Lionel S. Lofton was born and raised in McClellanville, South Carolina, where he still resides. He received his juris doctorate from the University of South Carolina Law School in 1971 and was admitted to the South Carolina Bar the same year. While in law school, Mr. Lofton worked as a law clerk in the United States Attorney's Office. Following graduation from law school, Mr. Lofton was immediately hired as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of South Carolina. He was the first and only attorney in South Carolina named as an Assistant United States Attorney directly out of law school. He served in that capacity in the Criminal Division from 1971 to February of 1983. During this time, Mr. Lofton took a six-month leave of absence from the United States Attorney's Office to serve as legal advisor to his friend, former Governor James B. Edwards. In recognition of his service, Governor Edwards awarded Mr. Lofton with The Order of the Palmetto in 1978.
In 1983, after twelve years as a federal prosecutor, Mr. Lofton left the United States Attorney's Office and opened his own private practice in Charleston, South Carolina. His experience and tenure in the United States Attorney's Office facilitated the development of not only a statewide, but also a national practice, representing those accused of involvement in serious criminal activity and representing those injured as a result of the negligence of others. Mr. Lofton's roots have always been in the South Carolina lowcountry.
Mr. Lofton still lives in his hometown of McClellanville, a small coastal fishing village not far from downtown Charleston.