Client’s and Financial Declarations

Reflection for March 2, 2017

The financial declaration is the most important document in any family court case with financial issues. My most difficult task is convincing my clients of the urgency for a complete, thorough, and accurate financial declaration. While a good financial declaration may not win a case, a bad financial declaration can lose it. If the opposing party exposes my client’s mistake or misrepresentation in court, the trial judge will mo… Read More

Written versus Oral

Reflection, March 1, 2017

During my morning run, I reflected on criminal and civil jury cases I tried decades ago. I though about how much I concentrated on what I perceived as brilliant and persuasive cross-examination and oral argument and how little emphasis I placed on documentary exhibits and written jury charges. On reflection, I got it backwards. Today, I would concentrate on written persuasion without neglecting oral persuasi… Read More

Pro Se Litigants–Their Mistake, Everyone’s Problem

One of the greatest challenges lawyers face is correcting problems created by the ignorance of pro se litigants. This is usually far more expensive than if both parties had lawyers from the beginning and--despite the expense--is far less successful.

While I was not a good student, I loved my three years of law school at the University of South Carolina. Since then, I work most Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. I spend hours each week reading recent appellate opinions from South Carol… Read More

Some Hard Lessons I Learned about Pleading

Previously pleading was critical to the practice of law. Errors in pleadings caused judges to dismiss cases with prejudice. Pleading determined the relevance of evidence and the relief the court could award. I attribute much of the fault for pretrial contentiousness, longer trials, and the unconscionable cost of legal services to the decreased emphasis on pleadings by lawyers and judges. Most lawyers today not only do not understand pleading, they do not understand what a pleading or its pur… Read More

Lawyers and Writing

"If you were limited to oral persuasion or written persuasion, which would you choose?” I recently put this question to our Lawyers’ Lunch Table. These lawyers chose written persuasion four to one. I agree with the writers. I find good writing leads to good results. I credit good writing for my firm's outstanding results over the past year. If we prefer written persuasion and we know good writing leads to good results, why are we as lawyers such bad writers?

The poor writing I see i… Read More

About The Authors

Thomas F. McDow's Profile Image
Thomas F. McDow is the author of Debating SC Family Law, a blog devoted to discussing family law and appellate court issues in South Carolina. Read More
Erin K. Urquhart's Profile Image
Education: Spartanburg Public SchoolsWinthrop University, B.A. 2003University of South Carolina, J.D. 2006 Admitted: All South Carolina courts and the United States District Court for South Carolina, November 13, 2006 Professional Activities: South C… Read More

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Recent Comments

These are very helpful comments. I am starting a similar newsletter in WV for my clients and potential clients. Getting the clien...

John B on 03/02/2017
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I am well aware of this conundrum. That's why I called it "When you absolutely cannot or will not hire a lawyer (for your divorce)...

J Burton Hunter III on 12/28/2016
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I agree! Unbundled would be a great help to people like me. I tried to get lawyers to assist me with specific parts of the process...

Nanette Stevens on 12/27/2016
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I haven't followed this thread for awhile. By far the best option is an experienced lawyer who cares about you and your family. Se...

J Burton Hunter III on 12/27/2016
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I absolutely love this discussion on this subject. Involved in a divorce and forced to represent myself due to lack of funds and n...

Nanette Stevens on 12/27/2016
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