Steve A. Matthews

Shareholder  |  Columbia

Meet Steve

Steve Matthews focuses on achieving resolutions – whether by negotiation or litigation – of the more complex issues arising in a wide range of legal fields that involve mission critical aspects of our clients’ businesses. He is experienced in transactional negotiation and documentation, as well as trial and appellate advocacy, involving intellectual property, constitutional law, utilities regulation, mergers and acquisitions, privacy and data security, governmental structures and powers, administrative procedures, corporate governance, securities regulation, trade regulation and advertising, corporate and government finance, healthcare, land use and taxation. Clients that he has served have been drawn from an equally broad range of industries including manufacturing, telecommunications, energy, financial institutions, information technology, digital media and advertising, government, education and real estate. Steve is also a certified mediator for civil court actions in South Carolina, and has been called upon to facilitate the resolution of matters involving the valuation of property for tax purposes, personal injury, corporate minority shareholder oppression and environmental torts.


  • •  Defended international consumer electronics manufacturers against claims of patent infringement in telecommunications devices and wearable technology
  • •  Defended marine engine manufacturer against claims of patent infringement
  • •  Defended sporting goods manufacturers against claims of trademark infringement
  • •  Represented plaintiff nutritional supplements manufacturer in claims for infringement of its patents
  • •  Defended private foundation against claims by a university and a literary executor related to the ownership, copyright, and fair use of original manuscript materials of a major American novelist
  • •  Defended real estate developers against claims by nationally-marketed building designers of architectural-plan copyright infringement
  • •  Defended owner and executive of on-line marketing company against charges brought by Federal Trade Commission
  • •  Assisted businesswoman in recovery of assets seized by Homeland Security in course of international travel
  • •  Advised hospitality industry businesses regarding obligations arising out of electronic breaches of their customers' personal data
  • •  Defended broker-dealer firms in FINRA proceedings against claims by investors of culpable participation in fraudulent securities offering
  • •  Represented retirement fund seeking to recover assets stolen from it in the course of a criminal securities fraud
  • •  Represented local government in investigation by U.S. Department of Justice and Department of Treasury concerning False Claims Act and related matters
  • •  Represented property owners and taxing authorities in appeals of the valuation of taxable commercial and industrial property
  • •  Represented global medical device manufacturer against former employee for theft of trade secrets
  • •  Represented state and local government agencies in cases related to the allocation of powers among various levels of government and the extent of those powers
  • •  Represented securities issuers, underwriters, and trustees in corporate and governmental securities offerings
  • •  Drafted, at the request of the South Carolina Governor and General Assembly, legislation creating novel methods of financing economic development initiatives, including State general obligation economic development bonds, State litigation-settlement securitization bonds, and local government special source revenue bonds
  • •  Conceived and drafted, as chairman of a Governor's task force on education, a blueprint for an equitable revision of K-12 education finance and a state-wide, technology-based leveraging of resources to overcome geography-based limitations on student opportunities
  • •  Negotiated and documented complex, multi-party joint venture utility agreements with regard to both construction cost allocation and operational/administrative functions; most of which in water-and-sewer field or natural gas long-term supply arrangement for public entities (with some private players)
  • •  Advised public entities on interpretation of financial aspects of pre-existing nuclear energy joint venture that was public-private arrangement
  • •  Established and advised on the performance of non-utility joint ventures (primarily in the negotiation of the IP aspects of those arrangements)
  • •  Represented major global telecommunications carrier, primarily related to antitrust economics, in regulatory proceedings for establishing cooperative activity among regulated utilities (co-location arrangements, unbundling, etc.) in the telecom field
  • •  Represented issuer of utility cryptocurrency tokens in investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the South Carolina Securities Commissioner

As a former Managing Director of Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, Steve draws on his Chairman/CEO experience to assist other enterprises in the legal and business aspects of strategic planning and implementation.

President George W. Bush nominated Steve to a judgeship on the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. That nomination was one of 10 federal appellate court nominations that expired when the 110th Congress adjourned without Senate action.

Before joining Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, Steve practiced corporate law with the Wall Street firm Dewey Ballantine in its Washington office and served in the U.S. Department of Justice during President Reagan’s second term. At Justice, he advised Attorney General Edwin Meese III and the White House on the selection of nominees for federal judgeships and served as Special Counsel to Attorney General Meese on the Iran-Contra investigation.

  • Yale Law School, J.D., 1980
  • University of South Carolina, B.A., magna cum laude, 1977
  • University of Warwick, Coventry, England
  • District of Columbia, 1982
  • South Carolina, 1980
Honors and Awards
  • Chambers USA Litigation: General Commercial (2016-2024)
  • The Best Lawyers in America© Appellate Practice (2010-2024)
  • South Carolina Super Lawyers® Appellate (2019-2024) and Business/Corporate (2018)
  • Best Lawyers® 2020 Appellate Practice “Lawyer of the Year” Columbia
  • Columbia Business Monthly "Legal Elite of the Midlands Top Vote Getter" Intellectual Property and Innovation Law (2023)
  • Columbia Business Monthly "Legal Elite of the Midlands" Business Litigation (2021), Intellectual Property and Innovation Law (2019-2020, 2022-2023)
  • South Carolina Lawyers Weekly Leadership in Law Award (2017)
Professional and Civic Activities
  • Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, member of the National Board of Visitors and former state chapter President
  • South Carolina Public Employee Benefit Authority, Board Member
  • South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, member of the Small Business Council and Legal Affairs Committee, and former Board Member
  • South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics Foundation, former Board Member and Chairman
  • John Belton O'Neall Inn of Court, former Board Member and President
  • National Association of Bond Lawyers, former Officer and Board Member
  • American College of Bond Counsel, Founding Member, former Board Member and Officer
  • Atlantic Legal Foundation, former Board Member and Officer
  • American Intellectual Property Law Association
  • Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, former state chapter President
  • South Carolina Bar, former House of Delegates Member
  • Governor’s South Carolina Education Reform Council, Chair (2006-2007)
  • Riley Institute at Furman's Diversity Leadership Initiative, Midlands Inaugural Class 2007
  • Leadership South Carolina, Class of 1995
Presentations and Publications
  • "Cyber Risk: Managing Your Balance Sheet and Reputation Risks" (Panelist), Greenville, South Carolina, February 6, 2019