About Gayla McSwain

"I believe in service to the community because it is an important way to invest in our future: Serving the common good.

I grew up in a family that was very poor financially but very rich in other ways. My mom made sure that we five children knew that school was the way out of poverty. Upon being graduated from a public high school in upstate South Carolina, I received a scholarship from the cotton mill where my mom worked third shift along with a tuition grant from the state of South Carolina. That money allowed me to be graduated magna cum laude from Presbyterian College. On that same day, I was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

After serving four years on active duty as a PATRIOT missile officer, I went to law school. I was a shareholder in the McNair Law Firm for almost twenty years, and a proud mother of two, balancing work and family life here in Goose Creek. I then formed the McSwain Law Firm, LLC, consulting on legal cases. I only litigated cases that I believed would have a positive impact on the public, common good, and am now retired from the practice.

I am honored to have been elected to serve on the Goose Creek city council and work hard, every day, to ensure that it remains one of the best places to live in the Lowcountry."

Gayla McSwain


  • Presbyterian College - B.S., magna cum laude, 1982
  • University of South Carolina School of Law - J.D., 1989
  • Bar Admission: All Courts and Administrative Commissions in the State of South Carolina, U.S. Federal District Court - SC, Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, U.S. Supreme Court



  • Charter member of the International African American Museum
  • Executive Committee, Board of Directors - Charleston Regional Development Alliance
  • Board of Directors, Trident United Way
  • Board of Directors, Crowfield Plantation Community Services Association
  • Board of Directors, Partners in Education, Academic Magnet High School
  • Planning Commission, City of Goose Creek
  • Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee, City of Goose Creek
  • The Riley Institute Diversity Leadership Initiative
  • Berkeley County Leadership Course
  • Articles Editor, South Carolina Bar Magazine: "The South Carolina Lawyer"
  • Charter Member, South Carolina Women Lawyers Association
  • Charleston, South Carolina, and American Bar Associations
  • Board of Directors, Presbyterian College ROTC Program
  • Major, United States Army Reserves, Logistics Officer
  • Captain, United States Army Active Duty, Air Defense Artillery (PATRIOT Missile)
  • Coach, Mock Trial Team, Marrington Middle School (Regional Winner)


  • Inducted into the Presbyterian College Highlander Battalion ROTC Hall of Fame.
  • “The Legal Status of Women: An Analysis of the NOW Report and Comparison of Laws in South Carolina to Laws in Other States” published by the SC Commission on Women, on National Public Radio, and archived in the Library of Congress.
  • Featured in the “South Carolina Lawyers Weekly” due to her establishing a new law, on behalf of the estate of an underaged client, in the area of social host alcohol liability. This case was selected as the No. 1 most important opinion issued by the South Carolina Supreme Court in 2007.
  • Speaker at numerous events and seminars including South Carolina State Bar continuing legal education classes, presenting “Objections at Trial and How to Deal with the Difficult Lawyer” and “Evidence Tactics That Win Cases.”
  • Various military awards, ribbons, and medals including the parachutist badge.

"...an outstanding individual of the highest character and integrity."

- the late Robert E. McNair, former Governor of South Carolina

"Her integrity and candor cannot be questioned. She has always been very open minded, courteous, compassionate without bias or prejudice, but yet firm and decisive in her opinions."

- B. L. "Dutch" Meyer, Risk Management Director, Piggly Wiggly

"Her ability to effectively balance work, family, and community responsibility make her a role model for other professional women."

- Mary Thornley, President, Trident Technical College

Gayla at Level Up
Gayla at Pats Automotive
Gayla with family
Gayla at Donut Connection
Gayla at construction site
Gayla at Cakes 4 Hope
Gayla at Lumpia House
Gayla at gallery opening
Gayla at the Citadel
Gayla with military actors
Gayla at Solar Nails
Gayla at St Patty's Day

Behind the scenes

Gayla is a graduate of the Clemson Master Gardener program and can be found swapping plants and manning information booths to educate the public. She has been actively involved in beautifying the Goose Creek area with native plants, including the fountain at City Hall, with the help of an exceptional group of Tri-County Master Gardener volunteers. She posts about this and other activities on her Twitter page: @GaylaMcSwain

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Gayla at Master Gardener table

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