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

Academic Catalog and Handbook

Curriculum Tracks and Qualifying Designations Overview

Charleston School of Law’s first-year curriculum and required upper-level courses provide students with a broad and varied foundation in the substantive law and the skills essential to effective legal practice.  Students may build on this foundation by exploring curriculum tracks in a particular practice area.

Students may also be eligible for a qualifying designation on their transcript in three practice areas: Criminal Practice, Public Policy and Service, or Civil Litigation and Dispute Resolution.

The requirements for the qualifying specialization designation are:

  • Successful completion of the minimum number of classes from each of the below three categories, with the final grade of “B” or better in each qualifying course:
    • core classes,
    • key electives, and
    • skills courses.
  • Successful completion of the upper level writing requirement on a topic within the course track area of specialization.
  • Successful participation in an oral discussion with a panel of no more than three professors to discuss, defend, and articulate their upper level writing requirement.

Upon successful completion of the above requirements for the curriculum track or specialization, a specialization designation will be noted on the student’s transcript.

**Please note: students are responsible for requesting to be considered for a designation before graduation. 

For questions, please contact the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, academics@charlestonlaw.edu, or 843.377.2420.

Criminal Practice

This track provides students who plan to enter criminal practice with a broad background in key areas as well as subjects relevant to more specialized practice.  This track applies equally to those interested in criminal defense and criminal prosecution.

**Please note: not all courses will be offered every semester or every academic year. Furthermore, these course lists may be updated to include additional new courses or to remove courses no longer offered.

For questions, please contact the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, academics@charlestonlaw.edu, or 843.377.2420.

Requirements for the Qualifying Designation:

  • Successful completion of any 2 courses in the below categories with a grade of “B” or better (asterisk denotes a course required for graduation):
  • Core Classes
    • Criminal Law (520)*
    • Criminal Procedure (525)*
    • Evidence (6300)*
    • Constitutional Law I & II (611 & 612)*
    • Criminal Procedure: The Post-Investigative Process (6260)
    • Advanced Evidence (7733 or 7734)
    • Professional Responsibility (797 or 7970)*
  • Key Electives
    • White Collar/Corporate Crime (915)
    • Psychiatry and the Law (752)
    • Capital Punishment (813)
    • War Crimes and Courts-Martial (848)
    • Understanding Criminal Sentence: A Study of Incarceration and Alternatives (707)
  • Skills Courses
    • Trial Advocacy (690)
    • Advanced Legal Research (716)
    • Externship (public defender or solicitor’s office), at least 2 credit hours
  • Successful completion of the Upper-Level Writing Requirement on a topic relevant to Criminal Practice
  • Oral defense of the paper in front of a panel of professors

Public Policy and Service

This track offers foundational courses and substantive electives for students interested in pursuing a career in state or local government, nonprofits and other public policy jobs.

**Please note: not all courses will be offered every semester or every academic year. Furthermore, these course lists may be updated to include additional new courses or to remove courses no longer offered.

For questions, please contact the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, academics@charlestonlaw.edu, or 843.377.2420.

Requirements for the Qualifying Designation:

  • Successful completion of any 2 courses in the below categories with a grade of “B” or better (asterisk denotes a course required for graduation):
  • Core Classes
    • Legal Research, Analysis & Writing I & II (550 & 555)*
    • Constitutional Law I& II  (611 & 612)*
    • Employment Law (768)
  • Key Electives
    • Children and the Law (823S)
    • SC Family Law (662)
    • Land Use Planning (785)
    • Higher Education Law (821)
    • Employment Discrimination Law (769)
  • Skills Courses
    • Pleadings and Practice (789)
    • Advanced Legal Research (716)
    • Elder Law Practicum (712)
  • Successful completion of the Upper-Level Writing Requirement on a topic relevant to Public Policy and Service
  • Oral defense of the paper in front of a panel of professors.

Civil Litigation and Dispute Resolution

This track offers foundational courses and substantive electives for students interested in pursuing a career in state or local government, nonprofits and other public policy jobs.

**Please note: not all courses will be offered every semester or every academic year. Furthermore, these course lists may be updated to include additional new courses or to remove courses no longer offered.

For questions, please contact the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, academics@charlestonlaw.edu, or 843.377.2420.

Requirements for the Qualifying Designation:

  • Successful completion of any 2 courses in the below categories with a grade of “B” or better (asterisk denotes a course required for graduation):
  • Core Classes
    • Arbitration Practice (641)
    • Insurance Law (680 or 679)
    • Torts I & II (540 & 545)*
    • Evidence (630 or 6300)*
    • Civil Procedure I & II (560 & 565)*
    • Professional Responsibility (797 or 7970)*
  • Key Electives
    • Conflict of Laws (760)
    • Remedies (669)
    • Employment Discrimination Law (769)
    • Employment Law (768)
    • Workers Compensation (830)
  • Skills Courses
    • Pleadings & Practice (789)
    • Advanced Legal Research (716)
    • Externship (judicial), at least 2 credit hours
    • Trial Advocacy (690)
    • Advanced Torts: Navigating a Typical Negligence Claim (856)
    • Legal Technology for Practice (7280)
    • Products Liability (795)
  • Successful completion of the Upper-Level Writing Requirement on a topic relevant to Civil Litigation and Dispute Resolution.
  • Oral defense of the paper in front of a panel of professors.

Maritime Concentration Designation

Graduating J.D. students with 12 or more credit hours in maritime designated courses (Admiralty I and II are required for this designation) will earn the Maritime Concentration designation. J.D. students graduating with a grade point average of at least 3.3 in maritime designated courses may receive an honors designation in maritime law.  Please note: students are responsible for requesting to be considered for this designation before graduation.