Compleat Lawyer Award: USC honors Motley Rice co-founder Joe Rice

The University of South Carolina (USC) School of Law Alumni Association has named litigator Joe Rice a 2011 recipient of its prestigious platinum Compleat Lawyer Award.

The Compleat Lawyer Awards recognize exceptional professional and civic accomplishments of USC School of Law alumni. The platinum level award honors individuals who have spent 30 or more years in the legal profession, demonstrating the highest standards of integrity, ethics and achievement both personally and professionally.

"For decades, I have watched Joe continually devote his time and talents towards bettering the lives of our nation's less fortunate, a consistent voice speaking up for the rights of those who have been silenced," said friend and Motley Rice co-founder Ron Motley. "He has been a faithful leader for our firm, profession and community, and he has done so with strength, integrity and an unwavering belief in the power of our civil justice system. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of such an esteemed award."

A 1979 graduate of the USC School of Law, Rice has been recognized by the plaintiffs' and defense bar as a skillful and innovative negotiator of complex litigation settlements. He began his legal career in asbestos, litigating one of the first mass personal injury class action cases won by asbestos plaintiffs, and has since structured some of the most significant resolutions of asbestos liabilities on behalf of victims injured by asbestos-related products. In the 1990s, Rice served as lead negotiator in the historic tobacco litigation Master Settlement Agreement, still the largest civil settlement in U.S. history. He continues to litigate on behalf of those suffering as a result of corporate negligence and wrongdoing, from cases involving asbestos exposure and 9/11 aviation and security liability to those involving securities fraud and the recent BP oil spill.

South Carolina Bar President and Founding Partner of Solomon Law Group, Carl Solomon stated, "Joe Rice is a pioneer in the development of modern law firms and the practice of law, both in South Carolina and nationally. When you couple that with his sincere caring for the people he represents, the community he serves and others in the profession, he is the epitome of what this award represents. I am honored to have worked with him as a lawyer and proud to call him a friend."

Rice serves as a frequent speaker at seminars around the country and has lectured on the art of negotiating at Duke University School of Law, the USC School of Law and the Charleston School of Law. Additionally, he serves as a founding member of the International Mesothelioma Program Leadership Council at Brigham and Women's Hospital/Harvard Medical School and is a supporter of numerous local charities, including the Dee Norton Lowcountry Children's Center, the Center for Birds of Prey, First Tee of Charleston and MUSC Children's Hospital.

Rice will be presented with the platinum Compleat Lawyer Award, along with other recipients Harry R. Easterling, Sr. and Thomas W. Traxler, on Thursday, April 14, 2011, in Columbia, S.C. For more information, visit