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

Academic Catalog and Handbook

J.D. Program Course Descriptions

Required Courses are offered every academic year, but may not be offered every semester.

Elective upper-level course offerings vary from semester to semester and may include courses that are not listed in here.  

Required First Year Courses 

Contracts I and II, 510 and 515 (3 credit hours per semester)

The first semester is a study of the basic principles behind the creation and enforcement of contractual obligation. Included are fundamental notions of the enforceability of promises, offer and acceptance or other forms of mutual assent in creating a bargain, and the judicial enforcement of contractual and quasi-contractual obligations including the remedies available such as damages or equitable relief. The second semester continues the topics of the first semester with an emphasis on the law related to the sale and lease of goods, particularly as effected by the Uniform Commercial Code and related federal statutes.

Satisfactory completion of Contracts I is a prerequisite for Contracts II.
Property I and II, 530 and 535 (3 credit hours per semester)

A study of the basic concepts of real property law and conveyance, including historical background, estates in land including the fee simple, limitations on the fee such as the fee tail and modern equivalents, the life estate, the estate for a term of years, and other limited estates, concurrent ownership, future interests,  landlord and tenant, delivery, description, title covenants, and limitations on title such as agreements running with the land at law and in equity, easements, recording and title registration, and environmental concerns.

Satisfactory completion of Property I is a prerequisite for Property II.
Torts I and II, 540 and 545 (3 credit hours per semester)

The study of civil wrongs for which the common law provides a remedy in the form of an action for damages. Topics include intentional torts, negligence, common law strict liability, products liability, nuisance, invasion of privacy, defamation, business torts, and other basis for civil tort liability, damages, pleading and defending claims.

Satisfactory completion of Torts I is a prerequisite for Torts II.
Legal Research, Analysis and Writing I and II, 550 and 555 (3 credit hours per semester)

Introduction to use of a law library, practice-related technology, research experience in primary, secondary, and specialized sources of law, practice in proper legal citation form, instruction and practice in legal writing and analysis with primary emphasis on legal memoranda, the research and writing of pretrial motions and appellate briefs with emphasis on preparing and presenting arguments persuasively.

Satisfactory completion of LRAW I is a prerequisite for LRAW II.
Civil Procedure I and II, 560 and 565 (3 credit hours per semester)

An examination of the rules and statutes that govern the process by which substantive rights and duties are enforced in our federal and state courts. This includes consideration of the basic problems of civil procedure designed to acquaint students with the fundamental stages and concerns of litigation, e.g., jurisdiction, pleading, discovery, trial, choice of law, and multiparty actions. 

Satisfactory completion of Civil Procedure I is a prerequisite for Civil Procedure II.
Academic Skills 899 (1 credit hour) graded Pass/Fail

This course is designed to develop, enhance, and refine the classroom and exam skills necessary for success in the academic program, using an intensive problems-based approach. Students are required to take this course during their first academic year.

Required Second Year Courses

Criminal Law 520 (3 credit hours)

A study of substantive criminal law including offenses committed against society, individuals, property and social order as well as the elements of crime, mens reas, actus reus, criminal responsibility and capacity, justification, excuse and defenses, and punishment including sentencing schemes.

Criminal Procedure 525 (3 credit hours) 

A study of the procedural aspects of the criminal justice system including the law of arrest, search and seizure, police interrogation and the privilege against self-incrimination, with particular emphasis on the impact of the fourth, fifth, and sixth amendments to the United States Constitution and South Carolina criminal procedure.

Prerequisites: Civil Procedure I & II
Constitutional Law I 611 (3 credit hours)

A study of the basic principles of U.S. constitutional law, with a focus on governmental powers and the role of the Supreme Court in interpreting and enforcing constitutional norms, the nature and scope of judicial review, the case and controversy requirement and other limitations on constitutional adjudication, powers of the president and Congress, the separation of powers doctrine, and relationship of the national government to state governments and principles of federalism.

Prerequisites: Satisfactory completion of 18 credit hours
Constitutional Law II 612 (3 credit hours)

This course focuses on constitutionally protected individual rights and liberties. The topics covered include equal protection and due process, freedom of expression, and freedom of/from religion.

Evidence 6300 (4 credit hours)

A study of the rules governing the introduction of evidence in civil and criminal court proceedings. The course will give students a fundamental background in those rules as they are used in practice, including relevance, character evidence, impeachment, hearsay and its exceptions, the confrontation clause, expert testimony, foundation and authentication, and privileges. Students will also gain an understanding of the policy behind the use of evidence rules to promote the just administration of the laws.

Prerequisites: Civil Procedure I & II
Business Organizations 6405 (3 credit hours)

A study of the formation, structure, and characteristics of the various forms of doing business, including the law of agency and unincorporated business entities such as general partnerships, limited partnerships and limited liability partnerships, business corporations and limited liability companies.

Prerequisites: Contracts I & II
Legal Skills 7990 (2 credit hours), graded Pass/Fail

This course is 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 (MPT).

Students are required to take this course during their second year.
Professional Responsibility 797 (3 credit hours) or 7970 (2 credit hours) 

An introduction to professional responsibility with 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; (b) to enable students to think critically about what it means to be a professionally responsible lawyer. The course includes a variety of teaching techniques: lecture, discussion of typical MPRE questions, class discussion of realistic problems that lawyers encounter in practice, small group discussion, student presentations, and videos.

Prerequisites: Satisfactory completion of 18 credit hours

Required Third Year Courses

Bar Preparation 999 (3 credit hours), graded Pass/Fail

This course strives to prepare students for the Bar Exam by highlighting relative student strengths and weaknesses so that the time in commercial and post-graduate bar preparation may be more efficiently utilized; honing students’ organization, legal writing, and test-taking skills in a time-sensitive setting; introducing and integrating strategies for methodically and correctly analyzing and answering questions in the formats presented on the bar examination; and providing a framework for studying and practicing for the Bar Exam. Students are required to take this course in their final semester. 

Students receiving the distinction of Presidential Honors after successfully completing 27 credit hours are exempt from this requirement.
Sales 809 (3 credit hours)

A detailed study of transactions in goods under Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code.

Prerequisites: Contracts I & II
Secured Transactions 805 (3 credit hours)

A detailed review of the law that governs the creation and enforcement of security interests in personal property to secure the repayment of debt. This would include security agreements involving fixtures and personal property that is "fixed" to real property such as a home appliance. The course primarily concerns Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code. Other statutory liens which are generally not governed by Article 9 but by the individual statute that creates them will also be reviewed, as will bankruptcy and other laws that affect the enforcement of security interests.

Prerequisites: Contracts I & II, and satisfactory completion of 27 credit hours.
Wills, Trusts & Estates 6950 (4 credit hours)

A detailed study of the law governing the non-tax aspects of estate planning and gratuitous transfers of property, including: intestate succession, wills and will substitutes (creation, interpretation, and revocation), and trusts (creation, enforcement, revocation, and fiduciary administration), among other related materials.

Prerequisites: Property I & II