Burnette honored with Barbara W Moxon Advocacy Award

M Malissa Burnette has received the Barbara W. Moxon Advocacy Award from Planned Parenthood Health Systems.

The award is named for Moxon, who advocated for women’s issues for five decades, beginning with her work as a Planned Parenthood volunteer in the 1960s. The honor goes annually to exceptional leaders in women’s health care, equality and reproductive justice.

“Malissa engages in our mission as a supporter and advocate who continues to lead through her contributions in the organization and throughout our region,” said Will Bigger, Planned Parenthood’s associate director of development. “She has served as clinic defender, legal representative of patients, and consistent donor to our vital mission.”

In addition to her accomplishments as an attorney, Burnette has served the state in political and civic capacities. She was chief of staff to South Carolina’s first female lieutenant governor, Nancy Stevenson, and she chaired Gov. Jim Hodges’ Task Force on Domestic Violence. She’s a past president of the Columbia Chapter of the National Organization for Women, past president of the Columbia Community Relations Council, and currently serves on the SC Equality Board of Directors.

Professionally, Burnette has participated in landmark cases, including litigation that allowed women to attend The Citadel and a lawsuit that permitted girls to play contact sports in South Carolina.

“All of Malissa’s leadership for us is also indicated in her professional career as a champion for women’s rights and access in the legal system,” Bigger added. “As a respected attorney in the Southeast, her legal record of fighting for all of those who are systematically oppressed is exceptional.”

Burnette is a certified specialist in labor and employment law as well as a certified federal court mediator. Her practice also includes domestic relations.

She’s co-author and editor of all four editions of Labor and Employment Law for South Carolina Lawyers, and she’s presented more than 50 continuing legal education programs.

Burnette holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of South Carolina and is a graduate of the University of South Carolina School of Law.