Monday, February 18, 2013
Chris Murphy has worn the hat of public servant in Dorchester County for more than a decade but some of his best work in that role may still be ahead of him.
“I enjoy serving the people of this county,” he said. “It’s a passion. It is a huge time commitment and investment but at the end of the day when someone calls you and you are able to help them with a problem it’s rewarding.”
After graduating from The Citadel with a BA degree in 1990 the Summerville native decided to pursue law school and that pursuit took him west. In 1995, he received his Doctorate of Jurisprudence Degree from Mississippi College School of Law. After a short stay in Columbia, he and his wife, Maite, moved to Summerville to raise a family.
He took a job with the First Judicial Circuit where he served as Senior Assistant Solicitor under Solicitor Walter M. Bailey, Jr. While there, he was appointed as a Special Assistant United States Attorney assigned to a Multi-County Violent Crime and Drug Task Force and prosecuted serious felony case.
He obtained hundreds of convictions for offenses including Murder, Assault and Battery with the Intent to Kill, Criminal Sexual Conduct, Armed Robbery and Drug Trafficking.
“It was satisfying to put evil people behind bars and I enjoyed helping the victims,” Murphy said.
He left the solicitor’s office to open his own practice, Murphy Law Firm, L.L.C. He has practiced what he refers to as “small-town law” every since.
“I love being an attorney because it allows you to help people and develop a working knowledge of a broad range of things such as law enforcement, science, prosecution, and engineering. I don’t really have time to do the high-profile cases. I have a variety of clients with a variety of problems and I do a little bit of everything.”
In 2003 he was elected to the Dorchester County Council. He became the Chairman and served on council until Nov. 8, 2010 when he was elected to the SC House of Representative.
He was originally assigned to the agriculture committee, but this year he moved to the judiciary committee and is one of five members of the criminal law subcommittee. Now that he has some legislative experience under his belt, he believes he can truly make a difference for his constituents.
“You have to gain institutional knowledge up there,” he said. “When you’re one of seven county councilmen, it’s easy to get something done but when you are one of 124 legislators it’s harder. But now I’m going to be able to concentrate on what I know, which is criminal law. I’ve worked as a prosecutor and I’ve defended clients so I know both sides and I think I can help our committee get a lot done.”
Sometimes being a legislator means putting in 12 to 14 hour days four times a week but Murphy hasn’t let that stop him from taking on numerous charitable endeavors.
He is a member of the Summerville Rotary Club, Coastal Community Foundation and Citadel Brigadier Foundation.
He is active in the Summerville Rotary Club and a sustaining member of the Coastal Community Foundation-Dorchester County Fund. He is a founding member of the Summerville Miracle League and has served as President of the Summerville Citadel Club.
Murphy is also an avid volunteer for children’s athletic teams who has served as coach and sponsor for YMCA, Parks Field and Sertoma Youth Football teams throughout the years.
“Being a politician opens a lot of avenues for you to network and meet people you might not have met otherwise and you can use that to give back to the community,” he said. “What I love and do a lot of is coaching and sponsoring little league teams. Every since my boys have been old enough to play football and baseball I have tried to sponsor their teams and help coach. It is rewarding to help these little fellows learn a sport and hopefully come to love that sport.”
His efforts have not gone unnoticed. Murphy is the recipient of the 2012 SC Chamber of Commerce Business Advocate Award, 2012 BIPEC Champion of Free Enterprise Award and 2012 Peas and Carrots Legislative Award by the Citizens for Sound Conservation.
On top of everything else, he is a beloved boss.
“Over the past 14 years, Chris has become my mentor and friend,” said Pennie Folden, one of the people who nominated Murphy for Men to Watch. “I truly look up to him for guidance and know he will always steer me right. He is one of the kindest people I know. Even with his demanding schedule of running a private law practice and as a member of the General Assembly, he continues to put his family first. He is a true public servant in all aspects of his life and I’m extremely proud to work with him.”