Judge Nancy Chapman McLin was born in Walterboro, South Carolina, on September 5, 1963. She attended public schools and graduated with honors from Brookland-Cayce High School, in 1981. She attended the University of South Carolina and received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration [Marketing and Management], on May 18, 1985. While in undergraduate school, she was on the Dean's List and was a member of the gymnastics club. She then received her Juris Doctor degree from the University of South Carolina, School of Law, on May 6, 1988. While in law school, she was a member of the student bar association and Phi Alpha Delta law fraternity. While in law school, she was employed as a law clerk for the Legal Department, South Carolina Electric & Gas.
After graduating from law school, Judge McLin was employed as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable William T. Howell, who was a Circuit Court Judge at that time and later was elected as the Chief Judge of the South Carolina Court of Appeals. She served as his law clerk from 1988 to 1990. Her employment as a judicial law clerk included assignments in the first, fifth, ninth, and fourteenth circuits. Upon entering private practice, she was employed with the law firm of Goodstein & Goodstein, P.A., in Summerville, South Carolina, and she remained employed by the Goodstein firm until she was elected as a Family Court Judge.
While in private practice, she served as the President of the Dorchester County Bar Association and was a board member of the Dorchester County Public Defender's Corporation from 1994 to 1996. She was the Chairperson for the Happy Homes Human Rights Committee from 1994 to 1998. Judge McLin was also a Panel Member of the First Judicial Circuit of the Resolution of Fee Dispute Board of the South Carolina Bar Association. She was previously a member of the Kiwanis of Summerville.
Judge McLin's previous memberships include the American Bar Association; American Trial Lawyers Association; Charleston Bar Association; Dorchester Bar Association; South Carolina Trial Lawyers Association; and Family Court Section, ABA.
On May 6, 1998, she was elected by the South Carolina General Assembly to the position of Family Court Judge for the First Judicial Circuit.