Elected in 2022 by the South Carolina General Assembly, he will serve Richland and Kershaw counties starting in 2023
In his senior year of college, Daniel Coble ’09 joined the Clemson University Student Government as a member of a small but influential advisory group called the Judicial Education Committee. Their efforts laid the foundation for a judiciary within the University organization, but more notably, the work provided the perfect blend of Coble’s two primary interests — public service and the law.
The pursuit of both continues to reward Coble with personal and professional opportunities, including his most recent: On February 2, the South Carolina General Assembly elected Coble to serve a six-year term as judge of the 5th Circuit, which includes Richland and Kershaw counties. At 35 years old, he is one of the youngest state judges ever elected in South Carolina, and he will fill the seat of retiring 5th Circuit Judge Casey Manning in 2023.
“Growing up, I saw how important public service is, and seeing it up close like that, it was something I always wanted to do,” says Coble. His father, Bob Coble, was mayor of capital city Columbia for two decades, and his grandfather and namesake, Daniel R. McLeod, served as South Carolina attorney general for nearly a quarter-century.
After earning degrees from Clemson and the University of South Carolina School of Law, Coble forged his own notable path. He served as an assistant solicitor from 2012-2017 before becoming a Richland County magistrate judge for nearly four years.
In 2021, he opened his own private practice in the Columbia area, The Coble Law Group. And along the way, he has authored nearly a dozen books, a handful of which are published. He is a husband and a father of a busy 2-year-old daughter.
“I’ve been so fortunate to have mentors who have experienced and done so much. Relying on them reminds me to constantly know and appreciate that there is so much to learn,” Coble says.
“And those relationships and mentorships started when I was at Clemson.”
Coble graduated from Clemson with a Bachelor of Arts in economics and a minor in political science in 2009, and he earned his juris doctor from USC in 2012. He received a Clemson alumni scholarship while he was attending law school, which he says was an honor as well as a welcome reminder of his Clemson roots.
Coble has been an active member of the legal community. He serves the South Carolina Bar on three committees: publications, ethics advisory, and practice and procedure. He volunteers for the 1L Mentoring Program, a support system for first-year law students. And he is a mock trial judge for USC and serves numerous community outreach groups, from United Way to Columbia-area housing organizations and animal welfare groups.
The 5th Circuit Solicitor’s Office tries and prosecutes criminal cases in Richland and Kershaw counties. The current judge, the Hon. Casey Manning, is also a USC Law graduate. He has held the position since 1994 and is widely respected in the South Carolina legal community. Coble says he had the fortune of practicing in front of him as a prosecutor and describes it as “one of the most humbling experiences in my career.”
Manning remembers not only when Coble started with the solicitor’s office, but he also has fond memories of the young attorney’s father and grandfather.
“He works hard, he’s very honest and he has all the integrity in the world,” Manning says, adding that he was delighted to learn that — like him— Coble has three brothers and two sisters, was the fifth of six children, and now he’s serving the 5th Circuit.
“He’s patient, he’s keenly observant, and most important he’s honest,” Manning says. “He wants to do the right thing. I think he will be a fair judge. He’s going to do an excellent job.”
Coble is humbled by all the support he’s received: “I never will fill Judge Manning’s shoes. And it’s not just that he’s been a judge for so long. He is brilliant, charismatic, and he is the epitome of how to be a great judge. No one will ever be Judge Manning, but the fortunate thing is I will be able to call on him when I need him, and I consider him a mentor and a friend.”
Coble’s reputation as bright attorney and a hard worker is what paved the way for his successful election to the judgeship, says Judge Gary Clary, former 7th Circuit Judge, former state House Representative and current chief judge and director of the Clemson University court.
“Daniel reflects the fact that Clemson can prepare you for whatever occupation you desire to pursue as a professional, as a lawyer,” says Clary, who is a class of 1970 Clemson alumnus. “I know I was well prepared to go to law school coming from Clemson, and likewise, Daniel has taken advantage of his Clemson education to be where he is now. He is well qualified to perform the duties of a circuit judge, which are many.”