Jean Hoefer Toal was elected to the Supreme Court of South Carolina in 1988 as associate justice, and has been the Chief Justice of the court since March 2000.
Prior to her election, Chief Justice Toal practiced law for 20 years, first as an associate with the Haynsworth Law Firm in Greenville, and then as an associate and partner with Belser Baker Barwick Ravenel Toal & Bender in Columbia.
She made frequent appearances in all levels of trial and appellate courts in South Carolina, and made one appearance as co-counsel before the U.S. Supreme Court. She also had considerable experience as a litigator in the U.S. District Court, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
Beginning in 1975, Chief Justice Toal served in the South Carolina House of Representatives representing Richland County for 13 years. She was Chair of the House Rules Committee and Chair of the Constitutional Laws Sub-Committee of the House Judiciary Committee.
During her 25 years on the Supreme Court, she has written opinions addressing a wide range of criminal and civil issues. She also co-authored a book, Appellate Practice in South Carolina, with two of her law clerks.
Chief Justice Toal is also an advocate for her state’s judicial automation project, and led technology initiatives to integrate into the eight levels of the South Carolina court system.
EDUCATION: Agnes Scott College, B.A.; University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D.