Two Butler Snow Atto ...

Two Butler Snow Attorneys Named 2023 Legal Elite Winners, South Carolina

August 2, 2023 | by Butler Snow

Kenny Gardner and Melissa Spence

Butler Snow LLP attorneys Kenyatta L. (Kenny) Gardner and Melissa Fried Spence have been named 2023 Legal Elite Winners of South Carolina for their exceptional work within the state. This honor is peer-nominated, and the final winners represent individuals who are considered the best of the best in the field. Kenny Gardner is recognized for Business Litigation and Insurance. Melissa Spence is recognized for Employment – Defendant and Labor Litigation. The 2023 Legal Elite Winner list will be featured in the Columbia Business Monthly, Greenville Business Magazine and Charleston Business Magazine.

“This is a well-deserved honor for both Melissa and Kenny,” said Christopher R. Maddux, chair of Butler Snow. “Their selection is a testament to their commitment, professionalism and dedication to excellence in the legal profession.”

Gardner is a member of the firm’s Tort, Transportation and Specialized Litigation group, where he’s known to be a zealous advocate for his clients from pre-suit advising through the appellate process. He conducts and manages litigation in State and Federal Courts from filing through the appeals process, counseling clients on statutory and common law rights and defenses and litigation strategy, and advocating for clients in motions practice, trial, mediations, and alternative dispute resolutions.

From 2022-2023, Gardner was recognized by Best Lawyers in America® in “Ones to Watch” for Commercial Litigation, Insurance Law, Litigation – Construction, and Transportation Law. He was named a 2022 Legal Elite Winner by the Charleston Business Magazine and previously received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Charleston. Gardner was also previously named one of State Farm’s Inaugural Rising Stars Academy Members in 2019.

Gardner is a member of the Dean Selection Committee for the Charleston School of Law and the James L. Petigru American Inn of Court. He is a graduate of Leadership Charleston, the South Carolina Leadership Academy, and the Riley Institute Diversity Leadership Initiative. He is admitted to the South Carolina Bar and the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina. Gardner earned his bachelor’s degree from the College of Charleston and his Juris Doctor from the Charleston School of Law.

Spence is a member of Butler Snow’s Labor and Employment group, where she regularly counsels clients on compliance issues and represents employers before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission, the U.S. Department of Labor, and in both state and federal court against lawsuits arising under Title VII, ADA, ADEA, FMLA, and the FLSA. She has extensive experience building proactive strategies that help clients avoid protracted legal disputes involving various labor and employment matters. 

Best Lawyers in America® has recognized Spence in “Ones to Watch” for her exemplary work in Labor and Employment Law – Management (2021 – 2023) and the Litigation category for Labor and Employment earlier this year. She was previously recognized by South Carolina Super Lawyers® as a Rising Star in Employment Litigation and honored for her commitment to the Charleston community with inclusion in the Charleston Regional Business Journal ‘Forty under 40’ list in 2020. She is also a graduate of the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce Leadership Charleston Class of 2019.

In her spare time, Spence currently serves as Membership Vice President of the Palmetto Society for Human Resource Management, Vice Chair of the South Carolina Bar Association’s  Employment and Labor Section, and she is a member of the Charleston Legal Access Board of Directors. Additionally, Spence is a member of the International Association of Defense Counsel, South Carolina Women Lawyers Association, and Charleston County Bar Association. Spence holds a bachelor’s degree from Wofford College and earned her Juris Doctorate, cum laude, from Charleston School of Law.