If you ever find yourself in need of a criminal defense attorney, you may ask yourself, “What qualifications should my attorney have to properly represent me?” “Should I look for someone that has held a law degree for a long period of time?” “Should I consider an attorney that has good Google ratings or an attorney that a friend has told me about?” Knowing there are so many attorneys to pick from in the tri-county area can lead to frustration in finding just the right fit for you and your case. However, if you are looking for an attorney who is uniquely qualified due to his experience from every possible angle of criminal law, look no further than Paul Thurmond.
Prosecutor, Defense Lawyer, Lawmaker, Professor, and Judge. Mr. Thurmond has held all of these positions. We challenge you to find another lawyer in South Carolina with these credentials. You will not find anyone throughout the state of South Carolina with that type of background who can explain the law, who understands the angles, and who is ready to fight for you. This is his story…
Paul Thurmond was born in Greenwood, S.C., the youngest son of Senator Strom Thurmond and Nancy Moore Thurmond. A native of Aiken, South Carolina, Paul Thurmond graduated from Aiken High School and earned an athletic scholarship to Vanderbilt University. While at Vanderbilt, Thurmond was a four-year letterman on the tennis team, achieving national ranking and serving as team captain his senior year. Every year eligible, Thurmond also received Academic All-SEC honors.
Upon graduation from Vanderbilt, Thurmond worked in Washington, D.C. for Republican Senator Fred Thompson on the Governmental Affairs Committee, the watchdog group for all federal government programs. Upon returning to South Carolina, Thurmond worked on the House Judiciary Committee under Chairman Jim Harrison and was appointed head law clerk.
Thurmond received his law degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law and was elected Chairman of the Honor Council by his peers while in law school. Upon graduation, Thurmond worked for three years as an Assistant Solicitor in Charleston County, prosecuting violent gun crimes. During that time, he handled more than 1,300 criminal indictments, ranging from minor infractions to murder. Mr. Thurmond has successfully handled numerous trials, leaving the Solicitor’s Office with a 92 percent conviction rate.
In August of 2005, Mr. Thurmond joined long-time friends Jesse Kirchner and Michael Timbes in forming the law firm of Thurmond Kirchner & Timbes, P.A, located in the historic district of downtown Charleston.
From 2005 to 2006, he served as an adjunct professor at the College of Charleston, where he taught Mock Trial.
Mr. Thurmond, who handles both criminal and civil matters, leads the firm’s criminal defense practice and has successfully defended large drug crime cases, federal white-collar crime cases, and murder cases, in addition to numerous other criminal offenses.
In November 2006, Mr. Thurmond was elected to serve on Charleston County Council by nearly 60 percent of the vote. He was elected Vice-Chairman in 2009. In this position, he represented approximately 35,000 constituents in Charleston County.
In December of 2010, Mr. Thurmond accepted the job as a part-time prosecutor for the City of North Charleston, predominantly handling DUI cases. This work gave him the unique opportunity to review hundreds of DUI cases, along with continuing to hone his trial skills. During his time as a municipal prosecutor, Mr. Thurmond tried numerous cases and disposed of nearly 800 DUI cases. Mr. Thurmond also assisted the City of North Charleston Police Department as an instructor for DUI arrest procedures.
After running the most competitive race for State Senate in South Carolina, Mr. Thurmond was elected as a State Senator representing District 41 in November 2012. He represented over 100,000 constituents covering both Charleston and parts of Dorchester County. He held this office until November 2016, when he decided to focus exclusively on his law practice and family and chose not to seek re-election.
The Town of Mount Pleasant Council unanimously appointed Mr. Thurmond to serve a two-year term as a Judge for the Municipal Court of Mount Pleasant and he assumed office on January 1, 2019. He was subsequently reappointed in December 2020.
He and his wife, Katie England Thurmond, of Walhalla, South Carolina, live in Mount Pleasant, SC, and have three sons and two daughters. The Thurmond family are members of East Cooper Baptist Church. Mr. Thurmond is also active in other areas of the community. He serves on the Aviation Authority for Charleston County, is a member of the board of Turning Leaf, a non-profit that assists with those recently released from prison, and is a board member of the Roper St. Francis Innovation Board.
Awards and Recognition
- 2016 Compleat Lawyer Award
- 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 South Carolina Super Lawyers
- 2015 Top 100 Trial Attorney
- 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 Super Lawyers “Rising Stars”
- 2009 Forty Under Forty by the Charleston Business Journal
Professional Associations and Memberships
Civic and Community Involvement
- 2006: Thurmond was elected to Charleston County Council
- While on County Council, he was chairman of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee, served on CARTA, the Council of Governments, the Charleston County Aviation Authority, and the Magistrates Oversight Committee.
- 2012: Thurmond survived the ballot fiasco to win convincingly the South Carolina Senate District 41 seat.
- While in the Senate he served on Judiciary, Education, Fish, Game and Forestry, Criminology and Penology, and the Rules Committees.
- Member of East Cooper Baptist Church
- Youth Soccer Coach in Mount Pleasant
- Riley Institute Diversity Fellow