Firm: Nelson Mullins
Area of practice: Family law, appellate practice and legal strategies, litigation
Education: University of South Carolina School of Law
Community involvement: Jefferson Awards Foundation ChangeMakers class of 2018, A Child’s Haven board of directors, YMCA Camp Greenville board of advisers, South Carolina Historical Society board of managers, youth basketball coach, University of South Carolina board of visitors
Reid Sherard is an advocate for children who are affected by events out of their control — in his professional life as a family law attorney at Nelson Mullins and in his volunteer work on the board of A Child’s Haven, a nonprofit organization that treats children with developmental delays as a result of limited resources, abuse, or neglect.
Sherard, who was named to the Jefferson Awards Foundation’s 2018 class of ChangeMakers, is in his third year on A Child’s Haven board’s executive committee. He served as president for one year.
“My skill set is well-suited for working on children’s issues,” Sherard said. “For me, it’s very personal. I’ve been so blessed to be raised by loving parents, being given the opportunity to educate myself, and for a job that I enjoy that allows me to support my family. I’m grateful for what I have, but I also realize that a statistically meaningful part of it was luck to whom I was born and where I was born.”
How did you get involved with A Child’s Haven? Was it a result of your work in family law?
My involvement did not stem from that. Frankly, I was asked. I was aware of the organization, and Nelson Mullins has a long history with A Child’s Haven. Secretary [of Education Dick] Riley is a very well-known advocate for education and the less fortunate. We’ve had several lawyers over the years serve as board members, and I was prepared and willing to serve. Certainly, my skill set as a family lawyer brought a unique perspective to the organization. I am certainly cognizant there are situations where children slip through the cracks, and that is something I work very hard both in my profession and through A Child’s Haven to eliminate.
You have been appointed receiver for serial killer Todd Kohlhepp’s assets. You wrote in a newspaper column that you think if he had received services like those that A Child’s Haven offers that his life may have turned out differently. How?
I think that if he had received some of the services A Child’s Haven offers, the outcome may have been different. In my opinion, the need for A Child’s Haven services is non-negotiable and increasing every day. I can recall being in Columbia and hearing a fair bit of political debate about taxes and funding public schools. It is now my belief that by waiting until a child is in the first grade and is 7 years old, we’ve missed it by years in terms of seeking early intervention and getting these children some assistance at the first warning sign to give them the best chance for success in life. Certainly, we all benefit from that, even if people don’t think there is an emotional reason or religious reason. Anybody who’s a taxpayer benefits from all citizens being well-adjusted, able to provide for themselves, and contribute to the good of society. It’s never too early. A Child’s Haven is well-suited in past, present, and future to be at the leading edge of that fight.
Why do you think the need is growing?
In my personal opinion, and this is counterintuitive to somebody who represents people who are ending their marriages, a marriage is the building block for raising of children. It doesn’t mean you cannot raise children and not be married. But I have two young children. My wife is also a lawyer, and we’re blessed to have jobs, educations, and our health. It is really hard to raise children, no way around it. If you do not have your health, if you don’t have resources, if you don’t have an education and you’re on your own trying to do that, how can we possibly be surprised that it didn’t go very well statistically? It doesn’t mean that any individual child can’t be a superstar. That doesn’t mean there can’t be people who beat the odds. But the protections inside of a marriage from a legal perspective and a practical perspective, in my opinion, makes it statistically more likely that a child is going to be able to meet the benchmarks they need to meet. I plainly recognize that is not the case, that will never be the case, for everybody. That’s why I’m proud to be involved in an organization like A Child’s Haven that says, “OK, if Plan A didn’t work, we’ll be Plan B and do the best we can to get Plan A back on track.”