We recently had a chance to sit down with South Carolina class action attorney Graham Newman to talk about his proudest moment as an attorney, the advice he gives to all his clients, and the super power he wishes he had.
Graham knew he wanted to be an attorney at a very young age. A result of having the good fortune of watching his father practice law.
“As a child, watching him help people handle tragic injuries inspired me to do the same.”
Graham attended the University of South Carolina School of Law in 2004, where he learned the ins and outs of the legal system and ultimately earned his Juris Doctor. But perhaps the most important thing Graham received during law school was a sage piece of advice:
“You are your own lawyer. Always be true to yourself.”
Graham was admitted to the South Carolina State Bar in 2004. He worked in private practice and as a public defender in Sumter County before ultimately joining Chappell, Smith & Arden in 2014.
At Chappell, Smith & Arden, Graham primarily handles product liability and class action lawsuits.
During his career, Graham has briefed numerous appeals before the South Carolina Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court. He has also argued cases before the South Carolina Court of Appeals and the South Carolina Supreme Court.
Although all of his cases have been important to him, there is one case that stands out.
“I’m most proud of Rowles v. Chase Home Finance, a case in which I successfully represented approximately 16,000 men and women in the United States military, many of whom had their homes unlawfully foreclosed upon while they were stationed in a war zone.”
Graham knows the hard work that goes into a legal career, and he wishes lawyers got a better rap. “Some people assume that attorneys are only about the money,” Graham explains. “On the contrary, many of us struggle with the deep emotions related to representing people who have been badly injured or who have lost loved ones. The burden can be quite heavy.”
Advice to prospective and current clients
Graham has been practicing law long enough to know that there are good attorneys and bad attorneys. He recommends that injured individuals prioritize trust when looking for an attorney.
“You’ll be asking your attorney to handle decisions that will be very important to your future. You must have absolute trust in him or her.”
As for his current clients, Graham tells all of them to avoid social media. “Even the most innocent posts can be used by your legal opponent to distort what has happened to you,” Graham explains.
How should a prospective client prepare for an initial consultation?
Graham believes an initial consultation will be more valuable if you show up prepared.
“Bring all the paperwork you have that has any relationship to your case. The attorney will help you distinguish between what is important and what is not.”
Graham doesn’t have a lot of free time. In addition to practicing law, Graham teaches an undergraduate legal course through the University of South Carolina Honors College and serves on several boards and committees dedicated to the improvement of the judicial system.
Even when he goes home at night, he can’t escape the law. Graham is married to Jenny Honeycutt Newman, who is also an attorney.
Nevertheless, Graham does find time to relax on Lake Murray, where he can be found with his wife, son, Portuguese water dog, and King Charles Cavalier Spaniel.
Rapid fire questions with Graham Newman
We put Graham on the spot for a few questions:
Q. What are the best and worst parts of your job?
A. The best part of my job is making new friends in the form of my clients. The worst part of my job is not having the ability to heal my clients' injuries.
Q. What is your role in the attorney-client relationship?
A. My role is to act as a good shepherd for my client in the legal system.
Q. If you weren’t practicing law, what job would you hold?
A. I would be a licensed professional counselor.
Q. What is your favorite part of the city or town where you work?
A. My favorite part of Columbia is the Devine Street area where our office is located!
Q. Who is your favorite fictional attorney (from books, television, or movies)?
A. Without a doubt, my favorite fictional attorney is “Jerry Gallo” from My Cousin Vinny.
Q. If you could have any super power, what would it be and why?
A. My super power would be seeing the future. If I could see the future, giving advice to clients would be easy!