Terry E. Richardson Jr. is one of the pre-eminent plaintiff attorneys in the southeastern United States.
While many other lawyers operate within a single practice area, Richardson is a consummate litigator who represents individuals, governments and businesses on a wide range of legal matters. His intellectual curiosity has led to much success in his legal career on cases ranging from catastrophic personal injury to products liability, securities fraud and class actions.
From agrarian roots in Barnwell, South Carolina, he built one of the most sophisticated and respected law firms in the region.
As a child, Richardson helped his father grow and harvest crops on the family farm. That hard work and exposure to operating a business, led him to Clemson University, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in management and operations research.
He was a systems engineer for IBM before being directly commissioned into the United States Army during Vietnam to work on computerized logistical systems in Virginia and Thailand. He returned to civilian life and took a job at Wilbur Smith & Associates in Connecticut, where he assisted governments with revenue financing bonds for airports and toll roads.
Richardson entered the University of South Carolina School of Law in the fall of 1971. He was editor-in-chief of the South Carolina Law Review from 1973-74.
Richardson went to work for Blatt & Fales after law school, becoming just the fifth attorney at the firm. He was blessed to work with famed South Carolina attorney and politician Sol Blatt Sr. for 12 years. In the 1970s, Richardson and the firm pioneered asbestos product liability litigation, and the firm pursued thousands of cases throughout the country.
Following the addition of retired S.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Julius B. Ness in 1988, the firm changed names to Ness, Motley, Loadholt, Richardson & Poole. Richardson managed the firm during a period of dramatic expansion. By the early 2000s, it had grown to employ 75 attorneys and hundreds of support staff throughout the country. After the firm achieved the landmark Tobacco Master Settlement, four of the six shareholders left to create Richardson, Patrick, Westbrook & Brickman.
Richardson has served his state and the legal profession by holding leadership positions on many endeavors, including chairman of the board of directors of the Nature Conservancy. He has won numerous accolades, including the Compleat Lawyer Award from the University of South Carolina School Law School Alumni Council and Advocate of the Year from the S.C. Appleseed Legal Justice Center. His peers recently named him one of the Top 10 attorneys in South Carolina in the 2016 edition of Super Lawyers.
Richardson has been married to his wife, Gail, for more than 46 years. They still live in the Barnwell home they bought at the beginning of Terry’s legal career. The couple enjoys spending time at Edisto Beach with their three children and nine grandchildren. Terry also enjoys ski trips with his friends.