Skip to Main Content

Charleston School of Law Juris Doctor Program Catalog and Student Handbook 2023-2024

Academic Catalog and Handbook

Course of Study

The Charleston School of Law offers a course of study with full-time and part-time enrollment options leading to a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree. It is expected that students enrolled in full-time credits will graduate in three years and students enrolled in part-time credits will graduate in four years. Students accepted for the spring will begin classes in early January. Full-time students who enroll in the spring semester will be on track to graduate in 2.5 years; spring start students are required to take summer courses during their first summer of enrollment. 

Questions regarding the Charleston School of Law academic program or any academic policy should be addressed to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Margaret M. Lawton. The office is located in Suite 321, 385 Meeting Street, 843.377.2420.

Information about Bar Admission Requirements

Students are reminded that in addition to a bar examination, there are character, fitness, and other qualifications for admission to the bar in every U.S. jurisdiction.  Students are encouraged to determine the requirements for any jurisdiction in which they intend to seek admission by contacting that jurisdiction immediately.  It is the student’s responsibility to understand and be aware of the requirements for any jurisdiction in which the student wishes to take the bar exam and to gain admission to practice law.  Addresses for all relevant agencies are available through the National Conference of Bar Examiners [NCBE]. It is also the student’s responsibility to be aware of deadlines for applications to take the bar exam.

If you need to provide an update to the Character and Fitness or other sections of your law school application, you must first schedule a meeting with Dean Jacqueline Bell, Associate Dean for Admission and Financial Aid.

For information about applying to the South Carolina Bar or any other jurisdiction, please contact Michele Berger, Assistant Dean for Academic and Bar Success.

Information about the Bar Examination.

The National Conference of Bar Examiners [NCBE], the agency that develops licensing tests for bar admission, has announced that a new bar exam – the “NextGen Bar Exam” – will be administered starting in July 2026.  As noted on the NCBE’s website, this new version will “test a broad range of foundational lawyering skills, utilizing a focused set of clearly identified legal concepts and principles needed in today’s practice of law.”  As part of its ongoing review of the curriculum, the Charleston School of Law faculty has been considering and will continue to consider whether any changes to the strong core curriculum at the Law School need to be made to prepare our graduates for this new bar exam.

Information for Students Interested in Taking the New York State Bar Exam

For students commencing study after August 1, 2016, who plan to apply for admission to the New York State Bar, please review information about the Skills Competency and Professional Values Bar Admission Requirement as well as the Charleston School of Law’s requirements for certification under this rule [see below]. 

Charleston School of Law's Requirement for Certification of the New York State Bar Professional Skills Competency for JD Students

Students who plan to sit for the New York Bar Exam should be aware that Section 520.18 of the NY Court of Appeals Rules for the Admission of Attorneys and Counselors at Law requires an applicant who seeks admission to the New York Bar to establish that he or she “possesses the skills and values necessary to provide effective, ethical and responsible legal services” in the state of New York.  This requirement is applicable to students who begin their program of study after August 1, 2016.

Under this “skills competency” component of the New York bar, applicants must satisfy one of five subdivisions or pathways.  Section 520.18(1) [also known as Pathway One] allows an applicant to submit certification from the law school confirming that:

(a) the law school has developed a plan identifying and incorporating into its curriculum the skills and professional values that, in the school’s judgment, are required for its graduates’ basic competence and ethical participation in the legal profession, as required by American Bar Association Standards and Rules of Procedure for the Approval of Law Schools Standard 302(b), (c) and (d), and has made this plan publicly available on the law school’s website; and (b) the applicant has acquired sufficient competency in those skills and sufficient familiarity with those values.

The Charleston School of Law has adopted the following Learning Outcomes:

  1. Graduates shall demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the fundamental principles of the substantive and procedural law regarded as necessary to effective, competent, and responsible participation in the legal profession.
  1. Graduates shall demonstrate the ability to identify, understand, and resolve ethical and professional issues in light of the ethical principles and rules that govern the legal profession.
  1. Graduates shall demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the law as a public profession calling for the performance of pro bono services.
  1. Graduates shall demonstrate the ability to conduct legal research and analysis; to engage in legal reasoning and problem-solving; and to effectively communicate both orally and in writing.
  1. Graduates shall demonstrate competency in professional skills necessary for effective participation as a member of the legal profession.

Therefore, for students who seek certification for the New York Bar pursuant to Pathway One, the Charleston School of Law will certify a student as having basic competence and the ability to participate ethically in the legal profession if the student:

  1. Successfully completes the School’s Orientation Course for first-year students;
  1. Successfully completes the following graduation requirements:
    1. The six-credit hour first-year Legal Research, Analysis and Writing course, which includes simulations in trial and appellate advocacy, as well as writing trial and appellate level briefs;
  1. The Upper-Level Writing Requirement, which requires, under faculty supervision, the completion of a substantial scholarly research paper;
  1. The Experiential Courses Requirement, which requires completion of at least six credits of experiential courses and is satisfied through:
    • The Skills Course Requirement, which can be satisfied by taking at least designated “Skills” course;
    • The Drafting Course Requirement, which can be satisfied by taking at least one designated “Drafting” course, which is a course with the primary objective to instruct in how to successfully draft legal documents; and,
    • The Legal Skills Course, which is a two-credit hour course designed to develop skills necessary for the practice of law, including but not limited to: reviewing, understanding, and synthesizing discovery responses; drafting client letters; drafting persuasive and objective briefs; and performing variations of these tasks under the timed conditions required by the Multi-State Performance Test;
  1. The Professional Responsibility Course, which is a three or two-credit hour course having the following goals: (a) to teach the basic rules and doctrines of professional responsibility that students will need to practice law and to pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility examination; and, (b) to enable students to think critically about what it means to be a professional responsible lawyer.
  1. The Professional Identity Formation (Professionalism) Series Requirement, which is designed to present students with a wide array of speakers who will provide students with real-world insight into the role of professionalism in the field of law; and,
  1. The Pro Bono Requirement, which is designed to instill within students a commitment to public service. [Please note: pursuant to Section 520.16 of the NY Court of Appeals Rules for the Admission of Attorneys and Counselors at Law applicants must have completed at least 50 hours of qualifying pro bono service prior to filing an application for admission with the appropriate Appellate Division department of the Supreme Court.]