Costa M. Pleicones

Special Counsel  |  Columbia

Meet Costa

Costa Pleicones, former Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court, advises Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd clients on complex litigation and appellate matters. He is a Certified Circuit Court Arbitrator and Mediator and his experiences as a successful practitioner, trial judge and appellate jurist allow him to provide skillful and effective dispute resolution services.

Upon graduation from law school, Costa began a 30-year active duty and reserve service military career in the United States Army, serving as a Captain in the United States Army Judge Advocate General’s Corp for four years and as Colonel in the United States Army Reserve for 26 years. He also served as Commander of the 12th Legal Services Organization and was the Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer for South Carolina, First United States Army.

Following his active duty service, Costa began practicing law as a public defender for Richland County. He entered private practice in 1975 and served as a part-time municipal judge for the City of Columbia and as County Attorney for Richland County. In 1991, Costa was elected Resident Circuit Court Judge for the Fifth Judicial Circuit and was then elected as an Associate Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court in 2000. He was elected Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court on May 27, 2015 and served until December 2016.

  • University of South Carolina, J.D., 1968
  • Wofford College, A.B., 1965
  • South Carolina, 1968
  • U.S. District Court, South Carolina, 1968
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, 1969
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1977
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, 1990
Honors and Awards
  • Best Lawyers® 2024 Appellate Practice "Lawyer of the Year" Columbia
  • The Best Lawyers in America© Appellate Practice (2021-2024)
  • Columbia Business Monthly "Legal Elite of the Midlands Top Vote Getter" Mediation 2023
  • Columbia Business Monthly “Legal Elite of the Midlands” Mediation (2022-2023)
  • Wofford College, Charles H. Gray '72 Distinguished Service Award 2019
  • Francis Marion University, Honorary Doctor of Humanities and Commencement Speaker Fall 2018
  • Richland County Bar John W. Williams Distinguished Service Award 2017
  • Charleston School of Law, Honorary Doctor of Laws and Commencement Speaker 2016
  • University of South Carolina, Honorary Doctor of Laws and Commencement Speaker 2005
  • Wofford College, Honorary Doctor of Laws 2002
  • Matthew J. Perry, Jr. Civility Award, Richland County Bar 2011
  • Legion of Merit, United States Armed Forces
  • Palmetto Patriot Award, South Carolina Army National Guard
  • Permanent Member, Judicial Conference, U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals
Professional and Civic Activities
  • Wofford College Board of Trustees (2013-present), Secretary (2019-present)
  • South Carolina Bar
  • Richland County Bar
  • USAID Mission to Azerbaijan to instruct judgeship candidates on judicial ethics (2006)
Presentations and Publications
  • Wofford College, Commencement Speaker Spring 2024
  • Frequent lecturer and/or participant in an extensive number of CLE and JCLE programs for more than 40 years
  • Led USDOJ Delegation to the Justice Academy of Turkey (Ankara and Instanbul) for presentation of American guilty plea procedures (2013)