John S.  Wilkerson

John S. Wilkerson

  • 843-576-2801

John is a senior trial lawyer, having served as lead trial counsel in over 200 jury trials.

Business disputes and insurance coverage/bad faith matters constitute the majority of his current case load, but he also regularly represents attorneys and other professionals in defense of malpractice claims. He also maintains an active and rapidly growing mediation practice. Expert witness consulting in the areas of insurance claim handling and bad faith is also part of his practice.

A Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, John holds himself to the highest standards of advocacy and professionalism. Seeking efficient solutions to legal disputes is a quality he has honed with his years of practice in many areas of litigation. Experience as a mediator gives him a perspective and focus to find creative ways to resolve differences whenever possible, and his courtroom experience enables him to present a strong case when a negotiated solution is not obtainable. John has always been an active participant in local (County Bar President), state (President, SC Defense Trial Attorneys Association) and national professional organizations (Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel) which provides many resources and the most up to date analysis of current legal issues.

John is supported by a bright and creative team of professionals and he is adept at scaling up or down as the needs of a particular engagement demand. Excellence through the eyes of each individual client is the guiding principle of his practice. Every client’s unique view of outcome and processes forms the basis of the action plan for each engagement.  Timely reporting and analysis are always important.

  • Achieved mediated settlement of first party insurance and bad faith suit involving fire loss. We were able to implement a strategy that resulted in settlement of the claim for less than 15 percent of the original amount of the claim through focused written discovery and early mediation before any depositions had to be taken.  
  • Obtained $3.5 million defamation verdict on behalf of commercial client.
  • Obtained favorable outcome in trial of a breach of insurance contract/bad faith lawsuit with over $5 million at risk.
  • Part of a litigation team that obtained a favorable mediated settlement of a race discrimination class action representing a Fortune 500 company.
  • Obtained favorable settlement of shareholder litigation involving a former shareholder of a large closely held corporation.
  • Obtained summary judgment (affirmed on appeal) on behalf of property and casualty insurer over excess underinsured motorist coverage.
  • University of South Carolina, J.D., 1979
  • Furman University, B.A., 1976
  • South Carolina Supreme Court, 1979
  • United States District Court for the District of South Carolina, 1979
  • United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, 1980
  • United States Tax Court, 1986
  • American Bar Association (1979-2012)
    • Litigation Section
    • Standing Committee on Lawyer’s Professional Liability
  • American Board of Trial Advocates, Advocate
  • American College of Coverage Counsel, Fellow
  • American College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow
  • Charleston County Bar Association
  • Defense Research Institute
    • Exceptional Performance Citation, 1999
    • State Representative (2004-2007)
    • Insurance Law Committee
    • ADR Committee
    • Commercial Litigation Committee
    • Professional Liability Committee (Membership Chair 2002-2005, FDCC Liaison 2011)
  • Federal Bar Association
  • Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel
    • Extra Contractual Section (Vice Chair 2013-2017)
    • Commercial Litigation Section
    • Professional Liability Section (Vice Chair 2008-2011, Chair 2011-2013)
    • Admissions Committee (2004-2016) (Vice Chair 2008-2016)
  • Florence County Bar Association (1984-2000) President (1997)
  • Litigation Counsel of America, Fellow (2010-2013)
  • South Carolina Bar
  • Joint Commission on Alternative Dispute Resolution (1998-1999)
  • ADR Pilot Project Committee Co-Chair (1996-1997)
  • South Carolina Defense Trial Attorneys Association President (1998-1999)
  • Martindale Hubbell – AV Rating; Preeminent 5.0 out of 5.
  • Law Dragon– Leading Lawyers in America – National Finalist (2010)
  • Benchmark Litigation – South Carolina Litigation Star – Commercial Litigation, Employment Litigation, Insurance, and Products Liability (2010-2021)
  • South Carolina Super Lawyers– General Litigation (2008-2012), Insurance Coverage (2008-2020) and Professional Liability Defense (2008-2012)
  • Best Lawyers in America– Prof. Malpractice Law (2009-2024), Lawyer of the Year (2016 and 2021)
  • Chambers & Partners, USA – Litigation, General Commercial (2012-2023)
  • Robert W. Hemphill Award, SCDTAA (2018)


  • Insurer’s Claims for Legal Malpractice Against Defense Counsel Hired for their Insureds, John S. Wilkerson, III and Jeffrey T. Stover, FDCC Quarterly, Volume 61, Number 3 (Spring  2011).  
  • Civil Trial Manual, South Carolina Bar, Chapter on Motion Practice, John S. Wilkerson, III and David S. Cobb (1997).
  • Student Project, Attorney Advertising: Bates’ Impact on Regulation, 29 S.C. L. Rev. 457 (1978).

Presentations & Speaking Engagements

  • Coverage and Bad Faith – Review of Recent Decisions (Panelist), Professional Liability Attorneys Network, Yankee Stadium, June 18, 2015.
  • Motions Practice, South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center, Columbia, South Carolina, August 15, 2014.
  • Cyber Liability (Panelist), 2013 SE RIMS Conference; Charleston, South Carolina; September 12, 2013.
  • Lessons from the Legends (Panelist), Professional Liability Attorneys Network, Atlanta, Georgia, April, 30, 2013.
  • Game On! The Players and Carriers versus the NFL (Panelist), Winter Meeting, Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel, San Antonio, Texas, March 5, 2013.
  • Trial Superstars™ (Faculty/Presenter),South Carolina Defense Trial Attorneys Association, Charleston, South Carolina, April 13, 2012.

Turner Padget Insights




Chambers &
Partners, USA
Litigation: General Commercial

Best Lawyers
In America
Prof. Malpractice
Law 2009-2024

Commercial Litigation