When one thinks of South Carolina, antebellum mansions and mint juleps come to mind, but that image is only a small snapshot of what the state really has to offer. The state is home to some of the best beach resorts in the country, not to mention fabulous gardens, historic sites, and the genteel charm of the population. If you are looking for a place to go to law school that has a mixture of southern charm and sandy beaches, then South Carolina may be the place for you. You will have two choices: University of South Carolina School of Law or Charleston School of Law.
The University of South Carolina (USC) School of Law is located in the heart of the state in Columbia, the capital of the state. It is a city of stately historic buildings right next to thoroughly modern ones. It is a city buzzing of excitement and there is always something to do, should the busy law student find time for extracurricular activities.
The USC School of Law is one of the nation's oldest law schools having been established in 1866. During its first decade, it produced 40 lawyers, including some of the first African American lawyers in the country.
The school is accredited by the American Bar Association. As part of the the approval process, the ABA requires each school to disclose basic facts each in year in reports called the Standard 509 report. These reports can be obtained from the ABA. The 2016 report shows that USC School of Law is a public school with 615 full-time law students in attendance. The tuition is below average for an in-state student, but more expensive for non-residents, close to the upper range for U.S. Law schools. The school accepts LSAT scores between 151 and 157. The 2016 standard report shows the bar pass rate for first-time takers of the South Carolina bar to be about 79%. The school is a second tier law school, according to the U.S. News Law School ranking.
USC School of Law offers a JD program with all of the basic legal courses you will find in any law school, but in addition, there are opportunities to focus on particular areas such as Business Law, Family Law, Environmental Law, Health Law, Intellectual Property Law, Litigation and Taxation. There is also the chance to obtain a JD while pursuing a masters degree in a variety of areas. There are also special summer programs that include study in London in the Inns of Court and a Coastal Law Field Lab.
Charleston School of Law (CS Law) is located in Charleston, the oldest and largest city in South Carolina. The city is located on the coast, at the mid-point of the state. It is a city rich in the history of America having been founded in 1670 and the location where the U.S. Civil War began. It is full of well preserved and beautiful buildings that speak of its long history. But perhaps Charleston's greatest treasure is its residents who have regularly who have regularly earned titles of "the most friendly" and the "the most polite."
It is a rather old institution tracing it roots back to 1825, but it is a recent (2006) addition to the American Bar Association approved law school list. The ABA standard disclosure information report shows that the school has a student body of 364 full-time law students. The tuition is slightly above average for all U.S. law schools. The LSAT acceptance range is from 141 to 149. The school's 2016 reported bar pass rate for first time takers of the South Carolina bar was 62%. Charleston School of Law is not ranked by U.S. News & World Report in it's law school ranking system.
The school states that its mission is to prepare law students to provide public service while pursuing productive and responsible careers. They hope to accomplish this goal by providing the standard required legal subjects as well as offering a clinical externship program, where students assist attorneys on real cases. To further the law student's career goals, the school offers specific course tracks that include areas of business and legal specializations.
Tips for Law School and Beyond
Whether or not you decide you to make your way to South Carolina, you will no doubt want to investigate FindLaw's Law Student section website. It contains many articles that offer tips and advice to help select a school, choose classes, take the bar exam, and go onto your first job. New articles are being added all of the time, so check the Law Student section site often.