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The University of South Carolina School of Law, established in 1867, is located in Columbia, South Carolina. With a metropolitan population approaching 700,000, Columbia combines the advantages of a progressive, growing area with the pace of a smaller city. The School of Law is located two blocks from the state capitol building. As the seat of state government, Columbia is home to the South Carolina Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, federal district and bankruptcy courts, South Carolina criminal and civil courts, and courts of special jurisdiction. As part of a major research university, law students can take advantage of rich interdisciplinary opportunities and a lively social and athletic scene. Columbia residents enjoy easy access to the mountains and the beautiful South Carolina low country and coastal region. The School of Law is accredited by the American Bar Association and has been a member of the Association of American Law Schools since 1924.
Library and Academic Programs
Since its founding, the School of Law has provided outstanding preparation for law students. The curriculum combines traditional teaching methods and courses with modern, state-of-the-art instruction. The School of Law houses a major research library with a collection of more than 500,000 volumes and extensive computer-assisted research capabilities, including LexisNexis, Westlaw, Loislaw, HeinOnline, BNA, SSRN, and the online catalog. The library also includes the South Carolina Legal History Collection. Law students and faculty have access to the collection of the main university library, the Thomas Cooper Library. A highly skilled staff of librarians provides assistance and instruction in research and reference techniques. The library is open approximately 100 hours per week and for extended hours during the examination period. The computer lab and an electronic learning facility are also located within the library. Individual closed study carrels are available for assignment to students, and larger study rooms and open carrels are also available. A wireless computer network is available throughout the building and the law center.
The School of Law offers a full-time-only day program leading to the Juris Doctor degree. In order to earn the JD, a student must successfully complete 90 semester hours of coursework. In each semester, a student must register for a minimum of 12 credit hours. The School of Law offers one seven-week summer session each year.
In addition to all first-year courses, students are required to take Criminal Procedure, Professional Responsibility, a professional skills course, and a perspective course, and to satisfy an upper-level writing requirement. The School of Law offers advanced courses that allow detailed study in corporate and commercial law, tax and estate planning, environmental law, family law, international law, and litigation. The peer-assistance tutoring program provides academic support to first-year students, and numerous resources are available to assist students in succeeding academically.
The School of Law, in cooperation with other graduate programs at USC, currently offers dual JD and master's degrees in the following: International Business Administration, Human Resources, Accountancy, Economics, Public Administration, Criminology and Criminal Justice, Social Work, Earth and Environmental Resources Management, Mass Communication, and Health Services Policy and Management. The USC School of Law and Vermont Law School offer a dual degree in environmental law and policy, in which students may earn a JD from USC and a Master of Environmental Law and Policy degree from Vermont Law School in only three years.
Clinics, Public Service, and Special Programs
The School of Law recognizes that experiential learning in the area of professional skills is essential to a well-rounded legal education. Under special court rule, third-year law students in South Carolina may represent clients and appear in court when enrolled in a clinical legal education course. The clinical education program offers courses designed to develop critical lawyering skills. The program offers training in trial advocacy, interviewing, counseling, negotiation, alternative dispute resolution, and legal drafting. Clinics include criminal practice, veterans' rights, bankruptcy, federal litigation, and nonprofit organizations. Externships are available in children's law and foreign practice.
The Pro Bono Program, one of the longest operating programs of its type, has an outstanding national and local reputation. Under the leadership of a full-time director and a student board, the program offers students opportunities to work with a wide range of public interest organizations, including CASA, Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, the Homeless Legal Clinic, juvenile arbitration, the Greater Columbia Literacy Project, Project Ayuda, the Legal Justice Center, the public defenders' office, the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs, the South Carolina Office of Indigent Defense, and volunteer income tax assistance, among others.
The Law School's Children's Law Center provides training to professionals who work with children in the juvenile and family courts. The Nelson Mullins Riley and Scarborough Center on Professionalism at the Law School provides a professionalism series for first-year students and is a national leader in the development of mentoring programs to assist in the transition from law school to law practice. The National Advocacy Center and the National College of District Attorneys are located on the USC campus. The Advocacy Center, operated by the US Department of Justice, provides intensive training to approximately 15,000 federal prosecutors and attorneys from across the country. The National College of District Attorneys provides training to nearly 2,000 prosecutors.
The School of Law seeks to enroll qualified students who will enhance and embrace the school's rigorous educational environment and, as graduates, make positive societal contributions to South Carolina, the region, and the nation. In making decisions, the Faculty Committee on Admissions employs a holistic approach, taking into account all information available about each candidate. No single factor is conclusive. While undergraduate grades and the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) are important, the committee's decision is also influenced by other factors, including the applicant's personal statement, graduate study, military service, leadership and community service, employment or other life experience, residency, letters of recommendation, and potential for contribution to a diverse educational environment.
Scholarships and Financial Aid
While many students depend on federal and private student loans to help finance their legal education, the School of Law does offer scholarship assistance based both on merit and on financial need. Merit-based scholarships may range from $500 to full tuition. Awards are made on a rolling basis, typically beginning in March of each year. Candidates who want priority consideration for merit-based scholarships should make sure that the completed application and all supporting materials are received in the Office of Admissions no later than February 1. There is no separate application for merit-based scholarships. Applicants who wish to be considered for need-based scholarships or loans should submit the FAFSA.
To access the Academic Calendar for the 2013-2014 school year, please click here: http://law.sc.edu/registrar/downloads/academic_calendar/20132014.pdf
To access the degree requirements for the USC School of Law, please click here: http://law.sc.edu/registrar/handbook/section_003.pdf
To learn more about where the USC School of Law is located, or to see floor plans for the building, please click here: http://law.sc.edu/about/directions.shtml
Office of Career Services
The Office of Career Services serves as a liaison between students and legal employers and offers services to equip students with the skills and information necessary for a successful employment search. The Office of Career Services uses Symplicity. Services available include individual counseling, résumé writing and interviewing seminars, on-campus interviews, and participation in job fairs. The School of Law regularly participates in the Southeastern Law Placement Consortium in Atlanta; the Mid-Atlantic Legal Recruiting Conference in Washington, DC; the Southeastern Minority Job Fair; the Patent Law Interview Program in Chicago; the Southeastern Legal Hiring Conference; and the National Public Interest Career Fair.
The School of Law publishes the South Carolina Law Review; the ABA Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Journal; the Southeastern Environmental Law Journal; the Journal of Law and Education; and the South Carolina Journal of International Law and Business. Moot court and mock trial teams are sponsored in national, international, ABA, and various other competitions. Students who have obtained high academic achievement are eligible for membership in the Order of the Coif, a national legal honorary society, and the Order of the Wig and Robe, a local scholastic organization founded in 1935. The Peer Mentoring Program pairs each first-year student with an upper-class student to help with the transition to law school. Student organizations include the Student Bar Association; Black Law Students Association; Women in Law; SALSA, the Hispanic Law Students Association; APALSA, the Asian Pacific Law Students Association; Christian Legal Society; Environmental Law Society; Children's Advocacy Law Society; Federalist Society; Health Law Society; Intellectual Property Law Society; James L. Petigru Public Interest Law Society; Just Democracy; International Law Society; OutLaw; Sports and Entertainment Law Society; Law School Democrats; Law School Republicans; national law fraternities Phi Alpha Delta and Phi Delta Phi; Service Members and Veterans in Law; and the American Constitution Society, among others.
Applicant profile information for the University of South Carolina School of Law can be found in the Full Report.
Credit for Courses Outside the Law School
With prior permission of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, second and third year students may take for Law School credit, up to two (2) courses or six (6) hours of credit in another department of the University. Only graduate (500 level and up) courses are acceptable.
Grades in all such courses shall be recorded on a Pass/Fail basis, with a grade of below C being recorded as a Failure.
DUAL-DEGREE PROGRAM: A student in a dual-degree program may apply 9 graduate credit hours from the other program towards the student’s J.D. degree. Similarly, students may apply 6 to 12 hours (depending upon the program) of Law School credit toward the other graduate degree. The hours transfer as pass/fail credits.
Even if admitted to more than one dual degree program, a student may not apply more than a total of 9 graduate credit hours toward the J.D. degree.
The courses which are transferred into Law School must have been begun subsequent to being admitted to Law School. In other words, courses completed prior to being admitted to Law School will not count toward a dual degree.
2L Transfer Students
Students may transfer from another ABA accredited law school to the University of South Carolina School of Law.
Most first year courses will transfer if a grade of “C” or better is earned. An official determination is made after the law school transcript is reviewed by the Law Registrar. No more than 30 credit hours will be accepted for credit toward the 90 hours required for graduation. may transfer. The cumulative GPA is converted, if necessary, to USC’s 4.0 scale. Numerical grades are converted to letter grades. Grades earned at a transfer student’s former school in courses accepted for transfer credit will be included in computing the transfer student’s cumulative grade point average.
During the first year a transfer student is enrolled at the Law School the student will not be awarded a class rank. Upon the completion of two full semesters at the Law School a transfer student will be awarded a class rank computed on the basis of all law school grades earned at both the Law School and the student’s former school.
Summer School/Visiting Other Law Schools
With approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, students may complete course work at another ABA/AALS approved law school and transferring the credit for such work towards the granting of a J.D. degree from the USC School of Law.
Students must take courses at another law school on a graded basis if the course is offered on that basis. Grades in these courses will be recorded on a student’s USC transcript on a Pass/Fail basis. Only grades of C or better will be recorded as a Pass . Grades of C or better will be recorded on the student’s transcript as a S and any grade below a C will be recorded as an F. “Incomplete” or its equivalent will be recorded as an F if the work is not completed within three months of the end of classes for the session involved.
Courses taken at another law school affect the number of credit hours a student may earn on a Pass/Fail basis at the Law School.
The refund policy is set by the University and and may be found here: www.sc.edu/bursar/refunds.shtml.
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