Judge Harrington retired from the South Carolina Circuit Court bench after serving two terms. She is a certified South Carolina Supreme Court mediator and arbitrator, owning her own Alternative Dispute Resolution practice, Kristi Harrington Dispute Resolution. She completed her forty-hour mediation training at the National Judicial College, in Reno, Nevada. She is honored to be on the American Arbitration Association’s (AAA) Judicial Panel. She is currently a member of Arbitral Women, the SC Bar’s ADR Section, the SC Bar’s International Law Committee, and AtLas. She volunteers with the Charleston Mediation Center, mediating a variety of civil disputes.
Prior to taking the bench, she was employed by the Ninth Circuit Solicitors Office, prosecuting crimes against women and children. She was selected to serve on the Children’s Justice Task Force and trained at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in Alexandria, Virginia. She was on the faculty of the National Advocacy Center, a nationwide training center for prosecutors, where she taught practical trial techniques.
Judge Harrington became the youngest Circuit Court judge and one of only six female circuit judges in the state of South Carolina on February 6, 2008, when she was unanimously elected by the state legislature. During her tenure on the bench, she tried to verdict over 250 jury trials and completed numerous non-jury criminal and civil matters. She was appointed to the Governor’s Task Force on Violence Against Women as the sole circuit judge, working to reduce the number of assaults and deaths of women in the state. She also served on the Common Pleas Docket Reform Committee and was part of the McArthur Foundation grant to reduce incarceration rates. She implemented and presided over the Adult Drug Court in Berkeley County.
Judge Harrington places much importance on the mentoring aspects of the legal profession. She is a founding member of the Pettigru Inn of Court in Charleston, a local chapter of the American Inns of Court. She also started “A Day in Court” program in her circuit to allow high school students to observe the courtroom process. As the Mentoring Program Chair of the Charleston County Bar, she implemented a mentoring program for the CCBA Law Student Division at CSOL. As the current Director of Externships at the Charleston School of Law, she is able to help law students find a placement that will enrich the student’s legal career.
Judge Harrington has taught locally, statewide, nationally, and internationally. She has presented statewide on such topics as child sexual assault prevention and prosecution. Judge Harrington is a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Charleston School of Law where she teaches a variety of classes, such as Advanced Evidence, Criminal Procedure, Trial Advocacy, and Alternatives to Incarceration, Cannabis Law and Policy. She is the Director of Advocacy Programs at CSOL.
In 2012, Judge Harrington was honored to be selected as Adjunct Faculty for the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada. She teaches an annual course on Selected Issues in Evidence to national and international judges and has designed a class specifically to train new judges as they transition to the bench. At the NJC, she has presented on topics such as child witnesses, human trafficking, and special victim consideration. She is the past Chair of the Faculty Council of the NJC. After working towards her Master’s Degree in Judicial Studies, she received her Certificate in Judicial Development in General Jurisdiction Trial Skills from NJC in 2018.
In 2016, Judge Harrington travelled to India as a Fulbright Scholar Specialist to Symbiosis Law College. She lectured on a variety of topics including comparative criminal and constitutional law, moot skills, and legal research. Judge Harrington was honored to present to Indian judges at the Maharashtra Judicial Academy and to the District Judges in Pune. During her time in India, Judge Harrington lectured at five law school and was the guest speaker at an International Victims Rights Conference in Goa, India. In July 2018, Judge Harrington had the privilege of going to Pakistan as a Fulbright Scholar Specialist where she lectured at a local university and hosting interactive learning sessions with local judges and attorneys.
She has served as the Judicial and Legal Content Specialist at Darkness To Light, a non-profit organization that empowers and educates adults on how to identify and prevent child sexual abuse, notably teaching judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement on how to recognize the signs of child sexual abuse. In that role, Judge Harrington was invited to train Bermuda’s judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement on best practices for handling child sexual abuse cases. She is currently on the board of My Sister’s House, a local domestic violence shelter. Kristi was awarded the 2021 “Champion of Justice” by Charleston Pro Bono Legal Services for her commitment to pro bono legal services and access to justice.