Judge William J. Wylie, Jr. was born in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and grew up in Brazil where his parents served as Presbyterian missionaries. He returned to South Carolina after graduating from high school to attend college.
Judge Wylie graduated from Erskine College in 1981 with a Bachelor of Arts in history. Before entering the University of South Carolina School of Law, he spent a year in a variety of jobs, including working as a clerk in a toy store and driving a truck. Judge Wylie received his juris doctor degree in 1985, and moved to Summerville to form the law firm of Polito and Wylie.
While practicing law, primarily in the field of domestic relations, Judge Wylie also served as a member of the Neighborhood Legal Assistance Program's board of directors, was chairman of the Dorchester Public Defender Corporation, and president of the Oakbrook Lions Club. In 1989, Judge Wylie was appointed by the Governor as a part-time magistrate in a position approved by Dorchester County Council to serve both as a trial judge and resource person for the non-lawyer magistrates in the county.
In 1992, Judge Wylie was elected Dorchester County Probate Judge and left the private practice of law. He served as president of the South Carolina Probate Judges Association, continued his service as a senior high Youth Advisor, and was elected to the Charleston - Atlantic Presbyterian Judicial Council. During his years in the Probate Court, Judge Wylie was active in efforts to improve the operations of Dorchester County government, serving on a number of advisory committees at the request of the County Administrator. He also served as a Special Referee in a variety of civil cases.
In 1998, Judge Wylie was elected by the General Assembly to the position of resident judge for the Family Court for the First Judicial Circuit. Judge Wylie has been a member of the South Carolina Bar Association, American Bar Association, American Trial Lawyers Association, National College of Probate Judges, and Dorchester County Bar Association. He is admitted to practice in all South Carolina trial courts, and the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina.