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Chas. County Bar Association Bestows Judge Richard E. Fields the Prestigious James Louis Petigru Award
9/25/2013 2:08:33 PM

Judge Richard Fields made a memorable speech at the Petigru Award reception. Photo: Maria Aselage

CHARLESTON, SC – The Charleston County Bar Association honored Judge Richard E. Fields last Thursday with the prestigious James Louis Petigru Award. Judge Fields received the award at a special ceremony at the Mills House Hotel in downtown Charleston. “I am humbled that 20 years after my retirement there are still members of the Bar who think that I added something to the courts of justice in their community,” said Judge Fields.

Judge Fields is a leader in the South Carolina community. He earned his business degree at West Virginia State College (now University) in 1944 and his law degree from Howard University in 1947. Two years after being admitted to the District of Columbia and South Carolina Bar Associations, he moved to Charleston where he was the first African American attorney to open a law office since the early 1900’s. During his legal career, Judge Fields served as Municipal Judge for the City of Charleston, a Family Court judge and a Circuit Court Judge.

He retired from the bench in 1992. Since then, Judge Fields has stayed active in the community. He works with the Center for Heirs Property, serves on several boards and is active in many agencies of the United Methodist Church. “Judge Fields is a man committed to the practice of law and of service to his community,” said Lad Howell, President of the Charleston County Bar Association. “The Charleston County Bar Association felt it was important to honor Judge Fields not only for his work as an attorney and a judge, but as a man of high integrity, honor, and compassion.”

The James Louis Petigru Award is the highest honor that is bestowed by the Charleston County Bar Association. It is not an annual award; it is only awarded at the discretion of a standing committee of the County Bar to formally recognize an individual who brings honor to the legal profession.

“Judge Fields embodies all the best qualities of a judge,” said Frank McCann, a member of the Petigru Award Committee for the Charleston County Bar Association. “He is patient, he listens, he is knowledgeable of the law and human nature, he is tolerant, and he is fair. Judge Fields is the model of the ‘wise judge’ and that wisdom is the result of character, experience, and a good heart.” Judge Fields is only the third to receive the James Louis Petigru award. The other two recipients are Coming Ball Gibbs, a prominent criminal defense attorney and Morris D. Rosen, founder of Rosen, Rosen & Hagood Law Firm.

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