How Irv Condon developed such a loyal following
By Prioleau Alexander
Being the seventh of ten children no doubt leads to a busy childhood, and multitasking is surely required for mere survival. Even getting dinner on the table would require an organized team effort, and offer individual lessons in teamwork, leadership and conflict resolution. And likely a large dose of creativity, to keep six older siblings from breathing down your neck.
Such was the childhood of Probate Judge Irv Condon — and he clearly absorbed those skills, as they’ve played an expansive role in his public service career.
Judge Condon, who grew up in Charleston and graduated from Bishop England, received his bachelor of science degree in accounting from Clemson University where he graduated magna cum laude. He went on to pass his certified public accountant exam while working for McKnight Frampton and Price Waterhouse — before deciding to attend law school at the University of South Carolina. Prior to being elected to the bench, he was a shareholder in the Charleston law firm of Rosen, Rosen and Hagood, P.A., where he practiced probate and business law.
Using both his accounting and law experience, Judge Condon has been an innovator since the day he assumed the post of probate judge in 1994. He is currently running for re-election to that seat on the bench.
Judge Condon’s role as probate judge involves far more than the ability to legitimize and execute wills. He started the Charleston County Adult Drug Court in 1999, then added a Veteran’s Treatment Court as part of the Drug Court. In 2003 he served on the planning team for a new Mental Health Court, and in 2010 began presiding over the Ninth District Juvenile Drug Court.
“The most rewarding parts of the job,” he says, “are the success stories of those whose lives changed through the drug, mental health, juvenile and veterans’ courts.
Even early on peers were noticing the Charleston County Probate Court’s creative approach to problem solving. In 2011, the American Bar Association selected our Probate Court as one of two courts in the nation to participate in a pilot project that assistances and monitors incapacitated adults and their guardians.
When asked what drives him to seek re-election, Judge Condon says, “The opportunity to help improve the lives of our most vulnerable residents and ensuring Charleston County taxpayers continue to receive the best and most innovative service possible.”
Innovation has certainly been a priority for Judge Condon. He has been consistently ahead of the curve with technology enhancements and has implemented 24/7 e-filing, online marriage licensing, and Zoom workshops during the pandemic. Using his accounting experience, he streamlined the estate and guardianship/conservatorship workflow process to help attorneys. In addition, he offers senior citizens and their families workshops from Edisto to North Charleston and James Island to McClellanville.
Judge Condon’s reputation for excellence has brought about bi-partisan support for his re-election. He has been endorsed by both former Charleston mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. and Joseph Griffith, with Griffith serving as his campaign co-chair.
According to Griffith, “Judge Condon has built the court into a national model of excellence.” Mayor Riley adds “His understanding of the Probate Court is as unique as it is vast, and his work ethic is second to none. Judge Condon’s record is proof of that.”
His leadership roles, professional memberships, probate accolades, teaching positions and forward-looking planning positions are, quite literally, too numerous to list. To name just a few, he is past president of the National College of Probate Judges, the South Carolina Association of Probate Judges, the National Guardianship Association, and the Congress of State Associations of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals.
The Probate Court is the peoples’ court,” says Condon. “We touch every family in some way, be it guardianship/conservatorship, marriage licenses, commitments, trusts, or estates. I’ve been elected to be the Probate Court’s ‘problem solver’, and that’s a commitment I take very seriously.”
Friends and family often use the word “dependable” when describing the judge, which is most consistent since he was voted the most dependable in his class at Bishop England. He volunteers to coach youth basketball and is constantly scheduling sports-related fun for his family. When he can scramble for a bit of time to recharge his batteries, he enjoys the game of golf
Judge Condon and his wife, Michelle Mensore Condon, an attorney originally from New Martinsville, West Virginia, live in Charleston and have a teenage son. They are members of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Charleston.
Michelle likes to tell the story about the time before they were married when Irv was “more nervous about their first dance than getting married.” Naturally, Irv stepped up and decided to take ballroom dancing lessons to clear the cobwebs and get in rhythm.