Richard A Harpootlian
Columbia, South Carolina
phone (803) 252-4848
(866) 706-3997 (Toll Free)
fax (803) 252-4810
email Email Me
Richard "Dick" Harpootlian is a legendary courtroom lawyer who has flourished as a prosecutor, defense attorney, and trial lawyer. He is well-known in the legal community as a skillful and dynamic trial lawyer with effective powers of persuasion.
Mr. Harpootlian has had a long and distinguished career trying cases in South Carolina for over three decades. He began his career as a prosecutor in the Fifth Circuit Solicitor's Office, one of the largest judicial circuits in the State. Within just two years, he was named Deputy Solicitor, assuming responsibility for the administration and supervision for over 20 attorneys and all staff members. He was the Chief Homicide Prosecutor for the Solicitor's Office, and personally prosecuted hundreds of murder cases, including twelve death penalty cases, one of which he argued before the United States Supreme Court.
Over the years, Mr. Harpootlian has taken on cases not universally popular, but he has consistently represented his clients with the same level of zealous commitment. In 1983, Mr. Harpootlian confirmed his reputation as a fearless courtroom lawyer when he helped convince a jury to put notorious serial killer Donald "Pee Wee" Gaskins, the largest mass murderer in the history of the state, to death. Mr. Harpootlian also obtained a conviction against ex-University of South Carolina President Jim Holderman of using his office for personal gain. Mr. Harpootlian also was one of the key lawyers for the video gaming industry.
In 1990, Mr. Harpootlian was elected Fifth Circuit Solicitor (by an almost 2 to 1 majority), where he served from 1991 until 1995. As solicitor, he personally prosecuted and obtained convictions in a number of high profile murder, drug, and public corruption cases, including the driver who struck and killed United States Senator Strom Thurmond's daughter.
Mr. Harpootlian has had a successful private practice for over 20 years, during which time he has been recognized for his multi-million dollar verdicts in National Lawyer's Weekly and South Carolina Lawyer's Weekly publications, as well as other legal publications. You may view a list of some of our successes and press coverage of those cases at this link.
In addition to practicing law, Mr. Harpootlian was elected to Richland County Council, which has over 300,000 residents, from 1986 to 1991. Mr. Harpootlian served as Chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party from 1998 to 2003. During that time, he orchestrated the Party's successful election bids of United States Senator Fritz Hollings, Congressman Jim Clyburn, and Governor James Hodges first in the history of South Carolina to unseat an incumbent Governor in his bid for re-election as well as four other Democrats to state-wide office.
Mr. Harpootlian regularly appears as both a guest and legal commentator on national news programs, including 60 minutes with Dan Rather; 60 Minutes with Leslie Stahl; ABC Good Morning America and Nightly News; NBC Nightly News; Dateline NBC; and various CNN, MSNBC, CNBC and Fox News broadcasts. He also is frequently quoted in national publications such as TIME Magazine, the NY Times, the Boston Globe, and the Los Angeles Times.
For many years, Mr. Harpootlian has regularly lectured for the South Carolina Bar Association on various topics, including class action litigation and criminal defense. For over 20 years, he has lectured at the Bridge the Gap Program the mandatory 3-day legal education seminar new lawyers must complete before they can practice law in South Carolina.
Mr. Harpootlian is the past Chairman of the Criminal Law Section of the South Carolina Bar Association and a past member of the South Carolina Bar Board of Grievance and Discipline. He has served on the South Carolina Chief Justice's Blue Ribbon Committee on Docketing and he is a former Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of South Carolina School of Law.
We offer free consultations with Mr. Harpootlian to our prospective clients. If you would like to speak with Mr. Harpootlian about your case, contact us at 866.706.3997 (toll-free), or 803.252.4848 (local). You may also contact us by fax 803.252.4810; or by e-mail. We return all messages, including after-hour messages, promptly. Weekend appointments are available.
Areas of Practice:
Civil and Criminal Trials and Litigation
Business and Commercial Litigation
South Carolina, 1974
U.S. District Court District of South Carolina, 1982
U.S. Court of Appeals 4th Circuit, 1985
U.S. Supreme Court, 1993
University of South Carolina School of Law, Columbia, South Carolina, 1974