ACLU's South Carolina Office Hires First Lawyer

January 14, 2009 12:00 am

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CHARLESTON, SC – The American Civil Liberties Union’s South Carolina Office today announced the appointment of Susan K. Dunn, a lawyer who has worked in private practice in the Charleston area for more than 30 years, as its first staff attorney.

Dunn, 58, an active member of the Charleston community who sits on a number of area boards and committees, also has 28 years of experience as a mediator.

“Susan is an enormously talented and respected lawyer. We are thrilled that she has chosen to devote her time and energy to our shared effort to ensure that the basic freedoms and civil liberties of all South Carolinians are protected,” said Victoria Middleton, Executive Director of the ACLU’s South Carolina Office. “There is a deep need for developing new and collaborative approaches to protecting our nation’s core constitutional values, and the state of South Carolina couldn’t have found a more able lawyer to respond to that need.”

Dunn has run her own legal and mediation practice in Charleston since 1985. For 12 years beginning in the mid-1990’s, Dunn litigated a high-profile and groundbreaking constitutional case challenging a policy mandating the testing of pregnant and post-partum women at a public hospital for cocaine use, and the delivery of those test results to law enforcement. Dunn’s clients ultimately won a favorable ruling in the United States Supreme Court that led to a settlement of the case.

Prior to beginning her own practice, she worked for the Charleston law firm Shimel, Ackerman, Theo & Spar. She also has spent time on the staffs of the Grassroots Coalition of Greater Charleston and the Charleston Civic Forum.

“For too many years, our most cherished and basic freedoms have been eroded,” said Dunn. “This is a time that calls for lovers of freedom to move beyond lip service to action, advocacy and sacrifice. I am honored to be called to this work.”

Dunn was the 1998 recipient of the Jean Galloway Bissell Award, presented annually by the South Carolina Women Lawyers Association to a person who has contributed to the advancement of women in the practice of law in South Carolina. Many women lawyers look to Dunn as a mentor.

She is also an active member of Circular Congregational Church in Charleston, where she has served as a lay minister since 1999.

Additional information about the ACLU’s South Carolina Office is available online at:

Additional information about the ACLU is available online at:

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