The DuRant Distinguished Public Service Award has a 33-year history of honoring legal giants in our state. The deadline for nominations for the 2014 DuRant Distinguished Public Service Award is November 6. The nomination form, as well as more information on the award, is available online.
Join us in taking a look back at last year’s honoree, Mark W. Buyck. This article is re-posted from our Winter 2014 Foundation Brief.
Attorneys from across the state stood and applauded as Mark W. Buyck Jr. made his way to the podium to accept the 2013 DuRant Distinguished Public Service Award at the SC Bar Convention plenary luncheon in January. This annual recognition is the most prestigious statewide award members of the SC Bar can bestow on a fellow attorney.
Foundation President Bev Carroll presented the award to Mark, heralding his leadership and expertise in the profession to benefit others. “Since 1980, this award has been given to a lawyer that has committed their life to outstanding service not only in the law, but also in their community,” she said. “Mark is a pillar in the legal community and we are so pleased to be just one of the many organizations that have honored him.”
Meet Mark Buyck
An attorney at Willcox Buyck & Williams, PA, in Florence, Mark received his AB in journalism and mass communications from the University of South Carolina (USC) and earned his Juris Doctor at the USC School of Law. He has received honorary degrees from USC and Francis Marion University. He was sworn in as the US Attorney for South Carolina in 1975, a moment in his career he fondly recalls. “I was surrounded by a large number of family and friends, which made the day very special for me,” he said.
During his time in office, Mark faced many challenges. What was his most difficult challenge as US Attorney? “Judge Martin,” he laughed. “Seriously, when docks were inappropriately placed in navigable waters, I had to write the owners, some of whom I knew quite well, advising that the inappropriate docks had to be removed and failure to do so would result in a fine of $10,000 per day. You can imagine how quickly that got a response,” he said.
Mark has held top roles in a multitude of legal related organizations including president of the SC Defense Trial Attorneys’ Association (SCDTAA), chair of the National College of District Attorneys Committee of the American College of Trial Lawyers and director on the SC Bar Foundation board. He was a member of the Federation of Insurance and Corporate Counsel and the National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel. He credits his drive to be involved to his grammar school days, where he first witnessed the results of positive community involvement. Mark describes public service as “giving back to your community and profession in a selfless way for the betterment of your community and profession.”
Mark’s work in the community has received both statewide and national recognition. He was honored twice with the state’s highest award – the Order of the Palmetto. “I felt extremely honored to be awarded the Order of the Palmetto by Governor Edwards and later by Governor Beasley, who I had known since his college days growing up here in the Pee Dee,” Mark explained. He also received the Judge Hemphill Award from the SCDTAA, was named Compleat Lawyer of the Year by the USC School of Law and was honored with the Ralph King Anderson Award by the Florence County Bar. When he was presented with this award, Judge Anderson himself called Mark the “quintessential icon” of what it means to be a lawyer. In addition to these awards from within the state, Mark is listed in all published editions
of Best Lawyers in America.
Mark currently serves as a member of the USC board of trustees, Carolinas Hospital System board of trustees and the American Board of Trial Advocates national board of directors. He continues to serve as president and founder of the Florence Heritage Foundation and director of the Bank of Clarendon.
It has been said of Mark that “he has a long career of involvement with efforts to improve the quality of life and standard of living in Florence. His work has had an impact that Florence residents can see every day.”
While many people may know Mark for his work in law, they may not know that Mark was a star football player in high school. “When I was a senior, I was named the outstanding player on my team and received offers to go to several small in-state colleges; however, I always wanted to go to Carolina,” he said. When Mark isn’t working, he can be found either on Pawley’s Island or following the USC Gamecocks.
Mark thanked his colleagues for this nomination, describing them as “mighty good friends.” His advice to young lawyers: “I was once told the following: ‘Work makes the dull bright, the bright brilliant, the brilliant steady.’ If you work hard and are prepared for your files and cases, you will be successful.”