Cory E. Manning

January 25, 2010 

His job: Partner, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough

Age: 39

Family: Wife, Tina Cundari

Education: Bachelor's degree in political science from University of Northern Iowa; law degree from University of Iowa

Community/professional involvement: Chair of development committee, S.C. Philharmonic; chair of sponsorship committee, Richland Sertoma Club; member of committee reviewing the S.C. Business Court, S.C. Bar; member of legal committee, S.C. Coalition for Healthy Families; member of subcommittee on business courts, American Bar Association; fundraising work, American Red Cross, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Lymphoma and Leukemia Society of America, United Way and Planned Parenthood

His story: Manning wrestled at Northern Iowa before heading for a career in law. He worked at the Ness Motley law firm in Charleston, representing state attorneys general suing the tobacco industry, and spent a year clerking for Judge Robert Parker of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Texas.

He moved to Palo Alto, Calif., to work at a firm on securities litigation before moving back to South Carolina in 2005 where he would get involved in creating a state business court. He researched the court meant to resolve business disputes and drafted a 30-page report for S.C. Chief Justice Jean Toal. With the S.C. Philharmonic, he leads fund-raising efforts, which are on pace to meet annual goals despite the recession.

What saying does he live by? "He not busy being born is busy dying" - from "It's Alright Ma," by Bob Dylan

His life changed when ... His high-school wrestling coach taught him the value of positive thinking. "He based his philosophy on two simple themes: believing in (if not celebrating) yourself and acting or thinking in a manner that moved you closer to a goal, be it a state wrestling championship or a balanced life."

How did he recover after failing at something? "During my years on the wrestling mat, I frequently experienced loss and failure. I reacted to these losses in the following manner: I tried to recognize that failure is a necessary part of growth; I worked to understand the reason or reasons for a failure; and I worked to address the reasons for the failure in an attempt to make sure they did not result in future failures."

He's known as a mentor inside the firm. What does he think makes a good mentor? "A good mentor is a good listener. A mentor needs to understand the precise type of guidance sought by a potential mentee. Generally, helpful advice addresses a specific issue. ... Advice such as 'work hard, play fair, and keep your head down' certainly has its place, but it is not likely to be helpful to an individual that has taken the time to seek advice from a mentor."

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