I know I express the views of every member of the Bar lucky enough to have known professionally Thomas E. McCutchen when I say that he was a lawyer with the skill, probity and toughness that come along only once in a generation.
His obituary recounts his victory in South Carolina’s boundary dispute with Georgia heard in the U.S. Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction. As a young lawyer in Attorney General Dan McLeod’s office at the time, I knew the state had hired the already-legendary Mr. McCutchen to represent it. What no one could have anticipated, however, was that on many a summer Sunday afternoon, with no air conditioning in the Wade Hampton State office building, Mr. McCutchen would be there, shirtsleeves rolled up, working alongside the junior lawyers, oblivious to the conditions and intent on preparing every detail of the case.
Like many fellow members of the Bar, I often witnessed his exquisite legal arguments, his encyclopedic memory of the facts and his unerring cross examinations. Those performances remain as impressive and bright as they were when they occurred, some of them decades ago. Although he endured more personal tragedy than is fair by any measure, his professional zeal did not flag.
Everyone who knew Mr. McCutchen learned from him, and that is a matchless legacy.
U.S. Circuit Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson
The State publishes a cross section of the letters we receive from South Carolinians in order to provide a forum for our community and also to allow our community to get a good look at itself, for good or bad. The letters represent the views of the letter writers, not necessarily of The State.