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

Academic Catalog and Handbook

Clinics

Students can earn academic credit by participating in clinics. Students are limited to participation in two clinics for academic credit. In addition, students are prohibited from receiving academic credit for an externship and a clinic in the same semester. Please note: each clinic may not be offered every semester. 

The Access to Justice Clinics -  The Charleston Pro Bono Housing Clinic, the South Carolina Legal Services Domestic Violence Clinic, the Charleston Pro Bono Family Law Clinic, and the Parole Clinic - described below, will involve students in the direct representation of homeless, indigent, poor, and disadvantaged persons. Students may assist in the representation of  clients in the context of legal issues and litigation involving  matters such as,  landlord-tenant, eviction, housing, disability benefits of various types, family court, criminal charges in municipal and magistrate courts, drafting of wills, and the like. Students will learn first-hand what kinds of issues routinely face those persons at or near poverty or working-poor status. Students may assist professors in court or at agency hearings with the representation of clients. Students may also assist with the preparation of pleadings, motions, briefs, correspondence, and other memoranda necessary to the representation. Students may assist with  client in-take and other interviews necessary to prepare the clients and witnesses for various hearings. Students will participate in a weekly seminar and in approximately 11 hours per week in clinical work, for a total of at least 150 hours of clinical work.  

The Street Law Clinic, described below, will involve clinic students teaching a law class to students in Title I schools in the Charleston area.

The Mediation Clinic, described below, will involve students in assisting in mediating disputes in situations where at least one party falls into a specific category of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.  

The Access to Justice Clinic: Homelessness Justice Project (course number 6454) is currently on hiatus.

Street Law Clinic (6452, 3 credits)

Satisfies the Skills Requirement

Law Students in the Street Law Clinic will teach a weekly class at a Title-I School in the Lowcountry. Title-I Schools are those schools with a high number or high percentage of children who live in low-income families. These students and their families embody the underrepresented in the legal profession. After receiving training in law-related education, the Law Students will construct learner-centered lessons in law, designed to develop the critical thinking and cognitive skills of High School students. The curriculum focuses on developing an understanding of the law, the legal process, the United States system of government, and effective citizenship.  Law Students and High School Students will examine the role of law, Courts, fairness, and equality in our State and in our country. The Law Students will teach law courses to high school students; prepare detailed lesson plans, note-taking guides, and assessments; evaluate high school students’ work; and assign grades to the high school students.

Prerequisites: Civil Procedure I & II, Contracts I & II, Legal Research, Analysis and Writing I & II,  and Torts I & II. Students must also be in good academic standing and have earned at least 28 credits.

Additional information about the Street Law Clinic:

  • Academic Credit earned through the Street Law Clinic satisfies the Skills Requirement. 
  • Students will be graded on a letter grade basis. 
  • Once enrolled in the Street Law Clinic, students may only withdraw from the course for extraordinary circumstances.

Charleston Pro Bono Family Law Clinic (6453, 3 credits)

Satisfies the Skills Requirement

Charleston Pro Bono Legal Services ("CPBLS") provides free civil legal services to low-income residents of Charleston County. Family law issues such as divorce, custody and visitation, child support, spousal support, and birth certificate issues including delayed or amended birth certificates and minor and adult name changes are legal issues addressed by CPBLS attorneys. In partnership with Charleston Pro Bono Legal Services ("CPBLS"), students can take part in a Family Law Clinic in an effort to assist low-income families with their legal needs in these areas. 

Students participating in the clinic will get hands-on experience in family law. The program will include participation in client intake including eligibility determination and fact gathering, preparation of pleadings, affidavits, and other legal documents, and client follow-up to guide the client through their legal process. There will also be courtroom observation opportunities. As case load permits, students may have the opportunity to represent clients in Family Court under the supervision of an attorney at CPBLS.  Students will receive contemporaneous weekly lectures on South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure, Family Court, and Evidence as well as statutory and case law on-site at CPBLS.

Students are required to attend a weekly seminar and to complete 150 hours of clinical work (approximately 11 hours/week during the semester). 

Prerequisites: Students must be in good academic standing and have completed at least 45 credits. The student must be eligible to practice under the Student Practice Rule, S.C. App. Ct. Rule 401

Additional information about the Charleston Pro Bono Family Law Clinic:

  • Academic credit earned through this clinic satisfies the Skills Requirement.
  • Students will be graded on a letter grade basis.
  • Once enrolled in the Access to Justice Clinic, students may only withdraw from the course for extraordinary circumstances. 

Charleston Pro Bono Housing Clinic (6456, 3 credits)

Satisfies the Skills Requirement

Charleston Pro Bono Legal Services ("CPBLS") provides free civil legal services to low-income residents of Charleston County. Housing issues and eviction prevention in particular are legal issues addressed by CPBLS attorneys. In partnership with Charleston Pro Bono Legal Services ("CPBLS"), students can take part in a Housing Clinic in an effort to assist low-income families with their housing-related legal needs. 

Students participating in the clinic will get hands-on experience in public interest law, specifically housing law. The program will include outreach in low-income communities; client intake including eligibility determination and fact gathering to support our in-house and volunteer attorneys by assisting in the preparation of pleadings, affidavits, and other legal documents. There will also be courtroom observation opportunities along with in-house sessions provided by Charleston attorneys. Students will have the opportunity to represent clients in Housing Court under the supervision of an attorney at CPBLS.  Students will receive contemporaneous weekly lectures on the SC Residential Landlord-Tenant Act among other housing-related case law on-site at CPBLS.

Students are required to attend a weekly seminar and to complete 150 hours of clinical work (approximately 11 hours/week during the semester). 

Prerequisites: Students must be in good academic standing and have completed at least 45 credits. The student must also be eligible to practice under the Student Practice Rule, S.C. App. Ct. Rule 401

Additional information about the Charleston Pro Bono Housing Clinic: 

  • Academic credit earned through this clinic satisfies the Skills Requirement.
  • Students will be graded on a letter grade basis.
  • Once enrolled in the Access to Justice Clinic, students may only withdraw from the course for extraordinary circumstances. 

South Carolina Legal Services Domestic Violence Clinic (6457 3 credits) 

Satisfies the Skills Requirement

South Carolina Legal Services (SCLS) is a statewide non-profit law firm that provides free legal services to residents and families in South Carolina that are at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. The SCLS Domestic Violence Clinic focuses on the skills necessary for client representation, the ethical issues that arise in cases, and the roles of attorney and counselor. Students participating in this clinic will represent victims of domestic violence in Order of Protection (OOP) hearings under the supervision of clinical professors who are licensed to practice law in South Carolina.

Students undertake all steps necessary to prepare for court hearings. Students interview clients, review court documents from related cases or prior proceedings, prepare direct and cross examination, make strategic decisions, and draft documents. OOPs available to clients include a broad spectrum of relief designed to effectively end the abuse in an intimate relationship. An OOP may order the respondent to stop assaulting and threatening the client, to stay away from the client, the client’s home, and the client’s workplace, vacate the shared residence, and a no contact order. The order may also resolve family law issues, including an award of temporary custody of the parties’ children, visitation rights for the non-custodial parent, and child support awards.

Domestic Violence cases typically involve working with clients who are in highly stressful life situations, who often have negative experiences with the justice system, and who may need to make major life changes in order to maintain their own safety and that of their children, if any. Students learn how to integrate a systemic perspective on domestic violence law into individual representation and also have the satisfaction of helping raise the standards of domestic violence practice in the Charleston County Family Court.

Students are required to attend a weekly seminar and to complete 150 hours of clinical work (approximately 11 hours/week during the semester). 

Prerequisites: Students must be in good academic standing and have completed at least 45 credits. The student must also be eligible to practice under the Student Practice Rule, S.C. App. Ct. Rule 401

Additional information about the South Carolina Legal Services Domestic Violence Clinic:

  • Academic credit earned through this clinic satisfies the Skills Requirement.
  • Students will be graded on a letter grade basis.
  • Once enrolled in the Access to Justice Clinic, students may only withdraw from the course for extraordinary circumstances. 

The Parole Clinic (6458, 3 credits)

Satisfies the Skills Requirement

The primary focus of the Parole Clinic is to provide students with the opportunity to represent clients who are in the custody of the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) in their parole hearings. As part of this representation, students will have the opportunity to gather pre-hearing materials; interact with SCDC staff to set up legal calls with parole clients; communicate regularly with parole client, either virtually or in person, to obtain information, explain the parole process and answer any questions that may arise during the semester; reach out to parole client’s family, friends, and other points of contact to request letters of support and/or in-person testimony for the hearing;  to speak with any attorneys who may have represented parole client in the past (if any); draft a statement of support for parole client, including a summary of the client’s life prior to incarceration, an explanation of the crime(s) for which he/she has been convicted, a description of client’s behavior and accomplishments while incarcerated and a persuasive argument in favor of granting parole; and, prepare client for parole hearing by reviewing important case information and rehearsing statements with clients.  Students may also gain experience by assisting with drafting and filing appeals on a select number of parole denials.

Prerequisites: Students must be in good academic standing and have completed at least 45 credits. The student must also be eligible to practice under the Student Practice Rule, S.C. App. Ct. Rule 401

Additional information about the Parole Clinic: 

  1. Academic credit earned through this clinic satisfies the Skills Requirement.
  2. Students will be graded on a letter grade basis.
  3. Once enrolled in the Access to Justice Clinic, students may only withdraw from the course for extraordinary circumstances. 

Mediation Clinic (6459, 3 credits)

Satisfies the Skills Requirement

The Mediation Clinic focuses on acquiring skills and engaging in experiential learning necessary for conducting effective mediation within and outside the legal system. The clinic introduces mediation as a powerful alternative to litigation, including foundational principles of confidentiality, neutrality, voluntary engagement, self-empowerment, and informed consent, while clarifying and emphasizing roles of attorney, advocate and counselor during the process.  Students participating in the clinic will serve as mediators in civil and community cases under the supervision of clinical professors who are attorneys licensed to practice law in South Carolina. 

As part of the experiential learning process, students will undertake all steps necessary to prepare, conduct and conclude the mediation session(s), including review of associated court or case documents, preparation and information gathering with and from parties, conducting introductory,  exploration, bargaining, options evaluation, agreement writing and final reporting phases of the mediation session(s), and identifying next steps. Students engage directly with parties and counsel, directing the mediation process to ensure a sustainable outcome. Students help parties reach mutual agreement, all the while demonstrating empathy, emotional skills and ability to effectively distill and deal with issues in a manner which helps lead parties to agreement, while avoiding the further uncertainty and costs of litigation or preempting litigation altogether. 

The weekly seminar will cover mediation, both civil and community cases including family,  magistrate, court of common pleas, probate, US district and heirs’ property mediation cases. Lectures will include basic elements of an introductory mediation course and will include in-depth role plays and a review of the state of South Carolina mediation rules.

Students are required to attend a weekly seminar and to complete 150 hours of clinical work (approximately 11 hours/week during the semester). 

Prerequisites: Students must be in good academic standing and have completed at least 45 credits. The student must also be eligible to practice under the Student Practice Rule, S.C. App. Ct. Rule 401

Additional information about the Mediation Clinic: 

  1. Academic credit earned through this clinic satisfies the Skills Requirement.
  2. Students will be graded on a letter grade basis.
  3. Once enrolled in the Access to Justice Clinic, students may only withdraw from the course for extraordinary circumstances.