Young Lawyers Seminar

This unique seminar opportunity will give the new generation of trial lawyers an in-depth look at important aspects of the profession from some of the most experienced lawyers in the state. The two-day weekend retreat will offer valuable educational sessions as well as an excellent chance to meet new and highly-seasoned lawyers. 

2017 Young Lawyers Seminar – April 29-30, 2017 at the Marina Inn at Grande Dunes, Myrtle Beach, SC

The 2017 Young Lawyers Seminar will be held at The Marina Inn at Grande Dunes in Myrtle Beach.  During this two day seminar you will receive instruction, advice, and invaluable tips from some of the top Trial Lawyers in South Carolina.  The Young Lawyers Seminar will be held in conjunction with the Board of Governors Planning Retreat so there is an opportunity to meet and socialize with the South Carolina Association for Justice leadership.

Hotel Reservations at the Marina Inn at Grande Dunes, Myrtle Beach, SC

SCAJ has a limited room block available for the attendees of the 2017 Young Lawyers Seminar, at the Marina Inn at Grande Dunes.  Contact the hotel directly by  calling (843) 913-1333 and asking for the SC ASSOCIATION FOR JUSTICE group rate of $145.00 per night.  Please note that you must be a registrant of the Seminar to receive this rate.  Call today! The room block expires on March 28, 2017.


 2017 Young Lawyers Seminar:Thoughts After a Combined 190 Years of Practice...And Over 530 Trials

Saturday, April 29, 2017

7:30 am - 8:30 am         Breakfast for Attendees

8:30 am - 8:35 am       “Welcome” – Alexander B. Cash, President, SCAJ

8:35 am - 9:35 am       “Lawyers in the Legislature” – Senator Luke A. Rankin, Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee

9:35 am - 10:35 am     “Always Do – Maybe – Don’t Think So – Never Do” – Daniel E. “Danny” Henderson

10:35 am - 10:45 am   Coffee Break

10:45 am - 11:45 am   Damages, Proof, and Persuasion– Gene M. Connell, Jr.

11:45 am - 12:45 pm   “Winners Don’t Wait for Chances, They Take Them: What to Learn from Winning and Losing Big Trials in the Same Year” ­– John Eric Fulda

5:30 pm - 7:00 pm        Welcome Reception - Cocktails, Food, & Fellowship


Sunday, April 30, 2017

7:30 am - 8:30 am       Breakfast for Attendees

8:30 am - 9:30 am       “Depositions:  Don’t Just Take Them… Take Control” ­ – Natasha M. Hanna 

9:30 am - 10:30am      “Practice Tips for Young Lawyers (or How to Avoid Myriad Mistakes of an Old Lawyer)” – Eugene C. “Gene” Covington, Jr.

10:30 am - 10:40 am   Coffee Break

10:40 am - 11:40 am   A Lawyer and a Farmer: Growing a Mass Tort Practice from Scratch” – Graham L. Newman

11:40 am – 12:40 pm  “Trial Lawyer Trivia” – Panel:  Eugene C. “Gene” Covington, Jr., John Eric Fulda, Natasha M. Hanna, Graham L. Newman


 2017 Young Lawyers Seminar Speaker Bios

Senator Luke A. Rankin

Luke grew up in Conway, the son of “Rock” and Dot Rankin.  He attended Conway High School and graduated from the University of South Carolina with a B.A. in Political Science and in 1987 received his J.D.  Luke is married to Lindsey and has two children, Luke Jr. and Hollings.

Luke operates the Law Firm of Rankin & Rankin, P.A., which was originally started by his father in 1950.  He is a member Ocean View Baptist Church, the Sertoma Club and serves in the South Carolina State Senate representing District 33.  In the Senate, he serves on the following committees:  Judiciary, Chairman; Education; Transportation; Banking and Insurance; Ethics

Daniel E. “Danny” Henderson

Danny Henderson opened PETERS, MURDAUGH, PARKER, ELTZROTH & DETRICK, P.A.’s first satellite office in Ridgeland, South Carolina in July 1980. He clerked for the year following graduation for The Honorable Clyde A. Eltzroth, Jr., Resident Judge of the 14th Judicial Circuit. What started as a general practice in a rural area has grown to a practice focusing on personal injury, products liability and general litigation.

Danny handles general tort cases including auto and motorcycle wrecks, premises liability, highway defects, as well as products liability cases against manufacturers. Danny also has an active worker's compensation practice and has helped many injured employees receive worker's compensation benefits. No client needing general legal advice is ever turned away regardless of ability to pay or the profitability of the potential case. Danny tries cases in numerous counties in South Carolina. His primary trial practice is in the 14th Circuit compiled of Allendale, Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper Counties.

Gene M. Connell, Jr.

Gene M. Connell, Jr. graduated from the College of Charleston in 1980 with a B.A. degree and from the University of South Carolina Law School in 1983 with a J.D. degree.  He then served as Law Clerk to The Honorable Ralph King Anderson before returning home to Surfside Beach where he has been a trial lawyer for over thirty years.  He estimates he has tried over 250 jury trials (in state and federal court) and has argued over 60 appeals with over 48 reported appellate court decisions including a United States Supreme Court decision.  He has also mediated hundreds of cases and has been appointed as a special referee on numerous cases.  He has testified as an expert on class actions and attorneys’ fees in both state and federal courts. He has a general civil practice which includes personal injury claims, class actions, consumer cases, insurance claims and almost every other type of civil litigation.  Currently, his practice also includes assisting numerous lawyers in evaluating and trying their cases.  He holds the “A” rating from Martindale Hubbell.  His firm has served as Mentor to many new young lawyers since the South Carolina Supreme Court adopted the Mentor Rule.  He also serves on the Resolution of Fee Dispute Committee. 

John Eric Fulda

John Eric began his legal practice representing insurance companies and carriers defending doctors and other medical providers who were accused of medical malpractice.  After a few years, he turned his focus to representing victims of serious injury, including medical malpractice, and seeking justice for them and their families.  He is passionate about helping victims in personal injury cases get back on their feet and hopes that clients look to him as not just an attorney, but as someone they can count on as a friend. One of John Eric’s favorite parts of being an attorney is getting to work with people from all walks of life.

John Eric is a big believer in and user of technology throughout the litigation process.  He works side-by-side with the firm’s media department to develop presentations that incorporate videos, documents, and illustrations, so that key points of a case can be easily and quickly explained to judges, juries, mediators, and arbitrator.

Graham L. Newman

Graham L. Newman is an attorney at Chappell, Smith & Arden, P.A. in Columbia. Graham’s practice focuses on mass torts, class actions, and other complex litigation. His trial successes include a $4.75 million products liability verdict and a $14.5 million insurance bad faith verdict. Graham has authored winning appellate briefs before the South Carolina Court of Appeals, South Carolina Supreme Court, Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and United States Supreme Court.

Natasha M. Hanna

Natasha Mabry Hanna grew up in the New River Valley nestled in the mountains of Radford, Virginia. She came to South Carolina to attend Coastal Carolina University where she graduated in 1994. She obtained her paralegal degree and worked in a law firm for five years. Having discovered a true love for the practice of law, Natasha then continued her education at the University of South Carolina School of Law where she graduated in 2002. She was admitted to the South Carolina Bar that same year.  Natasha practiced at the law firm of Hearn, Brittain & Martin, P.a. for eight years until its dissolution in 2010. She opened her own firm in Myrtle Beach in May 2010 where the focus of her practice is on civil litigation, personal injury and workers’ compensation.  Natasha is actively involved in professional and community service having served as an officer and President of the Horry County Bar Association, the Citizens Committee for Judicial Qualifications, the Board of Trustees for Coastal Carolina University and was a Commissioner for the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education. Natasha resides in Conway, South Carolina with her husband and two sons. She is a member of Ocean View Baptist Church of Myrtle Beach and enjoys family time, boating, attempts at gourmet cooking and just enjoying each and every day.

Eugene C. Covington, Jr.

Eugene (“Gene”) C. Covington, Jr. is a managing partner and founder of Covington, Patrick, Hagins, Stern & Lewis, in Greenville. He has tried hundreds of personal injury, product liability and insurance litigations in his 41 years of practice.

After graduating from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1976, He was the second law clerk for Chief Justice Bubba Ness. For 14 years, he worked with Richard J. Foster, President Emeritus of the SCAJ.  For 7 years he served on the SC Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline of the South Carolina Supreme Court. 

Since 1995, Gene has been listed annually in the Best Lawyers in America publication and was awarded the 2009 and 2012 Best Lawyer, Lawyer of the Year, for Personal Injury Litigation, in Greenville, South Carolina.  In 2006, he was listed as one of the Best Lawyers in the Upstate in Greenville Magazine, and, in 2008, he was listed as one of the Top 25 Lawyers in South Carolina, by the South Carolina Super Lawyers.  Gene is a National Board of Trial Advocacy Certified Civil Trial Specialist since 1998. He is the author of South Carolina Damages - Collateral Source, 2004, S.C. Bar, and a co-author of The Law of Automobile Insurance in South Carolina, 2nd through 5th Editions, 1992 - 2002, S.C. Bar.  Since 1981, Martindale-Hubbell Legal Directory has continuously listed Gene an AV rating. 

Gene is a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers.  He is a Diplomate in the American Board of Trial Advocates and a member of the American Association for Justice and the South Carolina Association for Justice and the Haynsworth-Perry American Inn of Court.


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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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