We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Lawton Harper, a sharp young lawyer dedicated to representing injured workers exclusively and quickly building a reputation as a go-to legal advocate for South Carolinians who have suffered workplace injuries.
Lawton was born and raised in Beaufort, South Carolina. He graduated from Elon University in North Carolina with a degree in history and education.
Following college, Lawton worked in South Carolina as a social studies teacher and a basketball coach at Summerville High School.
Lawton loved being a teacher, but he wanted to help people in a different way. In 2019, he enrolled at the University of South Carolina School of Law. He graduated three years later with honors.
The University of South Carolina School of Law was founded in 1867. The law school has a number of notable alumni, including:
- Lindsey Graham (United States Senator for South Carolina)
- Donald W. Beatty (Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court)
- Judy Clark (criminal defense attorney for Ted Kacynski, among others)
- Alex Murdaugh (prominent lawyer convicted of murdering his wife and son)
- Melvin Purvis (FBI agent who captured John Dillinger, among others)
Lawton Harper spent time as an associate with a private South Carolina workers’ compensation and personal injury law firm before joining Smith, Born, Leventis, Taylor & Vega, LLC (SBLTV) in 2023. His practice focuses exclusively on workers’ compensation cases, and he doesn’t expect that to ever change.
The best part of my job is getting an injured worker a fair result that lets them put their case behind them.
Although all of his clients are important to him, Lawton was particularly moved when he was able to help a disabled veteran with PTSD receive the compensation he deserved following a work injury.
Lawton understands the importance of finding an attorney who is not only competent but also a good communicator. His advice to injured workers is to “find someone who is honest and will answer the phone whenever you text or call.”
Fortunately, Lawton offers free initial consultations so injured workers can find out whether he’s the right attorney for them.
In order to be covered by workers’ compensation in South Carolina, your injury must “arise out of and in the course of” your employment.
An injury doesn’t arise out of and in the course of your employment if it occurred at work but would have occurred even if you weren't at work. For example, if you have a heart attack at work due to a genetic heart issue, you probably won't receive workers' compensation benefits because the heart attack wasn't directly related to your employment.
Mental-health issues may be covered in South Carolina, provided the emotional stimuli or stressors are incident to or arise from unusual or extraordinary conditions of employment.
Lawton doesn’t have a lot of free time on his hands. His day typically starts with a workout at 5:30. He then heads into the office, where he spends his time meeting with clients, gathering and developing evidence, researching and writing legal memoranda, and representing his clients in hearings.
In those rare moments of free time, Lawton can be found spending time with his wife, Katy, training his dog, Drake, or playing the guitar.
Bonus questions with Lawton Harper
Q. Is there anything you wish clients understood better before their first appointment?
A. Unfortunately, the law moves slowly. There will be a waiting period before we can get your case moving.
Q. What’s the biggest misconception about personal injury law?
A. Most people are exaggerating or faking their injuries. The overwhelming majority of my clients just want to get better and put their cases behind them.
Q. Do you have a favorite fictional attorney from books, TV or movies? If so, who is it?
A. The Hyperchicken lawyer from Futurama.
About Smith, Born, Leventis, Taylor & Vega, LLC
At Smith, Born, Leventis, Taylor & Vega, LLC, our attorneys have decades of experience skillfully navigating the complexities of personal injury and workers’ compensation cases to secure the best possible outcomes for their clients. Contact us for your free, no-obligation consultation today so we can worry about the details and you can focus on getting better.