Amy Landers May
Amy Landers May, a 1998 graduate of Lander University, is this year's South Carolina Bar Young Lawyer of the Year.
The award is presented annually to an attorney 36 years of age or younger, or with less than five years of practice, who best exemplifies excellence in the legal profession and in public service.
May, a shareholder of Rogers Townsend & Thomas, PC, in Columbia, concentrates her practice in the areas of elder law, estate planning, probate administration and litigation, guardianships and conservatorships, special needs law, long-term care planning, veterans' benefits and real estate.
A native of Columbia, May was nominated for the prestigious award by her colleague, attorney Lisa Hostetler, who praised her for "protecting persons who cannot necessarily protect themselves and fighting for their rights."
Rogers Townsend & Thomas board chairman Samuel C. Waters said, "Amy's commitment to some of our most vulnerable citizens is evident both in her practice and in her involvement in the community. We're very pleased to see her professional and personal dedication and passion recognized."
The political science graduate said it was Lander professor of history Dr. Robert Figueira who put her on the road to becoming an attorney. "Dr. Figueira was in the admissions office when the admissions officer asked me to declare a major. I said that I had always thought about being a lawyer since I was little and had worked for a law office as a courier. Dr. Figueira encouraged me to be a lawyer and was actually my pre-law adviser."
May, who also holds a Juris Doctor degree from Mercer University, said that her academic advisor, professor emeritus of political science Dr. Aron Tannenbaum, was likewise supportive. "He helped nurse me through all those tough political science classes and wrote a recommendation letter to send with my law school application. Without Tannenbaum's "wisdom and guidance," May said, she "would not be an attorney today."
The experience she gained working for the McDonald Patrick and McCravy law firms while a student at Lander was also beneficial. "Being around all those incredible lawyers throughout my junior and senior years gave me a real feel for the practice of law," she said.
Some think that the television shows "Law and Order" and "L.A. Law" are accurate representations of the legal profession, May said, but "it just isn't that glamorous. It is difficult and stressful, and the bad days often outweigh the good ones. But if you can witness the results in a client from start to finish, it is worth it."
May said she has had to get used to talking about herself since being named Young Lawyer of the Year. She said the recognition she has received "confirms my belief that service to community and one's profession is still important and very valued."
She has fond memories of the time she spent at Lander. "I remember Lander being like a really big family," she said. "Most faces were familiar, even if you didn't know the person's name. It was a great place to live, work and go to school."