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The Greenville County Bar Association has a rich history dating back to the early 1900s.  In the 1960's, attorneys met at roster meetings and enjoyed a very cordial working relationship.

In the 1970's, the Bar had grown in size and organized into an Executive Committee to promote the practice of law in Greenville County. In the 1980's, Connie Regan was hired as the first executive secretary. Connie served for 11 years. In the early 1990's, the Bar Association organized as a 501c6 corporation and hired its second executive secretary, Nancy Griffeth, to handle the day-to-day functions of the association. In 2005, the bar hired its current Executive Secretary, Melinda Davidson.  The Bar elects four officers each year: President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. These attorneys and numerous committee chairs volunteer their time to this organization.

The primary purpose of the Greenville County Bar Association is to promote the common business and professional interests of lawyers practicing in Greenville County.

The GCBA publishes a newsletter, the G-Bar News.  GCBA also sponsors Law Week in May of each year with many opportunities for community service and fellowship to improve the public's perception of lawyers.  GCBA organizes at least one continuing legal education seminar each year in February to provide lawyers in the upstate with an opportunity to stay up to date on current issues in the law and to earn CLE credits. The GCBA sponsors four to five social events each year usually including a Family Night at the Zoo, a Judges' Reception, and a Christmas Party to provide a purely social setting for lawyers to get better acquainted outside the courtroom. The GCBA also sponsors four or five luncheons during the year with speakers on current issues.

Membership dues are $75. All socials and programs are paid for by each member attending to cover costs but are often heavily subsidized.   The GCBA currently has approximately 1250 members. Membership is optional and open to attorneys who are licensed to practice law in South Carolina or those who are licensed in other states but practice in Greenville County.

In 2015, the Greenville County Bar Association commissioned Dr. Judith Bainbridge to write a book on the history of Greenville's legal community.  More information about this book can be found HERE.



Join over 500 upstate lawyers in the Greenville Bar's annual CLE; the second largest CLE in South Carolina and a bargain price, which not only includes the CLE hours but also breakfast and lunch. The CLE provides a minimum of 6 hours with several breakout sessions for select practice areas. Even if you do not need the hours, this is the best networking event of the year!

+ Social Events

The Greenville Bar has many annual and special events each year, including our Christmas party with fun GCBA swag, a steak and lobster reception to honor our local judges, family night at the zoo (bring your whole family for $10!), BBQ social, several lunch programs, Law Week, and a golf tournament. One of our favorite events is a casual lunch at Tommy's Ham House to hear the great war stories of our members. All of these events are subsidized by your bar dues, and we only charge a minimal fee to attend. We also have special events that come up - please see our calendar for more information.

+ Young Lawyers

The Young Lawyer Committee hosts many socials and happy hours throughout the year that are free to all of our young lawyer members. Upon passing the bar, young lawyers are invited to attend the Christmas party as our guests (an over $100 value). The Young Lawyer Committee also works closely with the South Carolina Young Lawyers Division in hosting events such as lunch and learn programs, New Admittee Receptions, and various happy hours geared towards connecting young lawyers with each other as well as with distinguished members of the bar.

+ Opportunities to Serve the Community

the Greenville Bar is dedicated to presenting pro bono opportunities to our members as well as community volunteer opportunities such as our annual blood drive and wills clinic.

+ Leadership Development

Membership offers a variety of leadership opportunities from joining a committee, chairing committees, or serving as an executive officer.

+ We Care About our Members

We have a committee dedicated to reaching out to members who are experiencing loss or hardship. We also hold an annual Memorial Service to honor our members who passed away the previous year. We encourage all members, especially our young lawyers, to join this event to pay their respects and learn about the amazing lives of our members. Many will tell you that the Memorial Service is their most meaningful event of the year.

+ Tommy Thomason Award

Members are carefully evaluated for selection of this award every year. The Tommy Thomason Award is only given to the very best members who also bring honor to our noble profession. Please visit our Tommy Thomason tab to learn more about this important award and to see our past recipients.

+ Membership Committee

We always strive to increase our benefits to members and welcome input from our members.

+ Business Development

Members are strongly encouraged to complete their profiles in the Member Directory on our website. This is a valuable resource for potential clients seeking an attorney and a great way to increase your visibility. One of the best ways develop new clients is to get to know our members at events and grow your referral network.

+ An opportunity to be a part of the best and most congenial county bar association in the state of South Carolina!

We'll say it again: An opportunity to be a part of the best and most congenial county bar association in the state of South Carolina!

Tommy Thomason

The Tommy Thomason Award

The Tommy Thomason Award was established by the Greenville County Bar Association in 1993 in memory of Greenville attorney Tommy Thomason. The award is given to honor a Greenville lawyer whom best exemplifies the wonderful qualities Tommy embodied:

  • compassionate and sensitive to all people regardless of their station in life;
  • friendly, unassuming, humble with a warm, genuine and abiding faith in all people;
  • strong personal values, optimism and faith;
  • positive diplomacy that works to minimize conflict and resolve disputes in the least hostile manner;
  • unshakable integrity, coupled with an instinct for fairness;
  • dedicated to community interest, public service and improvement of the community;
  • loves the practice of law and pursues the practice as a service to people;
  • dedicated to the improvement of the legal system and justice for all people;
  • widely respected and admired by peers for personal and professional achievement.

Tommy Embodied

B.O. “Tommy Thomason” (1926-1993) was a beloved attorney who practiced in Greenville for over 40 years. A graduate of Furman University and the University of Virginia School of Law, Mr. Thomason joined the Greenville firm of Love, Thornton, Arnold in 1952. “He served in the state legislature, was appointed a Special Circuit judge and was a longtime Thirteenth Circuit solicitor. As legal counselor to Furman University starting in 1976, he worked tirelessly for the university, especially during its struggle for independence from the South Carolina Baptist Convention in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Two governors—Dick Riley and Carroll Campbell—awarded him the Order of the Palmetto. It was also said that whenever anything good was done in Greenville, Tommy Thomason was involved. His friend and colleague Dick Riley referred to his character as almost saintly.” (p. 132).


The Selection Committee is chaired this year by our immediate past president of the Greenville County Bar. The Past President is joined on the committee by the three most recent recipients of the award and three attorneys appointed by the Greenville County Bar Association. There is no mandatory requirement that a recipient be selected each year.


The following attorneys have been recipients of the Tommy Thomason Award:

  • Mason A. "Andy" Goldsmith - 2017
  • Jo Watson Hackl - 2016
  • Douglas F. Patrick - 2015
  • Amos A. Workman - 2014
  • Kenneth C. Porter - 2013
  • Arthur L. Howson, Jr. - 2012
  • James "Chip" Price III - 2011
  • Anne S. Ellefson - 2010
  • Thomas W. Traxler - 2009
  • Jack Griffeth - 2008
  • Dewey Oxner - 2007
  • Tom Bruce - 2006
  • Preston Reid - 2005
  • Stephen J. Henry - 2004
  • Knox L. Haynsworth, Jr. - 2003
  • James C. Parham, Jr.
  • David Quattlebaum III
  • David Merline
  • Merl Code
  • John Johnston
  • David Freeman
  • Leo Hill
Paul Wickensimer

The Paul Wickensimer Award

 Paul Wickensimer

Paul Wickensimer

Each year during Law Week, Bar Associations across the county recognize a non-attorney for outstanding community service with the Liberty Bell Award.  In 2010, The Greenville County Bar Association renamed our Liberty Bell Award in honor of Paul B. Wickensimer, our Clerk of Court, for his outstanding contribution to our community.   

In order to be considered for the award the Nominee must have:

  1. Promoted a better understanding of the rule of law,
  2. Encouraged greater respect for the law and Courts; or
  3. Contributed to good government in the community. 

Since the award was renamed, the following citizens have received the award:

  • 2016   David Gay
  • 2015   Melinda Davidson
  • 2014   Sheriff Steve Loftis
  • 2013   Lyndall C. Coker
  • 2012   Chief Terri Wilfong
  • 2011   Sheryll Smith
  • 2010   Paul B. Wickensimer
Billy Wilkins

The Billy Wilkins Award

The Billy Wilkins Award for Excellence in Law Enforcement was established in 1984 in the name of former Thirteenth Circuit Solicitor, Billy Wilkins to honor law enforcement officers. Wilkins served as solicitor from 1974-1981. He has since retired as a United States District  Judge of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and is in private practice in Greenville. 

The award is given to a law enforcement officer from both Greenville and in Pickens Counties who has exhibited outstanding attributes in the performance of his or her duties both in the field and in the courtroom. Last year the Solicitor’s office began a partnership with the Greenville County Bar to make the presentation to the Greenville officer award during Law Week. 

Requests for nominations are sent to all local state and federal law enforcement agencies each year. The award is made by the current solicitor in each county as part of a brief Circuit Court presentation

Current Officers

  President:  Jennifer Breaux Howe

President: Jennifer Breaux Howe

  President-Elect:  Kirby R. Mitchell

President-Elect: Kirby R. Mitchell

  Secretary:    E. Powers Price

Secretary: E. Powers Price

  Treasurer:  A. Lance Crick

Treasurer: A. Lance Crick

  Executive   Coordinator:   Melinda Davidson

Executive Coordinator: Melinda Davidson



Past Bar Presidents


William M. Wilson: 2017

E. Jean Howard: 2016

Travis V. Olmert: 2015

Courtney C. Atkinson: 2014

William T. Clarke: 2013

V. Clark Price: 2012

Jack D. Griffeth: 2011

Christine Gantt-Sorenson: 2010

James I. Warren III: 2009

David W. Edward: 2008

Debra J. Gammons: 2007

Jeffrey Merriam: 2006

Chip Price: 2005

E. Grantland Burns: 2004

Jennifer Johnsen: 2003

Jo Hackl: 2002

Bobby Rosenfeld: 2001

Brent Clinkscale: 2000

Frank Gibbes: 1999

Jim Cassidy: 1998

Tom Traxler: 1997

Jim Parham: 1996

Gene Covington: 1995

Eric Schweitzer: 1994

Rita McKinney: 1993

Dean Rainey: 1992

Harry Chapman: 1991

Andy Goldsmith: 1990

Johnny Hagins: 1989

Harvey G. Sanders, Jr: 1987

John M. Dillard: 1986

Dewey Oxner: 1985

Tommy Thomason: 1984

Ernest J. Howard: 1983

David A. Merline: 1982

Wright Horton: 1981

David Quattlebaum: 1980


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