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1720 Main St, #301 | Columbia, South Carolina 29201-2850
CONTACT US AT 800-701-0599


Jack B. Swerling is an active Columbia criminal attorney, litigator, writer, and lecturer. He focuses his legal practice on criminal cases in state and federal courts and a select group of civil cases. Mr. Swerling has been a member of the South Carolina Bar and licensed to practice by the Supreme Court of South Carolina since 1973.

In recognition of his work, he has been honored by election to several prestigious organizations that only invite attorneys into their ranks who have been subjected to a rigorous investigation of the lawyer’s experience, demonstrated skill, and character.

Mr. Swerling is one of only 70, South Carolina lawyers who are Fellows in the American College of Trial Lawyers, which is limited to the top five percent of trial lawyers in the United States. He is one of only five lawyers in South Carolina in the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, one of only three lawyers in South Carolina in the American Board of Criminal Lawyers and one of only five South Carolina Lawyers in the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. The International Academy is limited to 600 lawyers worldwide.

Mr. Swerling lectures frequently at continuing legal education programs for lawyers and judges, and speaks at schools, civic organizations, and professional groups. He has written several books on criminal practice. (For additional information on Mr. Swerling’s publications click here.)

Previous Work

Prior to establishing his current law firm in 1991, Jack Swerling was a partner in the law firm of Swerling, Harpootlian and McCulloch. Prior to that he practiced law for ten years with his former partner and mentor, the late State Senator Isadore Lourie.

Teaching, Presentations & Seminars

Throughout his years of practice as a Columbia criminal attorney, Jack Swerling has made more than 250 presentations in the areas of criminal practice and criminal law.

  • Bridge The Gap is a program developed by the Supreme Court of South Carolina and the South Carolina Bar in the early 1980’s. It was the first of its kind in the nation. The program is mandatory for every lawyer prior to admission to the Bar. The program lasts 3 days and is held twice each year. Over the course of the three days, the new lawyers are exposed to 25-30 experienced judges and lawyers who speak to them about various aspects of practicing law. Jack Swerling has participated in the program since its inception and speaks on criminal law. Since the early 1990s, he has been honored to be the coordinator and moderator of the entire program.
  • For 25 years Jack Swerling has been honored to coordinate, moderate, and speak at the South Carolina Bar’s Annual Criminal Law Update. The full-day legal education program is held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the South Carolina Bar and is the largest continuing legal education program put on by the Bar. This is also a mandatory judicial continuing legal education seminar. Each year Mr. Swerling also invites a nationally known lawyer to be the keynote speaker. Among his guests have been F. Lee Bailey, Barry Scheck, David Rudolph, Joel Hirschhorn, Mark Geragos, and in 2008, Joe Chesire and Wade Smith, the lawyers who defended the Duke LaCrosse players. At the 2010 meeting of the Bar at Kiawah Island, Mr. Swerling was recognized by the Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court for his 25 years of service to the Bench and Bar.
  • Several times each year Mr. Swerling participates in other continuing legal education programs for the South Carolina Bar, speaking on either criminal law, procedure, or technique.
  • Jack Swerling has spoken at continuing legal education programs for the South Carolina Solicitors Association, South Carolina Public Defender Association and the Federal Public Defender Office.
  • Mr. Swerling has spoken to various classes at the University of South Carolina School of Law and was a member of the Adjunct Faculty from 1985 to 1989.
  • Since 1987, Mr. Swerling has served on the Adjunct Faculty at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Department of Neuropsychiatry. Each year he helps conduct a mock trial and delivers a lecture to the staff.
  • Mr. Swerling has made presentations at classes designed for Assistant United States Attorneys by the National College of District Attorneys at the National Advocacy Center located in Columbia, South Carolina.
  • He has made seminar presentations on criminal law and practice at conferences of United States Postal Inspectors and Criminal Investigators for the Internal Revenue Service as well as the Bureau of National Affairs seminars held in Vail, Colorado and Washington, DC.
  • On several occasions, Mr. Swerling has been honored to address the South Carolina Judicial Conference on the subject of criminal law.
  • Mr. Swerling is frequently asked to address various classes at the USC School of Law.
  • Jack Swerling has been an annual speaker on criminal trial practice to Leadership Columbia, a group selected from the Columbia business community for their future leadership potential.
  • Mr. Swerling makes regular presentations about criminal practice for civic organizations and various other non-legal groups.
  • Jack Swerling was honored to be the commencement speaker at the University of South Carolina School of Law in December 2003.


  • Author, “The Right to Free Speech Versus the Right to a Fair Trial – Balancing Competing Interests,” 42 S.C.L.R. 901 (1991)
  • Author, “I Can’t Believe I Asked That Question:  A Look at Cross-Examination Techniques,” 50 S.C.L.R. 3 (1999)
  • “The Preliminary Hearing as a Discovery Device,” Fall, 1982, The South Carolina Trial Lawyers Association Bulletin
  • Inside Drug Law, “Handling the Preliminary Hearing in Drug Cases,” Volume 1, Number 5, December, 1984
  • South Carolina Lawyer, “Jury Charges for Self-Defense in Homicide Cases,” September/October, 1989
  • South Carolina Lawyer, “Defending the Battered Woman,” December, 1990
  • South Carolina Trial Notebook, Volumes I, II and III (S.C. Bar 1991)
  • “On Being A Trial Lawyer,” South Carolina Lawyer 1999 and The Champion 2000
  • Contributing author: South Carolina Criminal Trial Techniques Handbook, South Carolina Bar, 1998
  • Co-author My Little Rules Book – Criminal, Annotated Second Edition, South Carolina Bar 2004

Click here to view Mr. Swerling’s Publications



Contact Jack B. Swerling Criminal Lawyer Columbia, South Carolina Today

Columbia criminal defense attorney Jack Swerling has a reputation for vigorously defending the rights of the accused.  He believes that no matter what the crime or who the accused, every person should be afforded the best legal representation possible. If you are facing criminal charges or learn you are the subject of a criminal investigation, you may call our law firm at 800-701-0599. Our answering service will direct you to Mr. Swerling. You may also e-mail Jack Swerling at [email protected]. E-mails are checked regularly.

Bar & Court Admissions
  • South Carolina, 1973
  • U.S. District Court, District of South Carolina, 1974
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, 1976
  • U.S. Supreme Court 1976
Professional Association Memberships & Activities
  • Chief Justice's Commission on the Profession
  • South Carolina Supreme Court Docketing Task Force
  • Richland County Bar Association (Chairman, Criminal Law Committee, 1989-1991)
  • American Bar Association (Member, Section of Criminal Justice)
  • South Carolina Bar (Chairman, Criminal Law Section, 1985-1986)
  • American Association for Justice
  • South Carolina Trial Lawyers Association (Chairman, Criminal Law Section, 1981-1984)
  • South Carolina Bar Foundation (Life Fellow and Past President)
  • Permanent Member of the Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference
  • South Carolina Criminal Trial Lawyers Association (a founding member)
  • The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • American Judicature Society
  • John Belton O'Neil Inn of Court
  • South Carolina Supreme Court Board of Commissioners on Grievance and Discipline 1989-1993
  • South Carolina Supreme Court's Rules Committee
  • South Carolina Board of Law Examiners, 1987-1992
  • South Carolina Pre-Trial Intervention Advisory Committee, 1980-1982
  • South Carolina Legislative Committee on Indigent Defense, 1990-1995
  • South Carolina Uniform Jury Charge Project, 1991-1994
  • Chairman, South Carolina Criminal Docket Committee
  • Advisory Committee, The Child Victim Court Notebook, 1987
  • South Carolina Victim Advisory Board
Faculty Positions
  • University of South Carolina School of Law, Adjunct Faculty, 1985-1989
  • University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Department of Neuropsychiatry, Adjunct Faculty, 1990 - present
  • National Institute of Trial Advocacy, April 21-23, 2010