Charleston School of Law: Wikis


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Charleston School of Law
Motto Pro Bono Populi
Established 2003
Type Private Law School
Dean Andy Abrams
Location Charleston, South Carolina, USA
Colors Charleston green, gold, and purple

The Charleston School of Law (CSOL) is a private, for-profit law school in Charleston, South Carolina. The Charleston School of Law is one of only two law schools in South Carolina, the other being the University of South Carolina School of Law.



Despite Charleston's having been the early capital of South Carolina and the location of the first college in the state, no modern law school existed in the city until 2003. In November 1825, a group of Charleston attorneys had petitioned the South Carolina General Assembly for a charter of incorporation for the creation of a regular "Law Institute" in Charleston and a law library. They had also established a lectureship on the law. In December 1825, the legislature granted a charter, and the Forensic Club began offering lectures on the law in February 1826. The Forensic Club operated for two years, but it never took the form of a modern law school.

In 2002, prominent Charleston judges and attorneys started to work on establishing a law school in Charleston. The school would be the first organized effort to offer instruction in the law in Charleston since the dissolution of the Forensic Club in 1828. The five Founders were Judge Alex Sanders (a former president of the College of Charleston and former Chief Judge of the South Carolina Court of Appeals), Ed Westbrook, Judge Robert Carr (a federal magistrate judge), Judge George Kosko (a federal magistrate judge until 2008[1]), and Ralph McCullough. In 2003, the S.C. Commission on Higher Education granted a license to allow the Charleston School of Law to start accepting students in the fall of 2004.[2]

In South Carolina, only graduates of ABA accredited law schools may sit for the bar exam. Students graduating from a provisionally accredited law school enjoy the full rights guaranteed to fully accredited schools, including the right to sit for the bar exam.[3] Nevertheless, because provisional accreditation cannot be achieved in less than three years, the length of law school, time was of the essence. In October 2005, the American Bar Association sent a special delegation to review the progress of the law school.[4] In April 2006, the American Bar Association's Accreditation Committee recommended provisional accreditation, but the final authority (the ABA's Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar) deferred a vote on the committee's recommendation until December 2006. The school was asked to address questions related to the for-profit institution's governance, library resources, and commitment to diversity. The delay was a problem since the deadline for registering for the bar exam was January 2007. On December 2, 2006, however, the law school announced that the ABA had granted provisional accreditation, the highest level of accreditation available at that time; full accreditation cannot be granted until a school has been in operation for five years.[5]

On May 19, 2007, the first class of 186 students graduated at a ceremony held at the Citadel.[6] Former South Carolina U.S. senator Ernest Hollings delivered the main remarks. He, South Carolina Chief Justice Jean H. Toal and Fourth Circuit Chief Judge William Walter Wilkins received honorary degrees. With the blessing of the descendents of the organizers of the original Forensic Club, the Charleston School of Law organized an honorary society known as the Forensic Club. In its current form, up to four students are inducted into the group each year from the graduating class based on the recommendation of the faculty and approval by the Founders. The first four inductees were Cameron Blazer, M. Brooks Derrick, Charles Marchbanks, and Jeff Yungman.[7]


Full-time 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Applications N/A 952 835 912 N/A 2050
Accepted N/A 32% 38% 35% N/A 38%
Enrolled N/A 138 137 130 N/A 190
75% LSAT/GPA N/A 155/3.48 155/3.41* 157/3.51 N/A 156/3.43
Median LSAT/GPA N/A 152/3.08 154/3.16* 155/3.20 N/A 154/3.20
25% LSAT/GPA N/A 150/2.79 152/2.81* 153.2.96 N/A 151/2.95
Part-time 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Applications N/A N/A 250 250 N/A 350
Accepted N/A N/A 33% 44% N/A 31%
Enrolled N/A N/A 62 66 N/A 52
75% LSAT/GPA N/A N/A 155/3.41* 153/3.43 N/A 153/3.30
Median LSAT/GPA N/A N/A 154/3.16* 150/3.08 N/A 151/2.92
25% LSAT/GPA N/A N/A 152/2.81* 148/2.81 N/A 147/2.51

*Information about LSAT scores and GPAs were not separately reported between the full-time and part-time program.

Bar passage

In South Carolina, the bar exam is administered twice a year—in July and February. July is the primary testing date for those who graduate in May. A much smaller group, generally out-of-state applicants, repeat takers, and December graduates, take the February exam. The Charleston School of Law graduated its first students in May 2007 who sat for the exam in July 2007. The following are the pass rates for alumni of the Charleston School of Law for each South Carolina bar exam since July 2007.

Feb. July
2007 --- 69.9%*
2008 47.9% 72.2%
2009 53.7%[1] 75.9%[2]

* The July 2007 results were revised upwards (from an original 65% rate) after the South Carolina Supreme Court threw out a section of the exam because of an error by a bar examiner.[8]

Other information

On November 29, 2007, the the school's first dean, Richard Gershon, announced he would be leaving the post to return to full time teaching at the school. He was awarded an honorary LL.D degree in May 2008 for his leadership. In December 2007, CSOL Professor Andy Abrams, a former top administrator at the College of Charleston, was named as the interim dean of the law school. In June 2008, Abrams became the school's second dean.[9]

Lorri Unumb, one of the first faculty members at the Charleston School of Law, authored the "Ryan's Law" bill that mandates Autism coverage in South Carolina.


Located in Charleston, SC, the Charleston School of Law was begun in an antebellum railroad warehouse at 81 Mary St. in Charleston's Upper King St. district near Charleston’s visitor center; Charleston Museum; and popular concert venue, the Music Farm. Since its first year, the school has acquired long-term leases on other, nearby buildings including the Chase Building (designed by Augustus Constantine, c. 1946),[10] a large portion of the AT&T Building at Mary and Meeting Sts.,[11] and an administrative office space on Meeting St.



Charleston Law Review

The Charleston Law Review is an independent organization composed of second and third year students at the Charleston School of Law. The Law Review's primary objective is to foster the knowledge and insight of students, practitioners, scholars, and the judiciary through a traditional forum dedicated to the pursuit of innovative legal expression, composition, and scholarship. Members of the Law Review contribute to this objective by editing articles, writing notes, and actively participating in all aspects of the publication process.

The Charleston Law Review's inaugural journal was released in the Fall of 2006 and featured five articles by legal scholars on topics ranging from human trafficking to preservation of Gullah-Geechee culture. The Law Review published a second issue devoted to student works in the spring of 2007.

The Foreword of Volume 2, Issue 1 (Fall 2007) was written by President Barack Obama, who was a junior United States Senator (D-Illinois) and a leading candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 2008 U.S. presidential election at the time.[12]

Sara Ruff was the inaugural editor-in-chief (2006-07). Subsequent editors-in-chief have been George "Matt" Kendall (2007-08) and Katie Fowler (2008-09). Ben Garner is the current editor-in-chief for (2009-10).

Federal Courts Law Review

Founded in July 1997, The Federal Courts Law Review (FCLR) is an electronic law review dedicated to legal scholarship relating to federal courts. Articles are from scholars, judges and distinguished practitioners. The editorial board, composed primarily of United States Magistrate Judges and law school professors, uniquely combines the insight of the federal judiciary with the perspective of law school academics.

Charleston School of Law was selected in 2005 by the Federal Magistrate Judges Association to oversee the publication of a printed version of the Federal Courts Law Review.[13] This companion to the current online format is intended to cater to subscribers who would welcome a printed version. The printed version will also allow for inclusion of selected student works.


The Maritime Law Bulletin (MALABU) is a periodical bulletin, edited by law students, focusing on significant maritime issues. First published in February 2006, MALABU will be the publishing arm of the new Charleston Maritime Law Institute at Charleston School of Law.

Charleston Maritime Law Institute (CMLI) is a collaborative effort involving students, professors and leading maritime lawyers and professionals from around the Southeast. In addition to promoting maritime legal studies at the school, CMLI will provide programs and seminars periodically on maritime matters.[14]

MALABU's current editor-in-chief is Bess Lochocki.


  1. ^ Smith, Glenn (January 3, 2008). "Fellow judges deny Kosko a new term". The Post and Courier. Retrieved May 24, 2009.  
  2. ^ Behre, Robert (July 9, 2004). "New Charleston college, law school pass state test". The Post and Courier. Retrieved June 5, 2009.  
  3. ^ "The American Bar Association Law School Approval Process". American Bar Association. August 2007.  
  4. ^ Kropf, Schuyler (October 19, 2005). "Bar association accreditation team takes look at Charleston School of Law". The Post and Courier. Retrieved June 5, 2009.  
  5. ^ Knich, Diane (December 6, 2006). "School of Law gets the go-ahead". The Post and Courier. Retrieved June 5, 2009.  
  6. ^ Knich, Diane (May 20, 2007). "A Class of Pioneers". The Post and Courier. Retrieved June 5, 2009.  
  7. ^ "".  
  8. ^ Knich, Diane (November 7, 2007). "State high court drops portion of bar exam". The Post and Courier. Retrieved June 5, 2009.  
  9. ^ "Charleston School of Law". Retrieved 2009-06-05.  
  10. ^ Fossi, Caroline (August 7, 2007). "Law school plans to expand to King Street". Post and Courier. Retrieved June 5, 2009.  
  11. ^ Knich, Diane (February 28, 2006). "Law school aims to buy building on Meeting Street". The Post and Courier. Retrieved June 5, 2009.  
  12. ^ Knich, Diane (December 6, 2007). "Obama writes article for Charleston Law Review". The Post and Courier. Retrieved June 5, 2009.  
  13. ^ "Law school to publish federal law review". The Post and Courier. August 5, 2005. Retrieved June 5, 2009.  
  14. ^ Knich, Diane (March 6, 2006). "Law school opens maritime institute". The Post and Courier. Retrieved June 5, 2009.  

External links

Coordinates: 32°47′26″N 79°56′18″W / 32.79056°N 79.93833°W / 32.79056; -79.93833


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