John A. Sowards: Lawyer with Nexsen Pruet, LLC

John A. Sowards

Columbia,  SC  U.S.A.

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AV® Preeminent

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Practice Areas

  • Corporate Law
  • Agribusiness
  • Financial Services
  • Real Estate
University University of Tennessee, B.A., magna cum laude, 1975
Law SchoolUniversity of South Carolina, J.D., cum laude, 1982
Admitted1982, South Carolina

Civic & Professional Memberships

•Lexington-Richland School District Five - Outstanding High School Mentor (2003)
•Columbia Urban League - Outstanding Board Member Award (2004)
•Saluda Shoals Foundation
•Irmo Chapin Recreation Commission, Commissioner (2004-present)
•Public Employee Benefit Authority, Trustee (2012-present)


According to John Sowards, there are no shortcuts on the road to success. As Chairman of the Board for Nexsen Pruet, he operates with the fundamental belief that achievements require perseverance and steadfast resolve and that accomplishments only result with the right combination of determination, rigorous work, and exhaustive planning.

Putting His Philosophy into Practice

Throughout his tenure as chairman, John has poured a significant amount of energy and commitment into driving the vision and strategy of Nexsen Pruet - one of the nation's largest multispecialty business law firms as reported by NLJ 360.

In just three years, John led Nexsen Pruet through a rapid period of growth and expansion, adding a number of new attorneys across several key practice areas. He is now serving his second three-year term and continues to keep his eye focused on strengthening the firm's legal services in areas critical to the vitality of the business communities of North and South Carolina.

In his practice, John concentrates his attention on real estate, corporate, and finance law, representing commercial lenders, real estate developers, and closely held businesses on a variety of matters. He has extensive experience and understanding of legal issues impacting shopping center and hotel developments as well as all aspects of commercial lending, including troubled debt restructurings and workouts.

Demonstrating His Commitment to the Community

Outside the firm, John is involved in a wide range of public service and civic causes. He currently serves as a member of the South Carolina Public Employee Benefit Authority Board and is Chairman of the Irmo Chapin Recreation Commission, which oversees parks, entertainment venues, youth sports, and recreation in the Lexington County, South Carolina portion of School District Five.

In 2012, he participated in the Riley Institute Diversity Leadership Initiative, where he and a team of other key community leaders created a toolkit for transforming schools. The project was inspired by the successes achieved by a failing elementary school in the Richland Lexington School District Five, and is designed to serve as a roadmap for other educational facilities to bring the same achievements to the students of their schools.

John has earned recognition for his civic efforts from a number of organizations, including being named an Outstanding High School Mentor by the Lexington-Richland School District Five and an Outstanding Board Member by the Columbia Urban League.


• Legal Elite of the Midlands - Banking and Finance, 2012
Best Lawyers in America - Since 2010: Banking and Finance Law, Financial Services Regulation Law

Outside Nexsen Pruet

John's passion for the firm is equally matched by his passion for athletics. For more than 2 decades, John has worked in various roles with the Irmo-Chapin Recreation Commission. His love for the game of baseball has taken him across the U.S. as coach of youth teams as well as to watch the South Carolina Gamecocks play in 2 College World Series.

John also serves the State of South Carolina as an appointee to the Public Employee Benefit Authority (PEBA). He was appointed to PEBA at its creation in 2012 and currently serves as chairman of its Retirement Policy Subcommittee.

John grew up in Texas and has been married to his high school sweetheart, Elizabeth, for more than 40 years and has two married sons. With four grandchildren from those marriages, Elizabeth and John are blessed with lots of play opportunities.

Before attending law school, John was commissioned as a U.S. Army Second Lieutenant and served four years on active duty and ten more years in the Army Reserve.

Speaking & Writing

Related News

Top 25 law firms: The new normal
April 24, 2013
John Sowards Re-elected as Chair of Nexsen Pruet
June 25, 2013
Slow and Steady
April 14, 2014
Largest Law Firms: Holding Steady
April 16, 2014
A Statement from NP Board Chairman John Sowards
June 18, 2015
Nexsen Pruet Applauds Governor & Lawmakers on Efforts to Remove Confederate Flag from State House
June 23, 2015


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#76 in weekly profile views out of 3,670 lawyers in Columbia, South Carolina
#30,812 in weekly profile views out of 1,733,233 total lawyers Overall

Office Information

John A. Sowards

1230 Main Street, Suite 700
ColumbiaSC 29201


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