I was born in Miami Beach, Florida on May 18, 1948. My parents are Robert Knobel and Marion Knobel (both deceased). My family moved to Anderson, South Carolina when I was 3 years old, and I naturally consider myself a life-long resident of South Carolina.
I attended the Anderson public schools and graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1970 with a bachelor of arts degree in history. I attended the University of South Carolina School of Law from 1970 to 1973, receiving my juris doctorate degree in 1973. While in undergraduate school, I held various elective offices; I was the president of the student body (1969 -1970), and president of the South Carolina Student Body Presidents Association. In 1970, I was the recipient of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award. While in law school, I was a gubernatorial appointee to the Joint Legislative Drug Study Committee; and after graduation from law school, I became legal counsel to this Committee and was then later named as legal counsel to the Joint Legislative No-Fault Insurance Study Committee.
In January, 1974, I returned to Anderson and began the practice of law as an associate with the law firm of Chapman & Lowery (V. Laniel Chapman, Esq., and Harold R. Lowery, Esq.). In May, 1975, I formed a partnership with Kenneth M. Mattison, Esq. (Mattison & Knobel); and then became a sole practitioner in December, 1983. Prior to being elected to the family court bench, I was president of the Anderson County Bar Association, and chairman of the 10th Judicial Circuit Resolution of Fee Disputes Panel. While in private practice, I served as vice chairman and then chairman of the Anderson Area Transportation Study Committee (ANATS).
I have been licensed to practice law in South Carolina since November, 1973, and I have been involved in the practice of family law since January, 1974. I was a Family Court Judge from July, 1998, until January 1, 2009, at which time I retired from the bench to begin and maintain a full time, statewide mediation/arbitration practice.
I have been an instructor at the Orientation School for New Family Court Judges from 2004 through 2008, and in 2005 – 2006, was the president of the South Carolina Conference of Family Court Judges, and the chairperson of the South Carolina Family Court Judges Advisory Committee to the Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court. In 2004, I had the privilege of being appointed as the chairperson of the Family Court Judges subcommittee of the Chief Justice’s Task Force on Trial Court Operations.
Beginning in May, 2017, and continuing to this present date, I became one of the instructors for the South Carolina Children’s Law Center in its mock trial training sessions for the South Carolina Department of Social Services child welfare professionals; and I consider this work to be both consequential and a uniquely satisfying area in my practice of family law.
I have been a frequent guest lecturer, with prepared materials, at statewide South Carolina Bar/CLE Division seminars, at the Annual South Carolina Solicitors’ Conference and at local Bar-related programs, speaking on a variety of family law topics. For 2005 and 2006, I was the program coordinator and presenter for the Family Court Judges’ seminars at the Annual Judicial Conference.
I continue to practice family law, in various forms, under the umbrella of The Knobel Group, which includes my continuing as a certified family court mediator as Knobel Mediation Services, LLC, and, additionally, through Family Court Litigation Support Services and Early Neutral Evaluation Services.