John Hilliard III, Attorney

John Hilliard, Attorney at LawAttorney John McCarten Hilliard III was born and raised in Georgetown, South Carolina. After winning a National Merit Scholarship, he attended Wofford College, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts and Philosophy degree. He then went on to attend the University of South Carolina, where he received his law degree.

After graduation from USC in May of 1980, he accepted a position as a law clerk to the Honorable Marion H. “Son” Kinon (deceased), at-large Circuit judge for the state of South Carolina. After serving as a law clerk, he accepted a position as assistant solicitor (prosecutor) in the 15th Judicial Circuit of Horry and Georgetown Counties, working under Solicitor Jim Dunn. His initial responsibilities included prosecuting all charged juveniles, representing the department of social services in all child abuse/neglect cases, and some magistrate court and general session circuit court prosecutions. On some occasions, he represented the county or city governments in actions regarding nuisance and various license revocation as part of ongoing drug interdiction and safety work.

In 1985, Attorney Hilliard went into private practice, representing persons charged with crime as well as crime victims, criminal court, civil court, and family court. Victim advocacy had been one of his special interests as a prosecutor.

In 1991, Mr. Hilliard was the first lawyer from South Carolina to become board certified in criminal trial law by the National Board of Trial Advocacy (It is important to note that South Carolina does not recognize criminal law as a specialty. No claim is made to any special skill in this regard, only that he undertook and accomplished the tasks necessary to become certified by a national board. Due to lack of recognition of the accomplishment in the state of SC, he let his certification lapse during his second time as a prosecutor, and did not renew.

In 1992, Jim Dunn retired and Ralph Wilson Sr was elected solicitor. Mr. Wilson asked John to come back as a special prosecutor with the responsibility to oversee all prosecutions in Georgetown County, as well as special projects in Horry County. During Mr. Wilson’s tenure, John took the opportunity to expand his interest in advocacy of victim rights. He spoke at trainings for magistrate judges, police officers, prosecutors, and victim advocates in the areas of domestic violence and sexual assault. Mr. Hilliard also spoke on many occasions to classes of individuals such as those seeking licensing as therapists, on the topic of testifying as an expert witness.

In 1997, he received the Silver Scales of Justice from the South Carolina victim assistance network. Attorney Hilliard was recognized from the South Carolina House Representatives on behalf of victims of crime.

When Greg Hembree was elected as solicitor for Georgetown County, he appointed Mr. Hilliard deputy solicitor. Mr. Hilliard accepted and had the opportunity to work for Mr. Hembree from the beginning of his tenor until 2000. Attorney Hilliard worked with the current elected solicitor Jimmy Richardson, when they were both previously were under the employ of Ralph Wilson and later Greg Hembree.

In 2007, Attorney Hilliard was given the opportunity to be the first lawyer from South Carolina to attend the three week session of Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyers College in Dubois, Wyoming. This opportunity turned out to be a unique and life changing experience. While at the trial lawyer college, he had the opportunity to live with and work with some of what he believes to be the finest lawyers in the nation.

During his time there, Mr. Hilliard had the opportunity to explore psychodrama, one of the foundational elements of the Trial Lawyer College. Later he had the opportunity to expand the knowledge of his psychodrama by attending a workshop in Carmel, California. He later returned again to the Trial Lawyer College to attend a one week graduate program, and to celebrate Spence’s 80th birthday with what they called “The Tribe”.

In the past decade, Attorney Hilliard has instituted training for lawyers on behalf of the National Business Institute. In his personal practice, he has the opportunity to represent and help people in connection with serious events in their lives.

While Mr. Hilliard has expanded the breadth of his caseload to include automobile accident cases, he still represents the victims of crime (both civil and criminal), and via family court. Attorney Hilliard does a lot of work as a DUI lawyer as well, representing persons charged driving under the influence, and representing the victims of impaired drivers.

Mr. Hilliard has reached that stage in his career where he doesn’t have to take every case presented to him; instead, he chooses to be more selective in the cases that he takes, because one of the most important things that he has learned through his career is that it is absolutely essential for the lawyer and the client to have a bond of trust.

The vast majority of the people he represents are in a time of crisis when he meets them; he recognizes that most of them are asking him to enter their lives and take over responsibility for the most important thing happening in their life at that time. This is a responsibility which Attorney Hilliard does not undertake lightly.


Jonathan M. Autuori

Born and raised in Fairfield, Connecticut, Jonathan served honorably for nearly 8 years in the U.S. Army, Connecticut Army National Guard and South Carolina Army National Guard. While deployed in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom he earned the Combat Infantryman Badge.

Afterwards he attended H.G.T.C. in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina receiving his A.A.S. in Paralegal / Legal Assistant Studies (Cum Laude) along with obtaining his B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies – Law and Society – (Cum Laude) at Coastal Carolina University.

Shortly after graduation, Jonathan worked as a surety bondsman under a large national indemnity corporation before joining the Hilliard Law Firm as Mr. Hilliard’s legal assistant for criminal affairs.


Kate Murphy Moloney

Kate MoloneyKate was born and raised in Crossmaglen, County Armagh, Northern Ireland. She attended Trinity University College of Dublin and graduated with a degree in Pharmacology and Toxicology. Kate emigrated to the U.S in 1994. She lived in Orange County, New York. It was here that Kate began her career in Forensic Background Investigations. During her 15 year career, Kate has worked on some of the country’s most notorious death penalty cases. Kate also investigated cases involved in the 2016 Supreme Court ruling in Pennsylvania, which ruled that juveniles sentenced to life with parole should be allowed to have their cases reviewed.
During her time in New York Kate became heavily involved with the Irish and Irish American community. She was the President of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, Division 5, Monroe Chapter for three terms. Kate was also a Line of March Co-coordinator to the New York City St Patrick’s Parade for many years and she brought her knowledge and experience with her to Orange County where she quickly became involved with the Mid-Hudson St Patrick’s Parade Committee where she helped promote Irish culture and heritage in the Hudson valley. Kate has always believed in being involved in her community and is a new State Certified EMT and volunteered at her local ambulance corp for several years. Kate has been married to her husband Paul for 24 years. Paul is a retired NYPD Detective who was rendered disabled due to injuries sustained as a result of his rescue efforts on 9/11. Paul and Kate moved to Murrells Inlet full-time in 2016. They have 5 children together. Their oldest daughter Emma, graduated from Pace University with a degree in nursing. Saoirse, their second daughter, is also a student at Pace University and is on a Intellectual Property Law track. Their three younger children, Tara, Paul and Timothy are students at St. James High School and St. James Intermediate School.


Amber Ward

Attorney Amber Ward


Missy Halim

Missy Halim