends for 53 years. He was also very involved with his children and his church.

I always found John to be a man of integrity, great character and an amazing personality. Always cheerful, John loved a good joke, and was a great storyteller! Later in life, John became an avid golfer, and I had the privilege of spending many Sunday afternoons on the golf course with him, which was always a treat. Our times together are now treasured memories for me. John truly made a difference in many peoples’ lives, including mine. He will be missed greatly by many. I know the most important concern for John was to know that his beloved, Sally, would be taken care of in his absence. It is up to the rest of us to do our very best and do just that. I extend heartfelt condolences to Sally and her family, on behalf of myself and the entire Mike Kelly Law Group family.


Have a blessed weekend!

 

Mike Kelly

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DON’T MISS THE ECLIPSE!

Brad Hewett

On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will be visible along a thin, roughly 70 mile-wide path that runs diagonally across the United States from Oregon to South Carolina. Parts of the continental United States will darken through a total eclipse of the sun. If the weather and skies are clear, then you will see the moon pass between the sun and the earth, and the sky go dark in the middle of the afternoon. It’s been said this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Columbia is positioned in the best location on the East Coast for an event that has not been seen in the continental United States since 1979, when a total solar eclipse was visible from five Northwestern states. A transcontinental solar eclipse, a total eclipse of the sun that passes from coast to coast, has not occurred in the United States since 1918.

At 2:41 p.m. on August 21st, the Columbia area will experience the longest period of 100% total eclipse for a metropolitan area on the entire East Coast of the United States, ranging from 2 minutes and 30 seconds to 2 minutes and 36 seconds of total darkness.

It is anticipated that more than 1 million people will visit the Columbia area to view the eclipse. If you thought that it was frantic in Columbia during a USC home football game, the eclipse is likely to create next level type of craziness in this area. Staff members at the Mike Kelly Law Group plan to take in the event in the grassy area of our parking lot. You are welcome to join us at 500 Taylor Street to take in the show, or there are other festivities that are showcasing the eclipse: http://totaleclipsecolumbiasc.com/event/. Below is a list of events and viewing spots taking place in the Columbia area on August 21st:

Finlay Park: 930 Laurel Street, Columbia, SC 29201
Siesta Cove Marina: Gilbert, SC, siestacovemarina.com
Congaree National Park: 100 National Park Rd., Hopkins, SC 29061, www.nps.gov/cong
Sheraton Hotel Rooftop Bar: 1400 Main St., Columbia, SC 29201
Random Tap: 10509 Two Notch Rd., Elgin, SC 29045, FB.com/randomtap
Riverfront Park: 312 Laurel St., Columbia, SC, www.columbiasc.net/parks-recreation
Owens Field: 1351 Jim Hamilton Blvd., Columbia, SC 29205
Lexington County Baseball Stadium: 474 Ballpark Road, Lexington, SC, www.blowfishbaseball.com
South Carolina State Fair: Rosewood Drive and George Rogers Boulevard, Columbia, SC 29201, scstatefair.org
Riverbanks Zoo and Garden: 500 Wildlife Parkway, Columbia, SC 29210, www.riverbanks.org
Soda City Eclipse Viewing Festival: Historic Columbia Speedway, 2001 Charleston Hwy., Cayce, SC 29033
Solar 17 at Lake Murray: Lake Murray Dam, Columbia, SC 29212
South Carolina State Museum: 301 Gervais St., Columbia, SC 29201, www.scmuseum.org
Columbia Fireflies/Spirit Communications Park: 1640 Freed St., Columbia, SC 29201, columbiafireflies.com

Wherever you may be during this cosmic phenomena, stay safe and make sure that you protect your eyes during the before and after partial eclipse phases by using eclipse viewing glasses. It is safe to remove the eclipse glasses when the sky goes dark during totality. While Columbia is the place to be during the solar eclipse next month, such a historic event also creates the potential for accidents and trouble of one kind or another. If you can, stay off the roads and find a spot to kick back and enjoy the astronomical show!