Articles and Speeches
Future American Bar Association President
Honored as Pee Dee 'Favorite Son'
June 25, 2014
Reprinted with permission from Florence Morning News
Florence native William C. Hubbard will become president of the American Bar Association this August, achieving one of the highest honors in the legal field. The Pee Dee legal community came together Thursday night to celebrate his achievements.
"This one celebration means as much to me as anything possibly could," Hubbard said. "Seeing all these friends and the people who are mentors and helped guide me along the way and seeing some family members here and I certainly am grateful to Judge Lockemy and others for organizing this."
Hubbard is the first South Carolinian to ever hold the position in the 136 year history of the American Bar Association. Florence Mayor Stephen J. Wukela announced that April 17, 2014 would be William C. Hubbard Day and declared him the favorite son of Pee Dee. Hubbard also received a key to the city.
“This one celebration means as much to me as anything possibly could,” Hubbard said. “Seeing all these friends and the people who are mentors and helped guide me along the way and seeing some family members here and I certainly am grateful to Judge Lockemy and others for organizing this.”
Growing up in Florence, the son of the late Mason H. Hubbard, Jr. and Bernice Coleman Hubbard, who owned Hubbard’s Cleaners, Hubbard said that the education he got inside the classroom as well as from mentors like Dr. Eddie Floyd and countless others helped form the foundation for his success.
“There’s no doubt the foundation was laid her for anything I’ve done nationally. I had great teachers, Sunday school teachers and public school teachers, who really gave me a solid background in grammar and punctuation and how to read and analyze and think and write. Grew up in the First Baptist Church. Worked summers chopping cotton at Clemson
Extension. Helped build the Wal-Mart. All of those things really shape who you are.”
In 1970 Hubbard graduated from McClenaghan High School — where he was class president and voted best all around for senior superlatives — and went on to attend the University of South Carolina where he earned his undergraduate degree and his juris doctor. Hubbard currently practices business litigation at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough in Columbia where he lives with his wife Kappy Hubbard. He has held many leadership positions in the ABA, including chair of the ABA House of Delegates and president of the American Bar Foundation, chairs the board of the World Justice Project, is a member of the Council of the American Law Institute, and has served as a trustee for the University of South Carolina since 1986.
Hubbard has also been honored with countless awards, including the Order of the Palmetto in 2002, the highest civilian honor in South Carolina.
Florence attorneys Flo Vinson and Julie Moose, along with Dillon SC Court of Appeals Judge James Lockemy, organized the reception where Hubbard received the proclamation and city key, with financial support from the ACA, the Florence Bar Association and the Dillon Bar Association.
Lockemy said it takes so many years of being a respected attorney, involved in many different leadership roles to ascend to the presidency of ACA, which is a large honor and responsibility.
“Then when you find out that that person who will be the first South Carolinian ever is also from the Pee Dee, we really need to really celebrate that we have a Pee Dee native who will lead a nearly half-million person organization. He’ll be going all over the world representing the rule of law.”
Hubbard said that being the first to serve from his home state even adds a little bit of pressure to an already busy, important role.
“As we move around the country there is still somewhat of a bias against southerners and you start talking with your southern accent and you maybe have to work a little harder to make sure you say something substantive that elevates and inspires people,” he said.
This year, as president elect, Hubbard has been busy planning and learning the many intricacies of the organization, which includes more than 400,000 members and has a staff of 900. In August when he assumes the role of president, which is a full time job, he will become the national and international face of the American legal community and will be called upon to weigh in on many issues and help guide and improve the state of law.
According to his ACA biography online Hubbard plans to spend his term focusing on “legal education reform, access to justice for the poor, disparities in incarceration, diversity in the legal profession, independence of the judiciary, the judicial confirmation process, helping young lawyers succeed, and developing a blueprint to help lawyers and judges adapt to technology and globalization.”