Burnette marks 25 years as a specialist

Malissa Burnette, one of the founding partners of Burnette Shutt & McDaniel, has marked 25 years as a South Carolina Supreme Court Certified Specialist in Employment and Labor Law.

The achievement puts her in select company among lawyers in South Carolina. Of certified specialists in employment law, less than 20 have held the credential for at least 25 years, according the South Carolina Supreme Court Commission on CLE and Specialization.

The state recognizes only four legal specialties and sets strict standards attorneys must meet in order to call themselves specialists. Less than a quarter of the hundreds of members of the South Carolina Bar Employment and Labor Law Section are certified specialists. Firm co-founder Nekki Shutt is among them.

Requirements to earn certification

South Carolina began certifying employment law specialists in 1987. In order to achieve specialist status, an attorney must have practiced for at least five years and get references from five other lawyers. References from two federal judges, administrative law judges, hearing officers, arbitrators or mediators also are required.

Employment law specialists must prove that at least 40 percent of their practice is devoted to employment law. They must demonstrate substantial experience in at least two areas. The options include labor-management relations, collective bargaining, employee rights and employment discrimination.

Additionally, lawyers must pass an examination to earn certification. They also must complete at least 60 hours in approved employment-related continuing legal education classes every 5 years to maintain their credentials.

Burnette first earned certification in 1993. Her practice at Burnette Shutt & McDaniel includes a broad range of employment law cases, including sexual harassment, discrimination, breach of contract and wage claims. Burnette also represents clients in cases involving civil and constitutional rights. Additionally, she practices family law and personal injury law. She’s a certified federal mediator and experienced arbitrator as well. She is a 1977 graduate of the USC School of Law.