Johnson, Toal & Battiste, P.A.
Luther J. Battiste, III is a founding shareholder
of Johnson, Toal & Battiste, P.A., and the past National President of the
American Board of Trial Advocates 2020. He received his B.A. from the University
of South Carolina (1971) and JD from Emory University School of Law
In 1983, Luther entered the political arena
and made history by becoming one of the first two African-Americans elected to
Columbia City Council since Reconstruction. He served fifteen years as a member
of the Columbia City Council including two terms as Mayor Pro Tempore. In 1998,
the City of Columbia dedicated to Luther J. Battiste, III the Monument and
Plaza in honor of his dedicated service as a public servant.
Luther has been repeatedly selected for
inclusion in The Best Lawyers of America, and Super Lawyers and also has been
awarded the “AV” highest rating for ethics and legal ability by the
Martindale-Hubbell national rating service. He is a member of the American
Board of Trial Advocates and the International Society of Barristers.
Membership is by invitation only.
Luther has served as president of the Columbia
Lawyers Association, the Richland County Bar, Association, the South Carolina
Trial Lawyers Association, and The Southeastern Region of the American Board of
Trial Advocates (SEABOTA).
He is also a member of the John Belton O’Neil Inn of Court,
Southern Trial Lawyers Association, American Association for Justice, the
National Bar Association, the South Carolina Association for Justice, International
Society of Barristers, and the Injured Workers Advocates.
He served two terms as Commissioner of the
Richland-Lexington Airport Commission which operates the Columbia Airport and as
Chairman for two years. In 1999, Luther Battiste received the coveted
Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of South
Carolina. In 1999, he was selected to the
South Carolina Black Hall Fame and for inclusion in the Bell South African
American Calendar for 2004. In 2007, the Richland County Bar Association
awarded him the John W. Williams Award, its highest honor. In 2008, he was
selected by Historic Columbia Foundation as one of the 30 Most Significant
African-Americans in Richland County. In 2022,
he was selected for membership in the Warren E. Burger Society of the
National Center for State Courts. Luther was 2020 national president of the
American Board of Trial Advocates. He was the first African American president
of ABOTA, an invitation only organization of over 7,600 of the best plaintiff
and defense trial lawyers in the United States.
His previous community service includes
serving as President of the Board of the Columbia Museum of Art, Chairman of
the Board of Governors of the Capital City Club and as Chair of University
Associates, a group of business professional and community leaders who support
the University of South Carolina. He also served for 15 years on the board of
South State Bank and on the board of Columbia College. Luther is married to Judy M. Battiste, and
they have two children, Justin and Jade.
He is a lay minister and chalice bearer at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.