In This Section
Bylaws Of The South Carolina Association For Justice
Adopted April 8, 1988
Amended June 17, 1998
The name of the corporation shall be the South Carolina Association for Justice (“SCAJ” or the “Association”).
Section 1. Purpose: To advance the science of jurisprudence and the administration of justice; to continue the legal education of its members, the judiciary, and the public at large; and to advance the cause of those who are damaged in person or property and seek redress at law.
Section 2. Mission Statement: Our mission is to serve our members and those they are sworn to protect. We are advocates for those who are harmed by the actions of others no matter how powerful, wealthy or well-connected. 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 justice system through education and action; and to uphold the highest standards of ethical conduct and integrity in the legal profession.
The period of duration of this corporation shall be perpetual, and the principal office of the corporation in the State of South Carolina shall be located in the City of Columbia. The corporation may have such other offices as the Board of Governors of the Association (the “Board” or “Board of Governors”) may designate.
This corporation shall be organized and operated as a trade association under Section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code. There shall be no stock issued by this corporation.
Section 1 (a). Regular Members: Any person who meets the following qualifications shall be eligible for a Regular Membership in the Association:
- A regular member of the South Carolina Bar in good standing (Rule 410(h) and (i), SCACR);
- Of good moral character who demonstrates faithfulness to the Lawyer’s Oath (Rule 402, SCACR);
- Committed to the concept of a fair trial, the adversary system, the jury system and a just result for the injured, the accused or those whose constitutional or other legal rights are jeopardized;
- Whose practice is consistent with the Purpose and Mission of this Association and regularly and generally involves representing plaintiffs in civil litigation, criminal defendants, or either side in family or probate court matters; and
- Whose practice does not generally or regularly involve the representation of defendants or insurance companies in personal injury, professional negligence, product liability, premises liability, intentional torts, environmental, consumer, securities, or workers compensation matters or employers in employment matters.
Upon payment of periodic dues, such person shall be entitled to all benefits of a Regular Member of the Association.
Section 1 (b). Retired Members: Any person over 65 years of age who no longer regularly practices law; who practiced law for 15 years or more; and who otherwise meets the membership qualifications set forth in Section 1(a) shall be eligible for Retired Membership in the Association (notwithstanding the fact that the person may be an inactive, retired, or limited member of the South Carolina Bar). Upon payment of periodic dues, such person shall be entitled to the benefits of a Retired Member of the Association.
Section 2 (a). Associate Members: Any person licensed and in good standing to practice law in any state whose practice does not meet the qualifications for Regular Membership under Section 1(a) shall be eligible for an Associate Membership in the Association. Upon payment of periodic dues, such person shall be entitled to the benefits of an Associate Member of the Association.
Section 2 (b). Student Members: Any person who is not engaged in the practice of law and who is a student at a law school shall be eligible for a Student Membership. Upon payment of periodic dues, such person shall be entitled to the benefits of a Student Member of the Association.
Section 2 (c). Legal Assistant Members: Any person presently employed by a current attorney member of the Association (that is, a Regular, Retired, or Out-of-State Member current on dues and in good standing with the Association) as a legal assistant, paralegal, or in any similar position shall be eligible for a Legal Assistant Membership in this Association; provided that such employment relationship is certified in writing by the employing attorney member of the Association. Upon payment of periodic dues, such person shall be entitled to the benefits of a Legal Assistant Member of the Association.
Section 2 (d). Public Sector Members: Any person who is a member of the South Carolina Bar in good standing and who works full time for a municipal, county, state, or federal government, or for a non-profit corporation or educational institution whose purpose and mission is consistent with those of this Association shall be eligible for a Public Sector Membership of this Association. Upon payment of periodic dues, such person shall be entitled to the benefits of a Public Sector Member of the Association.
Section 3. Out-of-State Members: Any person licensed and in good standing to practice law in any state, but not licensed in South Carolina, who otherwise meets the qualifications set forth in Section 1(a) shall be eligible for an Out-of-State Membership with the Association. Upon payment of periodic dues, such person shall be entitled to the benefits of an Out-of-State Member of the Association.
Section 4. Membership Eligibility: The Executive Committee of the Board of Governors or its duly appointed committee(s) or representative(s) shall have the power of classification and approval of all members, unless otherwise resolved by the Board of Governors. However, no one may be rejected or disapproved for membership in this Association if he or she has applied for membership and meets the standards set forth in these Bylaws, except that any person applying for membership or for a particular classification of membership may be rejected or disapproved by a majority vote of the Board of Governors present at a regular meeting or at a duly called special meeting of the Board, provided the applicant is given at least seven (7) days notice of the meeting and has an opportunity to submit information to the Board.
Section 5. Privileges of Membership: Each member shall be entitled to all benefits, rights, and privileges of a member of the Association subject to these Bylaws, as provided by the Board of Governors, and pursuant to other rules, policies and procedures of the Association. A Regular Member shall be able to serve on the Board of Governors and shall be entitled to one vote in elections of Officers (other than for President, which is the President-Elect from the previous year), Judicial Circuit Representative(s), Minority Representatives, and Section Chairs, and to one vote on all issues at all meetings of the Regular Membership of the Association, subject to these Bylaws. Retired Members shall enjoy all benefits, rights, and privileges of Regular Members, and all references hereinafter to Regular Members and Regular Membership includes Retired Members. Associate, Student, Legal Assistant, Public Sector, and Out-of-State Members shall not have the right to vote or to serve on the Board of Governors.
Section 6. Dues and Assessments: Members shall in a timely manner pay dues and or other fees and assessments to the Association in such amounts and at such intervals as may be prescribed by the Board of Governors. Nonpayment in a timely manner of dues, fees or assessments shall be grounds for the immediate termination of membership of any member.
Section 7. Meetings of the Regular Membership: The annual meeting of the Regular Membership shall be the Business Meeting as set by the Board of Governors and with notice of the date, time and location to the entire membership at least fourteen (14) days in advance. Special meetings of the Regular Membership may be called at any time by the President upon request by at least a majority of the Board of Governors or a written request signed by twenty percent (20%) of the Regular Members that specifies the purpose of the proposed special meeting. The Board of Governors shall select a time, place and date for a special meeting within thirty (30) days after receipt of a valid and proper request by the President, and such meeting shall be called and held on notice no later than ninety (90) days after the receipt of the request. Actions taken by the full Regular Membership require a majority vote of the Regular Members present and voting, provided notice has been given to the entire Regular Membership at least fourteen (14) days in advance. If voting is permitted by mail, there must be at least thirty (30) days between the date of mailing the ballots and the deadline for submitting a ballot, and a majority of those Regular Members voting is required for passage or election. No voting by proxy shall be permitted.
Section 1. Board of Governors: All corporate powers of the Association shall be exercised by or under the authority of the Board of Governors of the Association, which shall manage the affairs of the Association in accordance with these Bylaws.
Section 1 (a). Members of the Board of Governors: The Board of Governors shall be comprised of the following:
- Officers. The Officers of the Association shall be members of the Board of Governors as elected pursuant to these Bylaws.
- Judicial Circuit Representatives. A number of Judicial Circuit Representatives shall be members of the Board as elected by and from the Regular Members in good standing in each of the sixteen judicial circuits such that there is, at least, one representative for each judicial district and such additional representatives that there is one representative for every fifty Regular Members within a judicial circuit. Judicial Circuit Representatives’ residence or principal office must be located within the boundaries of the Judicial Circuit represented. Each Judicial Circuit Representative shall serve a three-year term on the Board and may not serve for more than two consecutive terms. Judicial Circuit Representatives shall be elected by the most votes cast, even if only a plurality. If no Regular Member accepts nomination or seeks election to a seat or if no qualified Regular Member’s principal office or residence is within the judicial circuit, then it shall be declared a “seat at large” for the term in question, and any Regular Member may seek election to that seat. Any vacancy occurring during an unexpired term shall be filled by the runner-up (next highest vote total) in the last election. In the event the race was uncontested or the runner-up is unwilling or unable to serve, the Board of Governors shall have the authority to fill the vacancy with a Regular Member of the Association whose principal office or residence is in the same judicial circuit as that of the vacant seat.
- Minority Representatives. Two (2) Minority Representatives shall be members of the Board as elected by and from the full Regular Membership to three-year terms on the Board, and each Minority Board member serving in a Minority Board seat may succeed himself or herself; provided, however, that no one shall serve more than two (2) successive terms. Before the end of each term, notice shall be given to the Regular Membership asking for nominations in any form.
- AAJ State Delegate(s) and AAJ Governor(s): In accordance with the Bylaws of the American Association for Justice (“AAJ”), AAJ State Delegate(s) and AAJ Governor(s) shall be members of the SCAJ Board of Governors and shall comply with these Bylaws as members of the Board. The AAJ State Delegate(s) and AAJ Governor(s) shall perform all other functions prescribed by AAJ and shall be elected by a procedure determined by AAJ.
- Presidents Council Delegate. A Presidents Council Delegate shall be a member of the Board as elected by the Council of Past Presidents (the “Presidents Council”), which shall consist of all former Presidents of this Association whose membership is currently active, to serve a one-year term on the Board of Governors. A Presidents Council Delegate may serve successive terms.
- Section Chairs. Law Section Chairs shall be members of the Board as elected by and from the Regular Members of each Law Section of the Association to serve a one-year term on the Board of Governors. Section Chairs may serve consecutive terms.
An additional non-voting advisory seat, with a one-year term, shall be assigned to each of the presidents of the Student Chapters of the Association.
Section 1 (b). Responsibilities of Board Members: Each Board Member must be current in the payment of any dues or assessments. Each Board Member must attend all meetings, unless excused for adequate reason by the President. A Board Member’s unexcused absence from three consecutive Board meetings or four Board meetings in a calendar year shall be reported to the Board, at which time the offending Board Member may be removed from the Board by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Board of Governors. A Board Member shall be removed from office if he or she is disbarred, convicted of a felony, suspended from the practice of law indefinitely or for a period of time greater than 9 months or if the Board of Governors, by a two-thirds (2/3) vote, deems it necessary in the best interest for the successful continuation of the Association. Each Board Member must carry out all responsibilities in these Bylaws or as otherwise established by the Board of Governors. Board Members shall be responsive to the request(s) of the President and other Officers in carrying out the functions of the Association. Failure to carry out these assigned duties may result in removal from the Board by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Board of Governors. Board Members are responsible for reporting on Board actions and Association events to the Association members they represent.
Section 1 (c). Meetings of the Board of Governors: The Board of Governors shall meet at least five times per year. The President or Executive Committee of the Association may call special meetings, as they deem necessary. Regular and special meetings may be held within or without the State of South Carolina, provided appropriate notice is given. At any meeting of the Board of Governors, fifty percent (50%) of all Board Members shall constitute a quorum. A majority vote at any meeting at which a quorum is present shall be sufficient for the resolution of any matter before the Board. The act of the majority of the Board of Governors at a meeting at which a quorum is present shall be the act of the Board of Governors. Any Board Member present at a meeting of the Board shall be presumed to have assented to any Board action unless his or her dissent is made openly or entered into the minutes.
Section 2. Executive Committee: The purpose of the Executive Committee shall be to act with the power and authority of the Board of Governors at times when it is impossible or prohibitively inconvenient to convene the entire Board of Governors or as otherwise permitted in these Bylaws. The Executive Committee shall have any other powers and authority as established by the Board of Governors. Actions for which written notice has been provided to each Member of the Board of Governors and not rejected by the Board of Governors at their next regular meeting shall be deemed to be ratified.
Section 2 (a). Members of the Executive Committee: All Officers of this Association shall serve as members of the Executive Committee during the term of their offices. At the first Regular Meeting of the Board of Governors following the certification of the regular annual election of Judicial Circuit Representatives, the Board of Governors shall elect four of its non-Officer Board Members to serve one-year terms on the Executive Committee. No one shall be elected to more than two consecutive terms as a non-Officer member of this Committee.
Section 2 (b). Meetings of the Executive Committee: Meetings of the Executive Committee may be called by the President when he or she deems necessary or by at least four (4) members of the Executive Committee. Meetings of the Executive Committee may be held either within or without the State of South Carolina, provided appropriate notice is given. At any meeting of the Executive Committee where all members have been given 24 hours prior notice thereof, or have waived notice, a majority of the Committee shall constitute a quorum, and a majority vote at any meeting at which a quorum is present shall be sufficient for the resolution of any matter properly before the Committee.
Section 3. Officers: A Regular Member who maintains a principal law office or primary residence in the State of South Carolina may serve as an Officer of the Association. With the exception of the Immediate Past President and the President, the Officers of the Association shall be elected for one-year terms at the annual Regular Membership meeting of the Association by a majority vote of the Regular Members present and voting. The President-Elect shall become President without the requirement of a further election immediately on the ending of the President’s term. The Officers shall consist of a President, President-Elect, Vice-President, Treasurer/Secretary, and Immediate Past President. Terms of office begin with the election at the annual Regular Membership meeting and end at the following annual Regular Membership meeting, when the next elections are held. Any Officer may be removed from office if he or she is disbarred, convicted of a felony, or if the Board of Governors, by a two-thirds (2/3) vote, deems it necessary for the successful continuation of the Association. Any vacancy of any Officer, other than Immediate Past President, President, and President-Elect, by reason of death, resignation or removal may be filled by the Board of Governors. The Board of Governors may elect or appoint any other officers or assistant officers as may be deemed necessary.
Section 3 (a). President: The President shall preside at all meetings of the Association and shall be the Chair of the Board of Governors and the Chief Executive Officer of the Association. The President shall be Chair of the Nominating Committee and the Executive Committee and shall appoint all committees or agents to perform duties as required by the Association and shall further serve the Association as outlined in these Bylaws.
Section 3 (b). President-Elect: The President-Elect shall serve as Chair of the Legislative Steering Committee and oversee all legislative activities. The President-Elect shall act in the place of the President when the President is absent or in the event of a vacancy by the President without affecting his or her own term as President. The President-Elect shall perform any other duties assigned to him or her by the President or Board of Governors.
Section 3 (c). Vice-President: The Vice-President shall assist the President and the President-Elect in the performance of their duties. The primary duties of the Vice-President shall be to serve as Vice-Chair of the Legislative Steering Committee. The Vice-President shall also serve as Chair of the Personnel Committee. In the event of vacancies in the President and President-Elect, the Vice-President shall act as President for the remainder of the term; otherwise, the Vice-President shall not become the President or President-Elect without a vote of the Regular Membership.
Section 3 (d). Secretary/Treasurer: The Secretary/Treasurer shall be responsible for maintaining all records of the Association, making periodic financial reports to the Board of Governors, overseeing the preparation of annual budget(s) and performing such other functions as may be prescribed by law and as may be delegated by the Executive Committee or the Board of Governors. The Secretary/Treasurer shall also spearhead the fund-raising activities of the Association. The Secretary/Treasurer shall further serve as chair of the Finance Committee.
Section 3 (e). President Emeritus: There may be elected by the Board of Governors a President Emeritus, who shall serve in an honorific capacity with no voting rights on the Board.
Section 3 (f). Election of Officers: A Nominating Committee – consisting of the President (Chair), President-Elect, Immediate Past President and two non-Officer members of the Executive Committee, selected by the Board of Governors – shall meet after May 1 and prior to June 1 of each year to select a slate of Officer candidates for that year’s election. Any Regular Member may nominate any Regular Member (including himself or herself) for due consideration by the Nominating Committee for any position on the Officer candidate slate, provided that such nomination along with any supporting materials is delivered to the SCAJ principal office by April 15. The Nominating Committee shall use the following factors when determining the slate of Officer candidates: (1) demonstrated dedication to the Association’s mission and policy positions, (2) length of membership and previous leadership roles in the Association, (3) make-up of their practices, and (4) any other factor the Committee deems relevant. The Nominating Committee’s report shall be mailed to all Regular Members of the Association by June 15, at which time the Association shall provide notice of the upcoming Officer elections and solicit from all Regular Members in good standing any nominations for Officer candidates. To qualify as a candidate for election at the Business Meeting, an Officer candidate must receive (1) a nomination by the Nominating Committee or (2) a nomination by a Regular Member that is seconded in writing by twenty-five other Regular Members in good standing and delivered to the Association’s principal office no later than June 30. Officers shall be elected at the Business Meeting by a majority of the Regular Members present and voting. No candidate may be nominated from the floor at the Business Meeting.
Section 4. Sections of the Association: There shall be the following sections of the Association – Criminal Law, Family Law, Social Security Law, Workers’ Compensation, Torts & Negligence, Employment Law, Environmental Law, Young Lawyers, Consumer & Securities Law, and Real Estate Law (collectively, the “Law Sections”). These Sections may organize in any manner not contrary to the operation of the Association. Each Law Section shall elect a Chair at the Annual Convention to a one-year term. The Section Chair’s primary responsibility shall be assisting in the preparation of continuing legal education programs; researching and reviewing issues affecting members of the Association and their clients in that area of law; and communicating relevant information to those members, utilizing SCAJ publications, the plaintiff-only Listserv and Section-specific Listservs, and other appropriate means. In the event that a Law Section does not elect a Chair, the President may fill such vacancy by appointment subsequently confirmed by the Board of Governors. Each Section Chair may be assigned tasks by the Board of Governors, the Executive Committee, or the President. The Section Chair shall serve on the Board of Governors and shall have all privileges assigned thereto.
Section 5. Presidents Council: The Presidents Council shall designate a Delegate on an annual basis at a date, time and place determined by its members. In the event the Presidents Council does not designate a Delegate, the President may fill such vacancy by appointment subsequently confirmed by the Board of Governors. The Presidents Council Delegate may be assigned tasks by the Board of Governors, the Executive Committee, or the President. The Presidents Council Delegate shall serve on the Board of Governors and shall have all privileges assigned thereto.
Section 6. Committees of the Association: The standing committees of the Association shall be the Executive, Nominating, Honors & Recognition, Publications, Personnel, and Legislative Steering Committees. The Board may establish other standing and ad-hoc committees on an as needed basis. The Officers of the Association shall chair the committees as designated under these Bylaws, and the President with concurrence of the Board of Governors shall appoint chairs for each committee, except for any PACs, which are independently governed by the Trustees. Committees shall meet at least once a year. The Chair of the Publications Committee will be the Editor-In-Chief of SCAJ publications and shall be appointed by the President with the concurrence of the Board of Governors.
Section 1. Contracts: The Board of Governors may authorize any Officer or Officers, agent or agents, or employee of the Association to enter into any contract or execute and deliver any instrument in the name of and on behalf of the Association, and such authority may be general or confined to specific instances.
Section 2. Loans: The Board of Governors may authorize any Officer or Officers or duly authorized agent or agents to seek a loan for use by the Association.
Section 3. Checks, Drafts, etc.: All checks, drafts, or other orders for the payment of money, notes or other evidences of indebtedness issued in the name of the Association shall be signed by such Officer or Officers, or duly authorized agent or agents of the Association and in such manner as shall from time to time be determined by the Board of Governors.
Section 4. Deposits: All funds of the Association not otherwise employed shall be deposited from time to time to the credit of the Association in such banks, trust companies or other depositories as the Board of Governors or duly authorized agent may select.
The Fiscal year shall be the year starting the first day of July and ending the last day of June.
Unless otherwise provided by law, whenever any notice is required to be given under the provisions of these Bylaws or under the provisions of the Articles of Incorporation, a waiver thereof in writing, signed by the person or persons entitled to such notice, whether before or after the time stated therein, shall be deemed equivalent to the giving of such notice.
These articles constitute the official Bylaws of the South Carolina Association for Justice. Unless otherwise provided by law, these Bylaws may be amended by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Board of Governors. The amendment shall then be made known to the Regular Membership at least fourteen (14) days prior to the next Regular Membership meeting; and at that meeting, the amendment or any particular part thereof may be overridden by a majority vote of the Regular Members present and voting. If required by the South Carolina Nonprofit Corporation Act or other governing law, amendments approved by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Board of Governors shall not become effective unless and until approved by two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Regular Members present and voting at a Regular Membership meeting; in which case, notice of the meeting shall state that one of its purposes is to consider the proposed amendment and shall contain or be accompanied by a copy or summary of the amendment.
The Articles of Incorporation – including the purpose “to advance the science of jurisprudence and the administration of justice; to continue the legal education of its members, the judiciary, and the public at large; and to advance the cause of those who are damaged in person or property and seek redress at law” – are established in the Certificate of Incorporation dated August 6, 1975, and filed with the South Carolina Secretary of State. Unless otherwise provided by law, the Articles may be amended by a recommendation to the Regular Membership by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Board of Governors and approved by a vote at the next annual Regular Membership meeting by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Regular Members present and voting; in which case, notice of the meeting shall state that one of its purposes is to consider the proposed amendment and shall contain or be accompanied by a copy or summary of the amendment.
Section 1. Exempt Activities: Notwithstanding any other provision of these Bylaws and of the Articles of Incorporation, no member, officer, governor, agent, employee or representative of this Association shall take any action or carry on any activity on behalf of the Association if such action is not permitted to be carried on by an association exempt under Section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code and its regulations as they may exist or as they hereafter may be amended.
Section 2. Prohibition Against Sharing in Association Assets - Dissolution: No member, governor, officer, agent, or employee of, or any other person, shall receive at any time any of the funds, assets, net earnings or pecuniary profits from the operations of the Association, provided that this shall not prevent the payment to any such person of reasonable compensation for services rendered to or for the Association and as approved by the Board of Governors. All members, governors, officers, agents, and employees of the Association shall be deemed to have expressly consented and agreed that, upon such dissolution or winding up of the affairs of the Association (after all debts have been satisfied), any assets remaining in the hands of the Board of Governors shall be distributed, transferred, conveyed, delivered and paid over in such amounts and manner as the Board of Governors may determine – or as may be determined by a court of competent jurisdiction upon application by the Board of Governors – exclusively to charitable, religious, scientific, literary or educational organizations.
The current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order shall govern the proceedings of this Association on matters not provided for in these Bylaws.
“Through my Association membership I am informed regularly on legislative action, I have worked with other lawyers on significant trial and appellate cases, and I have made lasting friendships. I am SCAJ.”
John S. Nichols, Esq.
"I joined SCAJ in 1973 and I have attended almost every Convention and every CLE since then. I have learned how to be a better trial lawyer, learned new ways to present my cases, and have met many new lawyers from all over the state that has resulted in many referrals. I encourage all new or older trial lawyers to join and get active in this wonderful organization."
Fayrell Furr, Jr., Esq.