The History of 303 Saluda and the McKinney legacy
Upon graduating law school in 1965, Tom McKinney’s first job as an attorney was working in the Trust Department of C&S Bank. Shortly after starting there, Tom realized that his desire was to be a trial attorney, rather than one that worked in a bank office. A few weeks into his legal career, Tom was invited to join the firm of Ridley, Simrill and Bryan in Rock Hill. Soon after, Tom advance to become a partner in that firm. Since that move, he has served York County as a partner in law firm, focusing his practice on criminal defense and civil defense representing plaintiffs and defendants.
Tom started his own firm of McKinney and Harrelson in the 1970s. The firm was based in a small office on Black Street in downtown Rock Hill. While there, Tom met Tom Givens, a lawyer with whom he would share a lifetime friendship. The two ultimately decided to go into practice together, and purchased a historic house on Saluda Street in 1979 to house their growing practice. Tom Givens gained fame as chief counsel for PTL during its time in York County, while Tom McKinney developed a reputation as one of York County’s most capable trial attorneys.
Over the decades, many fine attorneys occupied the offices at 303 Saluda Street, the historic house purchased over 35 years ago. The house next door was purchased in 1984 and attached via renovation in 1987. That same year, Jim Tucker was hired as an associate in family and civil law. Shortly thereafter, John Rhea was hired from the Greenville Solicitor’s Office to assist with the expanding criminal practice the firm enjoyed. For many years, the building proudly displayed McKinney, Givens, Tucker and Rhea as its firm name. For two decades, residents of York, Lancaster and Chester Counties were served by the firm in a broad range of legal areas, from real estate to family law, criminal defense to civil law.
In 2010, John Rhea retired from the practice of law to fulfill a lifelong ambition to be a writer. Gary Lemel, himself a criminal attorney in York County since 1996, accepted an invitation to join the firm that same year. In 2014 David Martin became part of the practice as an associate in Family and Civil law. Today the firm proudly bears the name McKinney, Tucker & Lemel.
303 Saluda remains a destination that many York, Chester and Lancaster residents seek out when faced with legal issues. Under Tom McKinney’s guiding hand the firm is one of the oldest and most active in York County.