Judge Jerry D. (Jay) Vinson, Jr. was born in Camden, South Carolina in 1960, the son of Jerry D. Vinson and Patricia Ann Mahan Vinson. Judge Vinson was raised in Florence, South Carolina where he attended public schools. He graduated from Francis Marion College, cum laude, with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology. He received his Juris Doctorate Degree in 1985 from the University of South Carolina School of Law and was admitted to practice law the same year.
Following law school, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable John H. Waller, Jr., Circuit Court Judge of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit. After completing his clerkship, he joined the firm of Turner, Padget, Graham and Laney, P.A. and later practiced law with his wife, Flo Lester Vinson, in The Vinson Law Firm, P.A. Judge Vinson merged his practice with the law firm of McDougall & Self, L.L.P, where he practiced until his election to the bench in 2004. He is admitted to practice before the United States District Court, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court.
Judge Vinson has been active with Francis Marion University, where he has been named both Outstanding Alumnus and Outstanding Biology Alumnus. He has served as FMU Alumni President and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Francis Marion University Foundation. He has also served on the Board of Directors for the Florence Symphony Orchestra, the Master Works Choir and the Florence Kiwanis Club. Judge Vinson was also active in the South Carolina Bar serving as a member of the House of Delegates and as a member, and former chair, of the Family Law Section Council. He is a member, and past chair, of the South Carolina Bar Law Related Education Committee. He has been a frequent speaker at Family Law CLE programs.
Judge Vinson is former Chair of the Family Court Bench Bar Committee and serves as chair of the Best Legal Practices sub-committee. Judge Vinson served on the Governor’s Task Force for Children in Foster Care and Adoption Services. Judge Vinson is also a member of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and served on the Council’s Board of Trustees. He is past president of the South Carolina Conference of Family Court Judges and a former member of the Family Court Judges Advisory Committee.
Judge Vinson is a confirmed communicant at St. John's Episcopal Church where he has served has on the Vestry.