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Meet the University Counsel Staff

Carlos Johnson image‌Carlos C. Johnson, JD

Senior Vice President/University Counsel
Singleton Building 110  |  843-349-2876  |  carlosj@coastal.edu


Carlos C. Johnson began his tenure as senior vice president/university counsel at Coastal Carolina University in July 2019. In this role, he also provides supervision to Human Resources and Equal Opportunity, Risk Management, University Compliance, and Environmental Health and Safety.

Johnson brings 17 years of litigation and transactional experience from both the private and public sectors, including in the areas of educational law, public administration and organizational management, having represented public school districts, charter schools, and various municipalities and corporate entities in private practice. Most recently, he has served as general counsel at Midlands Technical College.

He earned a J.D. from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 2002 and a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of South Carolina in 1998. He was with the law firm Lyles, Darr & Clark LLC, in Spartanburg, S.C., from 2005-2018.

Johnson served as a member of the Coastal Carolina University Board of Trustees from 2011 until May 2019. During his term, he served as vice chairman of the board and was a member of the executive committee. He also served as a board of director for the CCU Student Housing Foundation.

Katherine Brooks imageKatherine Brooks, JD

Deputy University Counsel
Singleton Building 109  |  843-349-2628  |  kbrooks@coastal.edu


Katherine Brooks was named deputy university counsel in 2018. She held the position of associate legal counsel until 2018 and worked in the areas of risk management and contract management in 2015-2016. In addition, she served as a compliance intern at CCU in the summer of 2014.

Brooks is a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA) and The Coastal American Inn of Court. She has completed training as a Title IX Coordinator through the National Association of College and University Attorneys. She graduated cum laude with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and sociology from the University of South Carolina in 2012, and her juris doctor from Charleston School of Law in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015, where she served as editor-in-chief of The Federal Courts Law Review and was a recipient of the “Giving Back Award” for outstanding efforts in public service and leadership.

Brooks is licensed to practice in South Carolina and is admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court of South Carolina, as well as the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Louis Louis "Tripp" Hutto, JD

Associate University Counsel
Singleton Building 108  |  843-234-3449  l  lhutto@coastal.edu


Louis “Tripp” Hutto was named associate university counsel at Coastal Carolina University in 2018. With university counsel and deputy university counsel he serves as a legal officer of the institution. He is responsible for the University's contract management including oversight if the campus-wide electronic contract management system. He also performs legal reviews of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

He served CCU as assistant director of residency in the Office of Admissions for three years. Prior to working at CCU, Hutto was in private practice for more than 20 years, serving as shareholder for 16 years, with a primary focus in the areas of estate planning, probate administration, residential and commercial real estate, and business organization.

He is a member of the South Carolina Bar Association and a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA). Hutto earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Wofford College, an MBA from Webster University, a juris doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and an LL.M. in taxation from New York University School of Law. 

Hutto is licensed to practice in South Carolina. He is industry certified in electronic contract management.

Melissa JarrardMelissa Jarrard

Paralegal/FOIA Officer
Singleton Building 110  |  843-349-3449  |  mpjarrar@coastal.edu


Melissa Jarrard serves as paralegal for the Office of University Counsel. She serves as the university's FOIA Officer, directing all Freedom of Information Act requests. She assisted in the implementation of the university's electronic contract management system, and continues to provide support for contract management.

Jarrard earned her bachelor's degree in sociology from Coastal Carolina University, graduating summa cum laude, and earned a degree in paralegal/legal assistant programs from Horry-Georgetown Technical College. Prior to her position at CCU she served the 15th Circuit Solicitor's Office as a paralegal and victim's advocate for over 15 years.

She is a member of Higher Education Legal Managers and the National Association for Legal Assistants. She is industry certified in electronic contract management.