About Susan Shackelford

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Susan Shackelford Articles written 18

Articles written by Susan Shackelford

Master of Nine

Christy Fargnoli’s past as a Title IX investigator now helps her bring suits against colleges

When Christy Fargnoli was a high school basketball star in Walterboro, Title IX helped her win a scholarship to play point guard at Newberry. It would play an even bigger role in her life once she became a lawyer. After graduating from Charleston School of Law, she crossed paths with Title IX again—this time in connection with the Obama administration’s reinforcement that the law covers sexual assault and harassment at federally funded colleges and universities. A college required an …


When Brent O.E. Clinkscale decides on a goal, he makes it happen

Six years ago, the future of the Phillis Wheatley Association looked bleak. The Greenville nonprofit’s funding and staff were sparse; and its programs, especially new ones, languished. For decades, the organization helped people from underserved neighborhoods, particularly young people, through summer and after-school programming. Bobbie Jo Madison Clinkscale worked there for more than 40 years as financial director. She also raised four boys, the youngest of which is Brent O.E. …

Dude, You Are So Dead

And other thoughts from no-nonsense litigator Sara Lincoln

Last fall, when Charlotte attorney Sara Lincoln traveled to Montreal to be inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers, she was overwhelmed. First, because of the incredible honor. Second, because of what she saw. There were over 1,000 people in the ballroom, and nearly all of them were old men. “I couldn’t believe it,” she says. After 24 years as a lawyer and eight years at a women-helmed law firm, Lincoln knows female trial lawyers are the minority. The ACTL says just 7 percent …

The Energizer

Terry Richardson keeps going and going and going …

A nameplate with the inscription “Illegitimis non carborundum” sits prominently on Terry Richardson’s desk at Richardson, Patrick, Westbrook & Brickman in Barnwell. It means, “Don’t let the bastards grind you down.” “It’s a constant reminder that perseverance is essential,” Richardson says of the nameplate, given to him by associates he mentored. “A lot of lawyers have tremendous talent, but if they are not drudges in the office, they aren’t going to be great in the …

A Short History of Charleston’s Cherished Couple

Robert and Susan Rosen have spent decades uplifting the city

At quick glance, Susan and Robert Rosen seem an unlikely couple. Jewish and a third-generation Charlestonian, he’s a divorce lawyer who thrives on the drama of family law and writes history books. Episcopalian and a New England native, she revels in connecting the dots in plaintiffs’ lawsuits, especially medical malpractice cases. His animated storytelling consumes the oxygen in a room, while she responds quietly but firmly.  Together, they make up the Rosen Law Firm, have been married for …

‘Our Atticus Finch’

How Morehead Scholar Wade Smith ushered in a new generation of criminal defense attorneys

When Special Prosecutor Jim Blackburn found out his jury was laughing, he knew it was a bad sign. He was about to lose one of his biggest cases: a bribery case against North Carolina Lt. Gov. Jimmy Green. The 1983 case was part of an FBI corruption investigation that had already indicted or convicted a judge, two state legislators, a county commissioner and a police chief. The jurors needed only two hours to acquit, and Blackburn could feel the glare of media cameras. He turned to an unlikely …


Whether facing racism, sexism or homophobia, M. Malissa Burnette doesn’t back down

In 1968, an 18-year-old M. Malissa Burnette walked around Morven, North Carolina, removing illegally placed signs that advertised a Ku Klux Klan rally—all while furious Klan members followed her in their trucks. “They yelled ‘nigger lover,’” she recalls from her law office in downtown Columbia. “They also threatened to burn down my grandparents’ home.” The threats weren’t realized, but the scene foreshadowed the fearlessness with which Burnette has practiced law for more than …

“You Will Become Like the People Around You”

Henry L. Parr Jr. finds himself at home and in good company

It was 1978 when University of the Regents of California v. Bakke reached the U.S. Supreme Court, and Henry L. Parr Jr. was there. Allan Bakke, a white man, was suing for reverse discrimination, seeking to overturn affirmative action laws that allowed race to be used as a factor in higher-education admissions. The University of California Davis School of Medicine had turned down Bakke twice for admission despite the fact that he had better grades and test scores than some of the minorities …

The Seventh Black Lawyer in Charlotte

James E. Ferguson II is fearless for his clients

James E. Ferguson II, an accomplished civil rights, criminal and medical malpractice attorney, president of the Charlotte-based firm Ferguson Stein Chambers Gresham & Sumter, has let one idea shape his more-than-40-year legal career: “Giving a voice to the voiceless,” he says. From seeking justice for the Wilmington 10 to establishing a trial advocacy program in South Africa, Ferguson has followed the example set by his parents, who, as he grew up on Blanton Street in Asheville, opened …

Getting Off the Slope

Bankruptcy attorney Christy Myatt helps clients—and skiers—get back on their feet

For longer than she’s been an attorney, Christy Myatt has helped injured skiers travel safely down the mountains of western North Carolina. The skills she uses in her part-time ski patrol job carry over to her full-time position as a bankruptcy attorney at Nexsen Pruet. “Both [jobs] deal with emergency situations, taking care of matters quickly and decisively,” says the partner in the firm’s Greensboro office. “I help injured skiers; I help injured companies.” Myatt’s been part of …

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