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John A. Sowards



It is hard to say exactly when, but at some point during his nearly four decade long legal career, John Sowards’ career shifted. He went from being the kind of lawyer who handles complex, high-worth transactions masterfully, to the kind of lawyer who executives want at the decision table.

Today, John is a most-trusted advisor to some of the state’s largest and most successful businesses and organizations. Among his most important clients are Stern Development, a 70 year-old real estate development firm led by William H. Stern and his sons, Nephron Pharmaceuticals, one of the nation’s most prominent generic drug manufacturers led by Lou Wood Kennedy and William P. Kennedy, and KW Beverage, one of the nation’s largest closely held Anheuser-Busch distributors led by James F. Kirkham and Rodney G. Williams. Those clients are among the most savvy operations in the Palmetto State and the leadership of each demands legal counsel that matches their level of sophistication.



University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D., cum laude,1982

University of Tennessee, B.A., magna cum laude, 1975

Bar Admissions

South Carolina

Civic & Professional Memberships

● Lexington-Richland School District Five - Outstanding High School Mentor (2003)
● Columbia Urban League - Outstanding Board Member Award (2004)
● Saluda Shoals Foundation
● Irmo Chapin Recreation Commission, Commissioner (2004-2019)
● Public Employee Benefit Authority, Trustee (2012-present)


● 2019 Order of the Palmetto
● Martindale-Hubbell “AV” Preeminent Peer Review Rated
● “Legal Elite of the Midlands” - Banking and Finance, 2012
● Listed in Best Lawyers in America for Banking and Finance Law and Financial Services Regulation Law, Since 2010
● Eagle Scout

John’s passion for the law is matched by his passion for his community and family. He served as a Cub Scout and Boy Scout leader for more than 12 years. He estimates that he spent 250 nights camping with the Scouts and led two crews to Philmont Scout Ranch located in New Mexico. He also coached many different ages of youth baseball for more than 14 years. On many of his teams, and for a number of years, he did not have his own children on his roster. He was extensively involved in Irmo High School’s Baseball, Football and Wrestling Programs and served as President of the IHS Yellow Jacket Club for 2 years.

John grew up in Texas and has been married to his high school sweetheart, Elizabeth, for nearly 50 years and has two married sons. With five grandchildren from those marriages, Elizabeth and John are blessed with lots of play opportunities.

Before attending law school, John was commissioned as a U.S. Army Second Lieutenant and served four years on active duty and ten more years in the active U.S. Army Reserve.

John Sowards' main bio photoJohn Sowards outside NP photo

“If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard... is what makes it great!” - Manager Jimmy Dugan, “League of Their Own”

“If all they write on my tombstone is ‘Here lies a great lawyer’, I will consider my life a failure.” - John Sowards