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Bissell Award Nominations

The South Carolina Women Lawyers Association (SCWLA) is proud to honor Jean Galloway Bissell with its annual award in her name. In a year when SCWLA is also celebrating its twentieth anniversary, it is particularly fitting that we recognize another outstanding woman lawyer in Judge Bissell's memory.

Jean Galloway Bissell (1936-1990) was a trailblazer who paved the way for SC women lawyers in multiple fields. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from USC in 1956 and graduated magna cum laude, first in her USC School of Law Class in 1958, where she was also Associate Editor and Business Manager of the South Carolina Law Review. She started her career in private practice with the firm of Haynsworth, Perry, with another pioneer, Miss Jim Perry. Judge Bissell taught trusts and estates at the USC School of Law, became General Counsel of the South Carolina National Bank and was promoted to Executive Vice President and Vice-Chairwoman of SCN's Board. At that time, she was the highest-ranking female executive among the 100 largest bank holding companies in America. In 1984, she became the first female South Carolina lawyer to hold a federal judgeship when she was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

A nomination form for the Bissell Award is available from our website at The deadline for the submission of nominations is August 4, 2014. Selection criteria include the nominee's distinguished and noteworthy service to the public and the legal profession; achievement of professional excellence; and participation in activities that have paved the way to success for women lawyers on the national, state or local level. Nominations should include specific examples of how the nominee has influenced women to pursue legal careers, opened doors for women lawyers in settings historically closed to them or advanced opportunities for women within a practice area or segment of the profession.

Please note that nominations may be accompanied by letters in support of the nominee. You may also submit any other documentation you believe evidences why the nominee is deserving of this distinction. Any individual nominated for the Bissell Award last year will automatically be considered for this year's award. Supplemental materials in support of a nomination made last year may be submitted by the deadline for new nominations.

Past Recipients of the Bissell Award include: 1995, the Honorable Jean Hoefer Toal; 1996, Ellen Hines Smith; 1997, the Honorable Matthew J. Perry; 1998, Susan K. Dunn; 1999, the Honorable Carol Connor; 2000, Elizabeth Van Doren Gray; 2001, Sarah E. Leverette; 2002, the Honorable Judy C. Bridges; 2003, the Honorable Margaret B. Seymour; 2004, Sue Erwin Harper; 2005, Harriet McBryde Johnson; 2006, the Honorable Cameron McGowan Currie; 2007, the Honorable Karen J. Williams: 2009, the Honorable Sandra Day O'Connor; 2010, the Honorable Kaye G. Hearn; 2011, Martha B. Dicus; 2012, Victoria L. Eslinger; 2013, Mary Elizabeth Crum.