Why did you choose to attend the University of South Carolina School of Law?
I always wanted to attend the University of South Carolina. I was born just down the road at Providence Hospital when my dad was in law school (Robert G. Cunningham, Jr., B.S. 1957, JD 1964). So, I was familiar with the school from my very early days. The many visits over the years solidified my love for USC. When it came time to apply for undergrad, this was my first choice. Later, when Law School beckoned, there was only one place I ever really wanted to go. I am a Gamecock for life!
Where has your job taken you?
Since I am an in-house attorney for a Municipal "Corporation," I have been exposed to many areas of law. On any given day, I may work with Tort Law, Criminal Law, Employment Law, Environmental Law, Premises Liability, Contracts or Health Care Law. My well-rounded education at USC prepared me well for this. I have also learned an enormous amount about the inner workings of Federal, State and Local Government, and have helped to get a couple of laws passed. It is satisfying to be able to help shape the municipality in which I live. I have also enjoyed multiple connections with other municipal attorneys across the country. I have spoken on Municipal Law topics at seminars in several states and also in Canada. I have legal connections in all 50 states and in Ontario.
What is the most valuable information you learned while you were in law school?
One is to value integrity above all else. A law school professor used to say "In any scenario, if someone is going to go to jail let it be your client." It sounds funny, but the more you think about it the more wisdom there is in the statement. The second simple direction I learned from the late Dave Whitener, and it has served me well over the years. "When you are in a group situation, always remember who your client is." Sometimes this isn't so easy as it sounds, especially in the Real Estate business. However, it has kept me out of a couple of jams.
What event or professional experience has given you the most satisfaction?
My uncle is a priest. I told him I wanted to go to law school to help people. The most satisfying experience was the night I was awarded the South Carolina Bar Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year Award. It was followed up by an award from my City Council, and a key to the city.
What information would you give a graduating class member seeking your advice on a legal career?
We will all be working hard. My biggest piece of advice is never forget to take care of yourself. Keep space for exercise, fun and family time in your schedule. If you do, it makes those hard days well worth the effort.
What do you do for fun?
I attend USC sports events, and I like to fish and go to the beach. I am also a radio announcer for high school sports.