J. Calhoun Watson

Managing Member

(803) 231-7839


Cal is a litigator with experience in complex business and insurance disputes, class actions, and professional liability and ethics.

During his 30 years of practice, Cal has represented individuals, local and national businesses, partnerships, insurance companies, and financial institutions.

  • Represented lawyers, law firms, and legal professionals in legal malpractice suits arising from real estate, probate, business, family law, litigation, and corporate matters.
  • Represented lawyers before the Office of Disciplinary Counsel for a wide variety of alleged violations of South Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct.
  • Represented officers and directors of a failed company in claims of breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, and self-dealing.
  • Pursued and defended breach of contract claims in wide variety of pre-litigation and litigated contexts.
  • Represented numerous defendants in wide variety of claims alleging violations of the South Carolina Unfair Trade Practices Act.
  • Represented a variety of defendants in claims alleging conspiracy, fraud, and breach of contract accompanied by fraudulent act.
  • Represented insurance administrator in a class action for claims of breach of contract, fraud in the inducement, and violations of the South Carolina Unfair Trade Practices Act.
  • Represented financial services company in a class action alleging violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”).
  • Represented numerous business owners in variety of litigated dispute with other owners.
  • Represented real estate agents, brokers, and appraisers in disputes involving the sale of real estate.
  • Represented multiple manufacturers in a variety of construction and warranty disputes.
  • Represented large company in federal RICO claim.
  • Represented franchisees in claims of negligence and negligent supervision.
  • Pursued and defended indemnity claims in a variety of litigated contexts.

  • Senior Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America (2014-present)
  • South Carolina Lawyer’s Weekly “Go To Lawyer” for Business Law in South Carolina (2021)
  • South Carolina Lawyer’s Weekly Leadership in Law Awards Lawyer of the Year (2015)
  • Columbia Business Monthly Legal Elite of the Midlands
    • Professional Liability (2023)
  • Best Lawyers in America
    • Bet-the-Company Litigation (2010-2024)
    • Lawyer of the Year (2016, 2022, 2024)
    • Commercial Litigation (2008-2024)
    • Professional Malpractice Law, Defendants (2008-2024)
  • South Carolina “Super Lawyer”
    • Professional Liability Defense (2010-2012)
    • Business Litigation (2008-2020, 2023)
  • Chambers U.S.A. America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (2009-2020)
  • Litigation Special Report Top Rated Lawyer in Commercial Litigation
  • Historic Columbia Innovative Leadership Award
  • USC Law School Alumni Association Compleat Lawyer Award Silver Medallion

  • Presenter, “Current Ethics Challenges and Best Practices Featuring Law Firm Managing Partners and General Counsel,” IADC Midyear Meeting (February 2024)
  • Presenter, “Navigating Protection of Attorney-Client and Work Product Privileges in Uncertain Times,” IADC Annual Meeting (July 11, 2023)
  • Speaker, “Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail: Addressing Conflicts of Interest Before They Arise” (June 14, 2023)
  • Panelist, “Managing Emerging Malpractice Risk in the Future Firm” IADC Annual Meeting (July 10, 2022)
  • Presenter, “Better Safe than Sorry! Tips to Prevent Conflict of Interest Violations” (May 18, 2022)
  • Presenter, “Calibrating Your Ethical Compass: Navigating Conflicts of Interest” (April 21, 2021)
  • Panelist, “Scaling the Summit: Fiscal Strategy & Business Growth at Midsize Firms,” virtual roundtable of the Annual Law Firm COO & CFO Forum by Thompson Reuters’ Legal Executive Institute (October 30, 2020)
  • Presenter, “10 Hot Topics on Conflicts of Interest” (April 22, 2020)
  • Panelist, “You Are What You Think So What’s On Your Mind? Tackling Implicit Bias Through Self Assessment,” South Carolina Bar Convention (January 25, 2020)
  • Panelist, “Implicit Bias,” SC Judicial Conference’s Staff Attorney and Law Clerk Seminar (September 2019)
  • Presenter, “10 Hot Topics in Conflicts of Interest” (April 10, 2019)
  • Presenter, “Legal Ethics: 10 Hot Topics in Conflicts of Interest and Best Practice Tips” (July 25, 2018)
  • Presenter, “Professional Liability in the Age of Social Media,”  Meritas Litigation/Labor & Employment Group Meeting (October 17, 2017)
  • Panelist, “Law Firm of the Future,”  Meritas Annual Meeting (April 21, 2017)
  • Co-Author, The Law of Legal Malpractice in South Carolina, First and Second Editions, South Carolina Bar CLE Division
  • Presenter, “Spotlight on Conflicts of Interest” (May 18, 2017)
  • Presenter, “Spotlight on Conflicts of Interest” (August 11, 2015)

  • Judicial Clerk, The Honorable Robert F. Chapman, Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

  • American Bar Association
  • Richland County Bar Association
  • South Carolina Bar
    • President (2014-2015)
    • Board of Governors (1998-2000, 2009-2016)
    • House of Delegates (1997-present)
    • Conventions Committee (2003-2008)
    • Nominating Committee (2001-2004)
    • Long Range Planning Committee (2000-2001)
    • President, Young Lawyers Division (1997-1998)
    • Member, Long Range Planning Committee, Young Lawyers Division (1995-1996)
  • South Carolina Bar Foundation
    • President (2006-2007)
    • Member, Board of Directors (2000-2008)
  • International Association of Defense Counsel
    • Chair, In House and Law Firm Management Committee (2021-2023)
    • Chair, Professional Liability Roundtable (2018-2019)
    • Chair, Professional Liability Committee (2016-2018)
    • Chair, Technology Committee (2010-2012)
    • Chair, Website Task Force
  • National Conference of Bar Presidents (2014-present)
    • Member, Communications Committee (2014)
  • John Belton O’Neall Inn of Court
    • President (2010-2011)
  • Fellow, American Bar Foundation (2014-present)
  • Litigation Counsel of America
    • Barrister, Order of Centurions
    • Advocate, Order of Certus
    • Member, Trial Law Institute
    • Member, Diversity Law Institute
  • South Carolina Defense Trial Attorneys’ Association (1996-present)
  • Defense Research Institute (1996-present)
  • Southern Conference of Bar Presidents (2014-present)
  • Claims & Litigation Management Alliance
  • Access to Justice Commission (2006-2012)
  • South Carolina Lawyer Magazine
    • Member, Editorial Board (2000-2007)
  • Supreme Court of South Carolina Certified Mediator
  • Historic Columbia Foundation
    • President (2007-2009)
    • Historic Columbia Advisory Council (2009-Present)
  • Wofford College National Alumni Association
    • President (2000)

Bar Admissions
  • South Carolina Bar
Court Admissions
  • All South Carolina courts
  • U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D., cum laude (1987)
    • Order of the Coif
    • Student Works Editor of the South Carolina Law Review
    • Legal Writing Instructor (1986-1987)
  • Wofford College, B.A., summa cum laude (1984)
    • Phi Beta Kappa
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