Justice Kaye Hearn focuses her practice at Wyche on litigation and appellate advocacy. She retired in April of 2023 as a Justice on the South Carolina Supreme Court. At the time of her retirement, she was the longest serving member of the South Carolina State Court Judiciary. She was elected to the Supreme Court of South Carolina in May of 2009, becoming only the second woman member in the court’s history. Prior to her election to the state’s highest court, Justice Hearn was a member of the South Carolina Court of Appeals for fifteen years, serving as its Chief Judge for ten years. During her tenure as Chief Judge, Justice Hearn served as President of the Council of Chief Judges, a nationwide network of chief judges of the intermediate appellate courts.
From 1986 until her election to the Court of Appeals in 1995, she served as a Family Court Judge. Prior to going on the bench, Justice Hearn was a trial attorney with the firm of Stevens, Stevens, Thomas, Hearn, and Hearn, and served as a member of the South Carolina Board of Bar Examiners. Immediately upon graduation from law school, she served as law clerk to South Carolina Supreme Court Justice Julius B. Ness. She is the only former law clerk to return to the Court as a Justice.
In 2004, Justice Hearn was honored with a portrait by the South Carolina’s Trial Lawyers Association. In 2010, she received the South Carolina Women Lawyers Association’s Jean Galloway Bissell Award; in 2011, she was honored with an award in celebration of Inspiring Women from Coastal Carolina University; and in 2012, Governor Nikki Haley presented her the Woman of Achievement Award from the South Carolina Commission on Women. In 2013, Justice Hearn received the Bethany College Alumni Achievement Award and was named an Alpha Xi Delta Woman of Distinction. In 2022, she received the Outstanding Jurist Award from the American Board of Trial Advocates.