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Published on May 3rd, 2017 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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Joseph Bias named SC Bar LRE Lawyer of the Year

COLUMBIA, S.C. —Joseph Bias of McAngus, Goudelock and Courie in Columbia has been named the 2017 Lawyer of the Year by the SC Bar Law Related Education (LRE) Division. Bias will be recognized at the House of Delegates meeting on May 18 for furthering the mission of the division with his long dedication to the SC Bar Mock Trial program.

Bias has been active with mock trial in South Carolina for many years, dating back to his participation on the E.L. Wright Middle School Mock Trial team as a student. After graduating from high school, Bias attended Wofford College and founded the school’s mock trial program.

Now a practicing attorney, Bias has volunteered with the LRE program since 2008, serving as an attorney coach at Irmo High School, Longleaf Middle School and Richland Northeast High School.

Teacher Bradley Ross of Richland Northeast High School credits Bias with the formation of the school’s mock trial program and the team’s success in its first year.

“Through the course of the year, I became more and more impressed with the abilities of Mr. Bias, not only as an attorney, but also with his ability to inspire students,” said Ross. “He managed to build a team that was able to compete and indeed finish second in the region in only its first year of existence.”

The goal of mock trial is to educate students about the basis of the American judicial system and the mechanics of litigation. Students fill the roles of attorneys, witnesses, bailiffs and timekeepers and present the prosecution and defense sides of a fictitious criminal case before a panel of local volunteer lawyers and judges.

Bias has furthered his law related education work through his participation in the Young Lawyers Division’s Protecting Our Youth Committee, which he currently co-chairs. The committee educates at-risk students about the legal consequences of their actions and choices through panel discussions in schools.

Richard Allan Fish, a teacher at Longleaf Middle School, has worked with Bias as a mock trial coach and hosted a Protecting Our Youth panel for his students. Fish has experienced first-hand the impact that these programs have had on his students.

Fish said, “As a result of the time that Mr. Bias has spent with our students, several have decided to pursue a career in the law. His journey has given many students hope and a dream to pursue.”

The LRE Lawyer of the Year Award is presented to a member of the SC Bar who has fostered public understanding of the values of the legal and judicial system; stimulated a deeper sense of individual responsibility by helping students recognize their legal duties and rights; encouraged and supported effective LRE programs; and increased communication among students, educators and those working in the legal system.

About the Law Related Education Division:

The SC Bar LRE Division, which was developed to improve the ability of teachers to instruct law related education, has been part of the Bar since 1976.

About the South Carolina Bar:

The SC Bar, which has a membership of more than 15,000 lawyers, is dedicated to advancing justice, professionalism and understanding of the law.

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