The early to mid-1980's showed a great deal of change in the Association. The Legislature stayed on an even keel until the mid-80's. This afforded the Association the opportunity to start several new programs.

In 1980, the Association established a modified self-funded group health insurance program for the members. It was hoped that by having a self-funded plan, the members would be able to obtain a good health insurance policy with a reasonable premium. After only a couple of years, the plan started having financial problems. Finally the plan was terminated on October 31, 1990.

In January 1981, the Association purchased a building at 1407 Elmwood Avenue in Columbia. The Board felt that there would be more of a control of the costs with permanent headquarters. The purchase and renovation of the building was financed with a small assessment of the members, unsecured loans by some of the members, and a mortgage.

Continuing legal education became mandatory for reporting in 1981. SCAJ was designated an accredited sponsor of continuing legal education programs and as such, all its educational activities are accredited automatically for the Commission's mandatory continuing legal education requirements. Over the years, there was an over abundance of continuing legal education opportunities provided by others; therefore, the Association decided to reduce the number of seminars and concentrate on quality instead of quantity. Today, the Association has an Annual Convention, Annual Auto Torts Seminar, and every two years a jointly sponsored seminar with the South Carolina Bar. We are very proud of our CLE programs, as they are known as some of the finest in the nation.

From 1986 through 1988, SCAJ co-sponsored a Spring Seminar with the North Carolina Academy of Trial lawyers. This seminar brought the South Carolina and North Carolina attorneys together in an educational setting.

In 1984, Lisa Byars was working as the Legislative Assistant. Her departure during the 1984 Session prompted a review of the legislative program and its goals. A committee was formed to search for an on-staff legislative liaison that could formulate a grassroots legislative program in addition to assisting the Executive Director with lobbying activities. Coretta D. Bedsole joined the staff in late 1984 as Political Coordinator. Coretta came to the Association from Winthrop University where she was an Assistant to one of the Vice Presidents. Her major role, in addition to lobbying, was to coordinate a key contact program and assist in building coalitions with like-minded organizations.

Index    The Beginning    1960 - 1969    1970 - 1974 
1975 - 1979
    1980 - 1985    1986 - 1989    1990 - 1999 
2000 - Present





The South Carolina Association for Justice (SCAJ) was founded over 50 years ago by a small group of trial lawyers. Since then, our mission has been to serve our members and those we are sworn to protect.  We work to uphold and defend the constitutions of our state and nation. We fight tirelessly to protect the rights of the individual; to seek justice through open and fair courtrooms; to resist unjust laws; to support policies that hold wrongdoers accountable; to strengthen the civil justice system through education; and to uphold the highest standards of ethical conduct and integrity in the legal profession.

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