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07.18.19 MidlandsCLE/Luncheon



"2019 South Carolina Legislative Update"
Maura Baker, Paula Benson, and Johanna Valenzuela
(see bios below)

The Palmetto Club, 1231 Sumter Street, Columbia, SC
Buffet & Registration Begin at Noon
CLE Presentation 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.


RSVP by 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 16.  Cancellations made after that time are subject to invoicing, per the policy of the Palmetto Club.  You may cancel by using the same link above.  If you cannot attend and are unable to timely cancel, you may offer your reservation to a guest.  Lunch is $15 for SCWLA members and the military, and $30 for nonmembers.  Luncheon discounts and CLE credit are provided as membership benefits to current SCWLA members only.  Checks should be made payable to SCWLA.     

Maura Baker

          Maura Dawson Baker works as a staff attorney for the South Carolina Senate Judiciary Committee. She concentrates on legislation related to family, probate, and workers’ compensation legislation. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of South Carolina - Honors College, and her Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law. Prior to working for the Senate Judiciary Committee, she was in private practice with a focus on criminal defense. In 2012, she joined the Office of General Counsel at the Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) as assistant general counsel where she advised staff on legislative matters, including conformity with federal law. She also represented DEW in appellate cases and served as the privacy officer.  

Paula Benson

           A native of Columbia, Paula Benson is a triple graduate of the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Theatre, a Master’s in Librarianship, and a Juris Doctor.  Paula previously served as a reference librarian in the law school library.  She is the author of A Guide to South Carolina Legal Research and Citation, published by the South Carolina Bar, which has been used as a text to teach legal research to South Carolina law students and paralegals and as a reference source for lawyers.  Paula is Assistant Director of Research and Senior Staff Attorney for the South Carolina Senate Judiciary Committee.

Johanna Valenzuela   

           Johanna Valenzuela currently works as an attorney for the South Carolina Senate Judiciary Committee, where she concentrates on alcohol and gambling legislation. She is an active member of SCWLA, recently serving as the co-chair for SCWLA’s 25th Anniversary Conference Planning Committee. She is currently serving as a SCWLA Board Member and as the Chair for the SC Bar’s Diversity Committee. For the past two years, she has volunteered as an assistant attorney coach for the Lexington Middle School mock trial team. She has previously served as a subcommittee chair for the SC Bar’s Judicial Qualifications Committee and as a co-chair of the YLD’s Voices Against Violence subcommittee. Prior to becoming an attorney, she served as an aircraft maintenance officer in the United States Air Force for a little over three years and was stationed in Okinawa, Japan, and Fayetteville, North Carolina. After graduating from law school, she served as a law clerk to the Honorable G. Ross Anderson, Jr., in the South Carolina District Court in Anderson, South Carolina, and then worked as an assistant solicitor in the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit. After prosecuting in York County, she and her family moved back to the Midlands, and she worked as an assistant attorney general in the Consumer Protection and Antitrust Section of the South Carolina Attorney General’s office before running the Post-Conviction Relief Section as a senior assistant deputy attorney general. She graduated from the University of South Carolina (2003) and University of South Carolina’s School of Law (2010, magna cum laude).