Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP > Columbia, United States > Firm Profile

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP
United States

Dispute resolution > E-discovery Tier 1

The e-discovery group at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP is truly polymathic, able to offer ‘a seamless blend of traditional document review services with e-discovery legal counsel’. The group’s expertise spans all areas of e-discovery and information governance, including trade secrets, document preservation, data breaches and fraud. Active across numerous industry sectors, it is the firm’s work in the healthcare and life science field that stands out; Heyward Bonyata acts as discovery counsel to Eli Lilly in litigation proceedings relating to insulin pricing and medication side effects. Practice head John Martin is another key name, and uses his background as a litigator to aid clients in data collection in relation to court proceedings and government investigations. Though most of the team operate from Columbia, SC, the department also has a presence in Charlotte, NC through Rob Lindholm, who advises on white-collar and class action defence.

Practice head(s):

John Martin

Other key lawyers:

Heyward Bonyata; Julie Flaming; Lucie Cohen; Rob Lindholm


Efficient and timely experts on e-discovery matters.

‘Nelson Mullins’s e-discovery practice provides a seamless blend of traditional document review services with e-discovery legal counsel. Nelson Mullins leverages their extensive experience and technological resources to provide creative workflows and solutions to meet deadlines while also managing risk.’

‘The combination of the firm’s e-discovery advocacy, general litigation experience across the country, document collection, management, and review experience, in-house technological capabilities, and the firm’s resources that enable the practice to scale appropriately has served us well.’

‘The firm respects and advocates for our goals and standard practices rather than trying to change our goals and standard practices.’

‘Heyward Bonyata stands out amongst other attorneys as she practices law with a “client first”, mentality operating seamlessly with our standard processes and company culture.’

‘Heyward Bonyata’s positive and confident attitude is contagious among our team.’

‘Heyward Bonyata is a wonderful leader and teammate.’

Work highlights

  • Served as discovery counsel for Eli Lilly and Company in the In Re: Viagra and Cialis MDL Products Liability Litigation
  • Serving as discovery counsel for Eli Lilly and Company in response to several litigations relating to insulin pricing.
  • Representing Santee Cooper in responding to subpoenas from federal regulators, defending multiple civil litigations, and responding to federal third-party subpoenas.

Dispute resolution > Product liability, mass tort and class action - defense: toxic tort Tier 2

Product liability forms the backbone of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP‘s national litigation offering which continues to grow and was further enhanced by the arrival of a 22-partner team in January 2022 from Bowman and Brooke LLP, adding depth and even further geographical range including offices in several new locations. The team now has further strength in handling asbestos and talc-related mandates, as well as environmental toxic tort matters caused by chemical release and spill incidents. Michael Brown   in Baltimore is one of many first chair trial lawyers in the space and continues to represent Johnson & Johnson as lead trial counsel for the healthcare giant in its talc cases. Based out of South Carolina, Mark Jones  and David Dukes  co-head the team alongside Brown, with Dukes handling a significant amount of pharmaceuticals-related work as part of his broad product liability practice.

Key clients

Johnson & Johnson


American Optical

Arvin Meritor

Work highlights

  • Lead trial team for Johnson & Johnson in talc cases.
  • Ongoing representation of Honeywell on asbestos matters, including trials across the country.
  • National trial counsel to American Optical on product liability matters involving underground mine respirators.

Industry focus > Education Tier 2

Primarily based out of Washington DC, the practice at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP is now jointly managed by litigator Arthur Coleman  and Scott Palmer, and has a strong record acting in complex litigation and transactional matters. The group is well-versed in advising education boards and colleges on gender and sexual misconduct issues, including sexual harassment. Daniel Cohen in Atlanta is a key name, and has significant experience in gender issues, maintaining a busy pro-bono practice for student sexual assault survivors. Contacts in Atlanta also include Marquetta Bryan who litigates for schools on discrimination work. The firm’s affiliate consulting group EducationCounsel LLC remains active in policy for non-profit clients and academic institutions. Former co-head of the team Nina Gupta as well as Suzann Wilcox, both in Altanta, left the firm for Parker Poe in March 2022.

Practice head(s):

Arthur Coleman; Scott Palmer

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Fulton County School District

Atlanta Public Schools

Cobb County School District

Louisiana Board of Regents

Equable Institute

Education Trust

Societies Consortium on Sexual Harassment in STEMM

American Association for the Advancement of Science

National Association of State Approving Agencies (NASAA)

University of North Dakota

The College Board

Work highlights

  • Advised Fulton County Schools on a $1.2bn E-SPLOST (Educational Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) capital program, funded by a voter-approved referendum, and recently successfully renewed the program for another five-year term.
  • Advised Louisiana Board of Regents (LBOR) and colleges and universities on all aspects of Title IX sexual misconduct matters, including policies and procedures, sexual misconduct investigations and adjudication trainings.
  • Representing the school district in Jane Doe v. Fulton County School District which concerns a 13-year-old female student, (who is deaf and mute) suing the school district for $7m in damages for sexual harassment and discrimination under Title IX of the Education Amendment Act of 1972 and disability discrimination under Title 2 of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Dispute resolution > Product liability, mass tort and class action - defense: automotive/transport Tier 3

Combining deep sectoral knowledge of the transportation industry allied with strategic litigation credentials, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP is a popular choice for handling product liability and class actions throughout the country. Drawing upon the expertise of many practitioners with former in-house experience at major car companies, the team is particularly effective at representing automotive clients, including many OEMs. Exclusively focused on work in the automotive sector, Steven McKelvey  combines commercial and advisory prowess, alongside litigation smarts, ensuring that he is a trusted advisor to stakeholders, both in a non-contentious and contentious setting. Mike Brown and Phil Cosgrove, based out of Baltimore and Los Angeles, respectively, are both noted for their advocacy skills, which they regularly implement to good effect for automotive defendants in product liability disputes. The arrival in June 2021 of Washington DC-based Terri Reiskin  from Dykema Gossett PLLC was also a major boost to the firm, particularly in light of her product liability and class action expertise within the sector. In addition, the recent recruitment of a sizeable team of litigation partners from Bowman and Brooke LLP provides added weight to the practice, with many having a focus on automotive matters as a function of their broad product liability expertise.


One of their strengths is the depth of their talent. They have a diverse group of attorneys in many different specialties, and are always available.’

They exhibit creativity and passion in their defense of my cases, and bring a diverse collaborative team to every case they handle for me.’

They are client focused, work their hardest to get a “win” for my company, however that might be defined. Their candor towards me helps me do my job better.’

Key clients



Crown Equipment


General Electric

Work highlights

  • Representing Peterbilt in achieving a complete defense verdict in the first injury case for the client in nearly 20 years.
  • Representing Texton in multiple matters in multiple states.

Dispute resolution > Product liability, mass tort and class action - defense: pharmaceuticals and medical devices Tier 3

With an extensive team offering first chair trial experience, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP handles many simultaneous resource-intensive disputes, including as national and regional counsel. It is the firm’s trial-ready approach that is its strong suit, leading to early successes for client’s through dispositive motions including Daubert challenges, as well as trying cases, in many of the most challenging jurisdictions. Mark Jones and David Dukes co-head the products liability team from the firm’s Columbia headquarters, with Dukes particularly visible in the healthcare sector, including his work alongside West Virginia-based trial lawyer Marc Williams  for Johnson & Johnson in the opiate litigation. The team was further strengthened in early 2022 by the arrival of a large group of litigation lawyers from Bowman and Brooke LLP, including pharmaceutical product liability experts Rachelle Anderson and Alana Bassin, who are based in the firm’s new Minneapolis office.

Practice head(s):

Key clients

C.R. Bard

Johnson & Johnson

Smith & Nephew, Inc


GlaxoSmith Kline

Work highlights

  • Representing C. R. Bard, Inc. in its inferior vena cava litigation, and trying cases regarding the medical devices designed to prevent pulmonary emboli.
  • Representing Smith & Nephew, Inc in a bellwether case relating to its Birmingham Hip Resurfacing.
  • Representing Johnson & Johnson on Opioid matters in multiple states.

M&A/corporate and commercial > M&A: middle-market (sub-$500m) Tier 3

At Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP, the team demonstrates a capacity for both buy- and sell-side transactions, placing particular emphasis on banking, technology, automotive and healthcare-related deals. Gus Dixon  is one of South Carolina’s most experienced M&A lawyers, having been in practice since the 1980s; he co-leads the group alongside Atlanta-based duo Michael Hollingsworth  and Rhys Wilson , a specialist in tax-efficient deal structuring.

Practice head(s):

Gus Dixon; Michael Hollingsworth; Rhys Wilson

Other key lawyers:

Brian Galison; Billy Ching

Key clients






Red Hawk

Lykins Companies, Inc.


Work highlights

  • Advised on Pexco’s acquisition of rival Altaflo. Pexco is a North American specialty plastics extruder while Altaflo produces high-performance fluoropolymer and fluoroplastic extrusions for the aerospace, pharmaceutical, chemical, energy, and electronics industries.
  • Assisted Al Chem Specialties and CalChem in respect of their acquisition by a portfolio company of the leading Miami-based private equity investor, H.I.G Capital.  
  • Represented Municode, the largest codifier of legal documents for local governments in the United States and a nationally recognized provider of agenda and meeting management and municipal website design solutions, in its sale of membership interests to CivicPlus, LLC, the nation’s leader in civic experience technology.

Transport > Rail and road - litigation and regulation Tier 3

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP has a strong reputation for its representation of car companies in dealership litigation. On the regulatory side, the practice fields experts in dealer relations, franchise matters and distribution-related work. In Columbia, Steven McKelvey has longstanding experience in representing automotive companies, while Keith Hutto acts in business litigation. In 2021, Washington DC-based Christie Iannetta, who focuses on automotive industry-related regulatory and compliance issues, joined as partner from King & Spalding LLP, where she was counsel.

Dispute resolution > Product liability, mass tort and class action - defense: consumer products (including tobacco) Tier 4

Primarily based out of its South Carolina office, and recently afforded further product liability bandwidth – including practitioners in newly established offices in Richmond and Minneapolis – following the arrival of a number of product liability litigators from Bowman and Brooke LLP, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP provides a ‘client-focused‘ service to an increasingly varied mix of consumer product industries beyond its core automotive focus. Mark Jones heads up the team that also includes ‘extremely experienced product liability lawyer and accomplished trial lawyer’ John Kuppens.

Practice head(s):


I have found the firm’s product liability lawyers to be among the best I have ever worked with. They exhibit creativity and passion in their defense of my cases, and bring a diverse collaborative team to every case they handle for me.’

Great lawyers. The most knowledgeable lawyers when it comes to product liability in South Carolina.’

Big-market legal talent at mid-market rates. Their willingness and ability to engage with our business leaders.’

Every lawyer I work with at the firm is client-focused. They work their hardest to get a “win” for my company, however, that might be defined. Their candor towards me helps me do my job better.’

John Kuppens is an extremely experienced product liability lawyer and an accomplished trial lawyer.’

John Kuppens is a fantastic lawyer and does a great job matching lawyers in the firm with our particular matters.’

Government > Government relations Tier 4

The government public policy and government relations group at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP is chaired by Greenville based David Wilkins, former ambassador to Canada. The group has a strong presence across the East Coast, providing assistance to advisors and advocates by leveraging deep bipartisan relationships, for a range of clients including sovereign countries, private sector clients, Fortune 500 global companies, non-profit organizations and cultural institutions. Recent instructions include transport industry representation, and advising on several major economic development projects. Korean governmental and corporate clients regularly seek out DC-based Woojin Shin in state and federal level trade issues. Raleigh-based Dennis Wicker retired in September 2022.

Practice head(s):

David Wilkins

Other key lawyers:

Stanley Jones, Jr.; Vinoda Basnayake; Woojin Shin

Labor and employment > Immigration Tier 4

Media, technology and telecoms > Outsourcing Tier 4

Healthcare > Service providers Tier 5

Known for its work on behalf of clients based in the Southeast, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP provides a full service to healthcare providers. In transactions the team provides a full slate of M&A, joint venture and financing advice to health systems. It is particularly known for its work on affiliation transactions. Regulatory compliance is another focus for the team. Myrtle Beach-based Thomas Moran leads the team, which saw the departure of Fort Lauderdale-based litigator Lester Perling in April 2022.

Practice head(s):

Key clients

Randolph Health


Tidelands Health

Cano Health LLC

Polk Medical Center

Beacon Health Options

Work highlights

  • Represented Tidelands Health in its affiliation with South Carolina urgent care network Doctors Care.
  • Represented Cano Health in its $600m acquisition of a group of affiliated companies.
  • Advising Randoph Health in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, including the sale of assets.

Real estate Tier 5

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP‘s sizeable nationwide real estate practice is best known for its representation in land acquisition and entitlement, development and leasing, particularly in build-to-rent, hospitality, resort and timber sectors. Key figures include Andrew Litvak and Eric Klinger-Wilensky in Atlanta, for sponsors, developers, and investors in retail and multifamily properties; Laurence Papel in Nashville for hotel development and in Boca Raton, Christopher Staller and David Itskovich .  

Practice head(s):

Andrew Litvak; David Itskovich

Key clients

City of Refuge

Media, technology and telecoms > Telecoms and broadcast: regulatory

M&A/corporate and commercial > Venture capital and emerging companies

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP is an increasingly popular choice for funds and emerging companies operating in the south-eastern US, and recently expanded its practice in New York with the arrival of Joe Daniels from McCarter & English, LLP, who now co-heads the practice alongside Atlanta-based Paul Rothstein.

Labor and employment > Labor and employment disputes (including collective actions): defense

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP features a growing team dedicated to trade secrets, class actions and employee mobility issues, with hires Tom Farr and Phil Strach from Ogletree Deakins and Greg McGuire from the North Carolina Business Court strengthening the group's offering.  

Dispute resolution > Corporate investigations and white-collar criminal defense

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP’s white-collar defense and government investigations team operates nationwide and often handles cross-border cases. It acts for a number of high-profile individuals and key areas of focus include litigation, investigations and compliance.

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP is a full-service law firm based out of Columbia, South Carolina, with more than 800 attorneys and government relations professionals practicing from offices in Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Tennessee, West Virginia, Colorado, California, the District of Columbia, and throughout the Carolinas. With clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to venture-backed and emerging enterprises to start-ups and private individuals, Nelson Mullins has strong roots in the business community and an appreciation for new directions in the business world. Founded in 1897, the firm is ranked by The American Lawyer as the 68th largest law firm in the United States.

Nelson Mullins provides advice and counsel in litigation, corporate, securities, finance, banking, mergers and acquisitions, financial services, healthcare, technology, intellectual property, labor and employment, government relations, regulatory, bankruptcy and creditors’ rights, immigration, international law, and other needs of clients ranging from private individuals to large businesses.

Bankruptcy, restructuring and creditors’ rights H Jason Gold
Corporate Jeffrey A Allred
E-Discovery John D Martin
Environmental Karen A Crawford
Financial Institutions Neil E Grayson
Franchise and Distribution Litigation Steven A McKelvey Jr
General Litigation J Mark Jones
Government relations Edward E Poliakoff
Healthcare Thomas F Moran
Intellectual Property Mark C Dukes
Labor and Employment Bret A Cohen
Mergers and Acquisitions Michael E Hollingsworth II
Real Estate Andrew Litvak
Real Estate/Capital Markets Bradley J Denson
Securities Jonathan H Talcott
Tax C Wells Hall III
Technology Ed Hansen
Venture Capital Billy Ching
Total staff : 1,611
Number of Partners : 471
Number of Fee-Earners : 336
American Bar Association
Firm Managing Partner : James K Lehman