By Mike McCombs
What do you do when it’s your 100th birthday?
You throw a party, of course.
That’s what Harvey & Battey did. The Beaufort law firm has now been serving clients in the Lowcountry for 100 years. And they threw a party Saturday, May 7, at their offices.
“There were a lot of former clients and family, between 200 and 300 people there,” Harvey & Battey senior partner Colden Battey said. “It was a good party.”
Battey, 86, has been practicing with the firm for the past 60 years.
“The law practice has gone from a small thing to a big deal, from three of us to nine lawyers,” Battey said. “We changed just like the town has changed in the last 60 years. The firm has grown with the town.”
Battey said in the earlier years, the firm did work mostly in real estate and trial work. Now, he said, decades later, there is a lot more estate planning.
Bill Harvey, a partner in Harvey & Battey and attorney for the City of Beaufort, said the firm’s ability to change and adapt, particularly as the whole practice of law has changed with technology, has been the hallmark of a strong organization.
“I don’t think necessarily the people have changed,” Harvey said. “Their needs and desires have become more technologically sophisticated. But the underlying needs and desires have not changed. Beaufort is still a warm and wonderful community to live in and a pleasure to serve.”
The technology may have changed, but Battey agreed one thing hasn’t. And that, he said, is the key to the firm’s success.
“The clients. The best thing a law firm can do is have a satisfied client,” Battey said. “The firm has been continuous for 100 years. A lot of firms come and go. But the service we provide our clients has allowed us to be here 100 years. And the service we provide our clients is still strong. I think we’ll be here quite a while longer, too.”
Harvey & Battey has been a prominent firm in Beaufort since the beginning.
W. Brantley Harvey, Sr. opened his law practice in Beaufort in 1922. Elected in 1928, he also served as a State Senator for 28 years.
His son, Brantley Harvey, Jr., joined the firm in 1955. He served in the S.C. House of Representatives from 1958 to 1974 and was Lt. Governor from 1975 until 1978.
Battey came aboard in 1963, completing the trio. He spent time on the Beaufort County Council and was its chairman.
Tom Davis came aboard in 1985. He has been a State Senator since 2008. There are now nine lawyers in the firm.
“You have to work to reach this milestone,” Harvey said. “You have to have a dedication to integrity. That’s the hallmark of this organization. You have only one integrity. You can lose it very quickly.”
The Beaufort City Council passed a resolution at Tuesday evening’s meeting recognizing, honoring and celebrating Harvey & Battey’s 100 years in Beaufort.
“We’ve reached a milestone that very few businesses achieve,” Harvey said. “I think we’re as strong now as we’ve ever been. That takes the dedication of everybody to do what we’ve done and to be in this position.”
With 60 years in the firm under his belt, Battey has slowed down a bit, but he said he’s nowhere near quitting.
“I go in and do things for a few clients, three days a week,” he said. “I’m not as active as I was, but I still do things.”
Battey said he initially had no idea how long he was going to be here, “but having grown up in Beaufort, there is no place I’d rather (have been).”
Harvey echoed the sentiment.
“This is the only place I ever wanted to practice my profession.”
Mike McCombs is the editor of The Island News and can be reached at TheIslandNews@gmail.com.