Wes Kissinger truly understands both sides of the aisle. Before joining the firm in 2003, Wes spent several years defending premises liability and personal injury lawsuits on behalf of insurance companies. This experience makes Wes an effective advocate for the individuals and families he now represents. For the past three years Wes' peers have named him one of South Carolina's Super Lawyers in the personal injury practice area, a designation earned by just five percent of the state's attorneys.
Prior to joining Harrison White in 2003, attorney Wes A. Kissinger already had developed a relationship of sorts with the firm. After getting his J.D. from Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham, Ala. in 1997, he practiced in a Greenville insurance-defense firm and on a number of occasions he and the attorneys from Harrison White faced each other as opposing counsel.
What developed from that adversarial relationship was a mutual admiration that resulted in Harrison White asking Kissinger if he’d like to join the firm and develop an entirely different kind of practice representing plaintiffs instead of corporations. He made the move and has been providing sound counsel and zealous advocacy for injured individuals ever since. His prior experience defending claims and lawsuits on behalf of insurance companies has proved invaluable; giving him the tools to effectively advocate on behalf of his clients.
His practice focuses on personal injury, products liability, wrongful death, and nursing-home abuse and neglect and he’s achieved numerous significant recoveries, including seven-figure settlements.
Kissinger admits that he loves the competitive aspects of being a civil litigator. But more than anything, he says, his greatest enjoyment as a lawyer comes from the people he represents.
“I like helping real people navigate a process they’re not familiar with and helping them through a very difficult time in their lives,” he says. “Until they’re in a situation when they need our services, people oftentimes don’t really have a sense of how much their lives can be affected by an event they did nothing to cause. I want to ease that burden.”
In similar fashion, Kissinger strives to carry this kind of human touch into the courtroom when he is trying cases. “I do my best not to speak like a lawyer,” he says. “When I’m speaking to a jury, I speak to them like an ordinary person; I try to make difficult concepts very easy to understand by using plain language. Trial is the art of persuasion. It is hard to persuade someone if he or she doesn't understand what you’re talking about.”
In addition to his busy practice, Kissinger oftentimes assists other lawyers by giving Continuing Legal Education presentations. Topics of his talks have included “Obtaining the Best Settlements for Personal Injury Clients,” and “Ethical Considerations and Malpractice Prevention.”
He devotes nearly all of his spare time to his family and church, sharing with his wife and five children an enjoyment of camping and water sports. Kissinger also serves on the Board of Directors for Greer Christian Learning Center.
Why did you become an attorney?
I wanted a career where every day would be something new and I could make a difference for others, and I figured becoming a lawyer would allow me those opportunities. Fortunately I was right!
What do you like most about the law?
Law, in its purest form, is consistent and applies equally to all. But it’s not that simple in application. It is the lawyer, on behalf of his client, that makes sure the law is applied justly. It is the lawyer that evens the playing field. It is why the American judicial system, in spite of its flaws, is the greatest in the world. A person of little or no financial means has access to the same judicial system that decides controversies involving multimillion-dollar corporations.
What are your favorite things about your job?
Over twenty years of practice I have had cases involving airplanes, amusement park rides, brain surgeons, rodeo horses, roofing projects, boundary disputes, ambulances, cranes, race car drivers, trains, trucks and prison…the list goes on. I have loved learning about all of those things. Every case I have is an opportunity to learn something else, especially something about my client.
Of all the firms in the Carolinas, why should someone come to Harrison White?
Simple: we know what we’re doing and we do it the right way.
What do people not know about you?
I’ve worked continuously since I was 15 with the exception of my first year in law school (the law school wouldn’t let us). And it is true that having to work for something makes you appreciate it more.
South Carolina, 1997
U.S. District Court District of South Carolina, 1998
U.S. Court of Appeals 4th Circuit, 2002
University of South Florida, 1993 – B.A.
Cumberland School of Law, Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama, 1997 – J.D.
South Carolina Association for Justice – Member
Spartanburg County Bar Association
American Bar Association
Federal Bar Association – Member
American Association for Justice – Member
Martindale Hubbell – AV® Rated
South Carolina Bar House of Delegates – 7th Circuit Representative
South Carolina Bar – Member
Phi Delta Phi
Continuing Legal Education Presentations
Obtaining the Best Settlement for Personal Injury Clients: Know Where to Start; Settling Personal Injury Claims with Ethical
Advanced Discovery and Evidence: Ethical Considerations and Malpractice Prevention, November 2007
Integrity, January 2009
Areas of Practice
Nursing Home Abuse and Negligence