South Carolina Super Lawyers cover story profiles Burnette

COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA – M. Malissa Burnette is profiled in the cover story of the latest edition of South Carolina Super Lawyers magazine.

Burnette was honored in 2015 Super Lawyers in the practice area of employment law litigation, marking the eighth straight year she’s been included in the publication.

The cover story, headlined “Undaunted,” highlights her work in the past year, including her work in South Carolina’s marriage equality cases such as Condon v Haley. In that case, she and Burnette Shutt & McDaniel colleague Nekki Shutt represented a Charleston County couple in a civil lawsuit that sought to force South Carolina’s governor and attorney general to allow same-sex marriage. In November, a federal judge struck down the ban. The U.S. Supreme Court quickly denied the state’s request for a stay, and same-sex marriage became legal in South Carolina.

Two of Burnette’s big cases last year came together when, on Dec. 20, she officiated during Latta Police Chief Crystal Moore’s wedding. Burnette had represented Moore during a months-long ordeal after the mayor of the small South Carolina town suddenly fired the veteran law officer. It became quickly obvious that the sole reason for the dismissal was because Moore is lesbian. The discrimination case drew national attention.

Burnette has been a Certified Specialist in Employment and Labor Law since 1993, one of the first attorneys in the state to earn that certification. Her practice today includes complex employment cases such as sex discrimination, wrongful termination, academic tenure and more.

The Super Lawyers story also chronicles Burnette’s long history of fighting for social justice, beginning when she stood up to the Ku Klux Klan as a teenage waitress at a North Carolina truck stop. She also represented clients in federal litigation that allowed women to attend The Citadel and in landmark South Carolina cases that allowed girls to play contact sports.