Earlier this month, South Carolina Appleseed held its third annual Advocate of the Year reception, honoring I.S. Leevy Johnson. The award is given annually to a member of the South Carolina legal community who exemplifies the Center's role as a voice for low–income children and families.
Johnson is a founding partner of Johnson, Toal, and Battiste, where he practices personal injury and bankruptcy law. His distinguished career as a trial lawyer, legislator, bar leader, business owner and lecturer has enabled him to advocate for equal access to justice for all South Carolinians.
In 1970, Johnson became the first African-American since Reconstruction to be elected to the general assembly. He served with distinction in the South Carolina House of Representatives for nine years, working to fulfill the constitutional promise of equal protection under the law. He also served as the first African–American president of the South Carolina Bar. In 1999, Johnson received the Order of the Palmetto, the state's highest civilian award, from Gov. Jim Hodges. He has also received awards from the South Carolina Bar Foundation, University of South Carolina School of Law, the Richland Bar Association and the Columbia Lawyers Association.