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About Our Firm
Desa Ballard opened a solo practice focused on professional ethics and licensing in West Columbia, South Carolina, in 1997, after practicing law for ten (10) years at Ness Motley Loadholt Richardson and Poole. Naturally, once solo, Desa also began taking on appellate cases referred to her by other lawyers; her years at a staff attorney for the South Carolina Supreme Court taught her to love appellate work, and she feels her best when arguing in front of an appellate court. 
 
The practice grew, The Law Offices of Desa Ballard developed a civil litigation practice that can only be described as “a little different”, and a lot of phone calls to the office begin with, “This case is a little unusual…” She soon developed a slogan (which lawyers can’t technically have) “we make pigs fly.”
As the law firm developed, Desa realized she could not do it all herself, despite being a self-proclaimed Superwoman. Harvey Watson joined her in the practice and, in 2011, Harvey became a partner in the firm and together, with an amazing staff, they still make pigs fly.
Areas of Practice

Professional Licensing

In South Carolina, more than forty professions are regulated by the South Carolina Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation (“LLR”), and members of the South Carolina Bar are regulated through the Supreme Court’s Commission on Lawyer Conduct. Many of our clients could be labeled “professionals with problems,” since we devote a large portion of our practice to the representation of doctors, lawyers and other licensed professionals in regulatory or disciplinary matters, including getting them licensed in the first place.

Civil & Appellate Litigation

While some of our civil litigation practice springs from our professional licensing cases, many of our cases involve contract disputes, commercial litigation or raise novel issues of law. If it's unique, we can probably help; if not we can help point you in the right direction to someone who can. South Carolina lawyers tend to know one another, so if we know of someone who knows an area of law especially well, we'll tell you about it.

Risk Management and Law Firm Structure

Although we are known primarily for defending professionals in disciplinary matters, we believe “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” That’s why we dedicate part of our practice to consulting with lawyers regarding risk management strategies, compliance with professional ethics rules, and addressing corporate or partnership matters (such as law firm structure, acquisitions and dissolution, etc.). We try to teach the pigs to fly, even if they never have to actually take flight.

Law Office Accounting

Mismanaging a trust account can have devastating consequences on a lawyer's career, sometimes ending it forever. Our law schools unfortunately don't do enough to train law students on how to handle an IOLTA trust account, so many attorneys rely on an accountant to manage the firm’s reconciliations and trust account. The trouble there is most certified public accountants are not fluent in the special rules that apply to how lawyers handle client funds.

We offer trust account management services that begin with consultation about the proper way to establish of your trust account(s) and choices of software, and can extend to managing your trust account and reconciliations each month. If you want to minimize your risk of trust account problems,
Contact Us.

Three Common Mistakes

There is no legitimate way to borrow from a trust account. Sometimes attorneys pay themselves trust account funds before they are supposed to, and it’s often an innocent mistake. In other situations attorneys accidently use funds that they would never acquire the right to use. Either approach opens the door for the lawyer to get into serious trouble. Read More...

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Rule Amendments Effective

Since ninety days have passed since submission without rejection by the General Assembly, the amendments contained in the referenced orders are effective immediately.

On January 28, 2016, the following orders were submitted to the General Assembly pursuant to Article V, § 4A of the South Carolina Constitution:
(1) An 
order amending Rule 267(d) of the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules and Rule 10(d) of the South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure.
(2) An 
order amending Rule 11 of the South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure.
(3) An 
order amending Rule 23 of the South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure.
(4) An 
order amending Rules 1, 4, 20, 23, and 24 of the South Carolina Court-Annexed Alternative Dispute Resolution Rules. 

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