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Wallace K. Lightsey

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Business Litigation Attorney in Greenville, SC

Wyche, P.A.
200 E. Broad St, Suite 400
Greenville, SC 29601
Phone: 864-242-8207
Fax: 864-235-8900
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2008 - 2022
Licensed in South Carolina Since: 1986
Education: Harvard Law School
Practice Areas: Business Litigation, Intellectual Property Litigation, Appellate, Communications, Media and Advertising
Attorney Profile

Wallace Lightsey is an experienced trial attorney, with well over fifty jury trials in his career, and has argued numerous appeals in the South Carolina appellate courts and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. He has a diverse litigation practice involving complex securities, corporate, and intellectual property cases, as well as personal injury, news media, and construction disputes. In the area of First Amendment litigation, he has represented Time Inc., Forbes, The New York Times Company, The Associated Press, and Pulitzer Broadcasting, as well as local news media including The Greenville News, The Spartanburg Herald, WYFF TV, WHNS TV, WSPA TV, and other newspapers around South Carolina. He also has an active practice litigating disputes over intellectual property - such as trademark, copyright, and trade secrets - and in recent years has been lead counsel in copyright lawsuits involving close to a billion dollars at issue. In 2004, he was inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers, an organization composed of a small percentage of the best trial attorneys in the U.S. and Canada.

Certificates and Credentials

About Wallace K. Lightsey

First Admitted: 1986, South Carolina

Professional Webpage:


  • Listed in Chambers USA from 2004 to Present, Listed in Chambers USA, Chambers USA
  • Listed in Best Lawyers In America from 1997 to Present, Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers
  • Named Greenville’s “Bet-the-Company Litigation Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers, “Bet-the-Company Litigation Lawyer of the Year” , Best Lawyers, 2012
  • Listed in South Carolina Super Lawyers from 2008 to Present, Super Lawyers, Super Lawyer
  • Best Lawyers Greenville Appellate Practice “Lawyer of the Year”, Greenville Appellate Practice “Lawyer of the Year”, Best Lawyers, 2014
  • Named One of the Top 25 Lawyers in SC by South Carolina Super Lawyers from 2012 to present, Top 25 Lawyers in SC, Super Lawyer
  • Named One of the Top 10 Lawyers in SC by South Carolina Super Lawyers from 2013 to Present, Top 10 Lawyers in SC , Super Lawyer
  • Recognized as “Legal Elite” by Greenville Business Magazine from 2013 to Present, "Legal Elite", Greenville Business Magazine
  • Recognized by The National Trial Lawyers as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer, Top 100 Trial Lawyer, The National Trial Lawyers, 2013
  • Greenville Business Magazine “50 Most Influential 2015”, “50 Most Influential 2015”, Greenville Business Magazine , 2015
  • Ranked Number One by South Carolina Super Lawyers, Top Lawyer in SC, Super Lawyer, 2019
  • SC Lawyers Weekly “Leadership in Law 2015”, Leadership in Law 2015, SC Lawyers Weekly, 2015
  • Named the 2016 Greenville Litigation – Intellectual Property “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers®, 2016 Greenville Litigation – Intellectual Property “Lawyer of the Year”, Best Lawyers, 2015
  • Ranked Second by South Carolina Super Lawyers, Second in SC , Super Lawyer, 2016
  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers; Profiled in "The Best Lawyers in America"; Profiled in "Chambers USA America's Leading Lawyers for Business"; Profiled in "Super Lawyers South Carolina"; Martindale-Hubbell "AV" Rating

Pro bono/Community Service

  • South Carolina Secretary of State Blue Ribbon Committee on Corporations
  • South Carolina Fee Disputes Resolution Board
  • South Carolina Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline, 1993-97
  • South Carolina Bar Association House of Delegates
  • Head Start, Volunteer reader
  • Project Host Soup Kitchen, Treasurer, Board Member
  • Litigation Counsel of America
  • Greenville Symphony Orchestra, President, 1994-95; First Vice President, 1993-94; Board of Trustees,1991-95
  • College of Charleston, Board of Visitors
  • American Bar Association Foundation
  • South Carolina Commission on Lawyer Conduct, Chairman
  • Greenville Chamber of Commerce Board of Governors
  • Greenville United Way Palmetto Society Board, 2010-2013
  • The Warehouse Theatre, Director, 2011-2015
  • Board Chair, The Family Effect Foundation; Board of Directors, Greenville Chamber of Commerce; Board of Directors, The Charity Ball of Greenville; Past President, Greenville Symphony Association; Volunteer Reader for Greenville-Pickens Head Start; Board of Directors, Project Host Soup Kitchen; Board of Visitors, College of Charleston
  • The Family Effect Foundation, Chair, 2010-2011, Director, 2008-2014
  • Wyche Executive Committee, Chair, 2007-2013
  • Certified Member of the American Arbitration Association Roster of Neutrals

Other Outstanding Achievements

  • 1984-1985, Law Clerk to the Honorable Warren E. Burger, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court; Washington, D.C.; 1983-1984, Law Clerk to the Honorable John Minor Wisdom, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit; New Orleans, La.; 1982-1983, Executive Editor, Harvard Law Review

Scholarly Lectures/Writings

  • Lightsey, A Critique of the Promise Model of Contract, 26 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 45 (1984); Note, Disengaging Sales Law from the Sales Construct: A Proposal To Extend the Scope of Article 2 of the UCC, 96 Harv. L. Rev. 470 (1982); Lightsey, Defamation and Invasion of Privacy, in South Carolina Law of Damages (2004 & 2d ed. 2009); Chairman and Contributing Author, South Carolina Jurisprudence, Libel and Slander (1993); Contributing Author, South Carolina Jurisprudence, Appeal and Error (1992); Lightsey, South Carolina, in 50-State Survey: Media Libel Law (Libel Defense Resource Center/Media Law Resource Center ed., 2001 - 2011); Lightsey, South Carolina, in 50-State Survey: Media Privacy and Related Law (Libel Defense Resource Center/Media Law Resource Center ed., 2001 - 2011)


  • Most of my significant settlements for plaintiff clients are confidential.  However, the total amount of settlements that I have obtained for plaintiffs in the last five years is over $25 million.  I have tried over 50 cases to a jury verdict, most of which were for the defense and most of which resulted in a defense verdict.  A significant plaintiff's verdict I obtained was for $3.8 million in the case of Woven Electronics Corp. v. The Advance Group, Inc. (D.S.C.), which was affirmed on appeal to the Fourth Circuit.

Representative Clients

  • Wallace has been handling copyright infringement litigation for about 15 years. Since the early 1990s, he has handled all of ASCAP's copyright enforcement litigation in South Carolina. Over the past ten years, he has represented the nation's two leading house plan designers, Donald A. Gardner Architects, Inc., and Frank Betz Associates, Inc., in architectural copyright litigation. In most of these cases he served in the role of lead attorney, working with Wyche attorneys Troy Tessier and Frank Holleman.  Wallace has also handled a number of trademark infringement cases, though not nearly as many as in the copyright area.  Two that involved significant discovery and motions before eventually settling were Lowe Wild Dunes v. Ravenel Associates, a dispute over the use of the "Wild Dunes" name in beach property rentals and management in the Charleston region, and Avado Brands v. Blue Ridge Brewing Co., a dispute over the "HOPS" name in connection with restaurants, bars, and breweries.  Along with Wyche attorneys Henry Parr and Bill Wilson, Wallace represented Cisco Systems in a complex case brought by a terminated reseller of Cisco networking hardware.   The case was litigated to entry of judgment in favor of Cisco, and that judgment was successfully defended on appeal to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Wallace defended Forbes magazine in a substantial libel suit brought in federal court in South Carolina concerning an article about the promoter of the "Southern Connector" highway outside of Greenville.  He obtained summary judgment for Forbes, which the Fourth Circuit affirmed.  Wallace was lead counsel for Carolina First Corporation and its officers and directors in a shareholder derivative suit. He won a motion dismissing the suit on the pleadings for failure to meet the pre-suit demand requirement, which was affirmed by the South Carolina Court of Appeals in what is now the leading South Carolina appellate opinion on the pre-suit demand requirement in shareholder derivative suits.

Educational Background

  • Duke University, summa cum laude; Phi Beta Kappa, 1979

Bar/Professional Activity

  • South Carolina Bar, 1986
  • South Carolina Bar Association Committees: Ethics Advisory Committee; Professional Responsibility Committee; Professionalism Committee; Continuing Legal Education Committee
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, 1988
  • U.S. District Court, District of South Carolina, 1988
  • President, South Carolina Bar Foundation; Chairman, South Carolina Commission on Lawyer Conduct; South Carolina Bar Association House of Delegates; South Carolina Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1991
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, 2011
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh District, 2016, 2016

Industry Groups

  • News Media

Articles about Wallace K. Lightsey appearing in Super Lawyers

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Office Location for Wallace K. Lightsey

200 E. Broad St
Suite 400
Greenville, SC 29601

Last Updated: 5/15/2022

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