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Charleston School of Law – On the Verge of Closure


Nearly eight years ago, Charleston School of Law stood on the brink of bankruptcy and legal troubles, possibly facing financial ruin, multiple lawsuits, and potential closure.

Bell responded swiftly by placing his own money where his mouth was. He settled the suits against the school, recruited faculty, and upgraded facilities while simultaneously working on improving bar exam pass rates which have lagged national averages.

The Faculty

After surprising Dean Larry Cunningham with thank-you cards written personally from students after an event for community service, it was an indicator that things were looking up at Charleston School of Law – a far cry from where things stood just eight years earlier when disaster seemed imminent and potential closure was even considered an option.

When the school opened in 2003, it was housed at 560 King Street in Charleston’s historic Upper King Street district. But within one year, it relocated to 81 Mary Street – an antebellum railway station-turned-law library located nearby that still hosts it today.

This school was established by an amalgam of local judges, lawyers, and academics who believed in creating a law school geared toward student needs that prioritizes community service and professionalism. Their board of advisors includes many prominent judges and attorneys from their city.

At our school, each student must perform 50 hours of public service work per its founding mission and motto, “pro bono populi.” Furthermore, there are internship opportunities for our students.

The school boasts an exemplary faculty with expertise and experience in many areas, such as civil rights, criminal justice, environmental law, and Gullah-Geechee heritage issues. Furthermore, their publication of Charleston Law Review highlights religious freedom issues along with other constitutional law topics.

Not only are the faculty at this school engaged in teaching, but they are also actively engaged in civic affairs, community events, and philanthropy. Many have served on boards of civic or charitable organizations, while several members have held leadership roles within local government.

The Office of Academic Affairs at our school is responsible for advising students regarding academic requirements as they approach graduation, orienting new adjunct professors and staff, hiring, evaluating faculty performance, overseeing educational programs/policies, and meeting accreditation standards. For further inquiries, please reach out directly. To apply for a Juris Doctor degree, please submit official transcripts from all universities attended in addition to taking either LSAT/GRE examination. LSAC Credential Assembly Service must also be registered as well.

The Students

Charleston Law aims to “promote collegial, collaborative, and professional relationships among its students, faculty, staff, and the local community.” Their academic program emphasizes practical training – students must complete 50 hours of pro bono service each year, and there are over 150 externship opportunities each year at Charleston Law.

The Charleston School of Law has earned a stellar reputation for its clinical programs and innovative teaching methodologies, leading the field in training lawyers to serve underserved populations while maintaining its long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Applying to law school requires passing both an LSAT exam and an undergraduate GPA to qualify. Successful applicants receive merit scholarships that cover most of their tuition costs; additionally, need-based scholarship funds may be made available if one cannot qualify for merit awards.

Charleston School of Law’s Career Services Department offers students various assistance. Their core services include individual career counseling and providing them with an employment search strategy post-graduation. Furthermore, this department organizes on-campus interviews, sends job application materials directly to potential employers, and attends regional and national career fairs.

The Law School Library boasts an impressive collection of books and journal subscriptions. In addition, several electronic databases, such as LexisNexis and Westlaw, are provided for research. Open to students, faculty, and the general public alike, its staff can assist with research needs or offer guidance when using its resources.

In 2006, Charleston Law Review, an editorially independent student-run journal at Charleston Law School, was launched by student bodies and under the editorship of former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. This inaugural issue included articles covering subjects from human trafficking to preserving Gullah-Geechee culture preservation.

Law School security staff work diligently to address student concerns promptly, using patrols and CCTV monitoring to ensure student safety. In addition, an emergency response team has been prepared in case of natural disasters or other emergencies.

The Environment

The Charleston School of Law offers full and part-time enrollment options leading to a Juris Doctor degree, with full-time students expected to graduate within three years and part-time students four. Admission requirements include holding an accredited bachelor’s degree and LSAT/GRE scores, transcripts from colleges/universities attended, personal statements/letters of recommendation/resume submission.

The Department of Career Services assists law school graduates in finding employment after graduation from law school. Their staff helps students with job application materials, organizes on-campus interviews with employers, and offers career-related programming. Furthermore, this department publishes the Federal Courts Law Review printed version.

Charleston School of Law’s campus is on an island between two rivers in downtown Charleston. This historic city is famed for its beautiful historic architecture, museums that chronicle its long and rich history, and internationally-acclaimed restaurants, making Charleston one of America’s premier travel destinations. Students at Charleston have the unique opportunity to live and study among one of America’s most beautiful cities – making their experience at Charleston School of Law truly rewarding!

Charleston School of Law takes great pride in creating a diverse environment where all members can contribute towards its success. It strives to build an inviting community of lawyers at its Charleston campus.

The Charleston School of Law is a private, for-profit law school in Charleston, South Carolina, affiliated with the Southeastern Law School Association (SLESA). Ranked 68th by U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 Best Law Schools list based on factors like academic excellence, research, placement diversity, and financial aid assistance; accredited by American Bar Association (ABA); National Jurisprudence Center membership, Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility oversight, as well as Women’s Law Institute membership – plus participating in Equal Justice Initiative, pledged by providing all students a safe learning environment in which to learn and thrive!

The Community

Charleston School of Law is a private law school located in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, and offers Juris Doctor degrees to qualified students. Accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA), its faculty consists of full-time professors and adjunct instructors; its student body comprises both men and women; student organizations exist alongside counseling and wellness programming at this campus.

The school boasts an active alumni and supporter community. Graduates have found success in government, private practice, the military, academia, small firms (1 to 10 attorneys), and public interest agencies; plus, this institution offers pro bono work and externship opportunities.

Established in 2002, this school bears the names of five notable judges and lawyers from Charleston’s legal community, marking the first organized attempt to offer law education since 1828. Its founding members included former College president Alex Sanders; noted civil lawyer Edward J. Westbrook; Robert Carr (retired federal magistrate judge until 2008), and George Kosko.

In December 2010, the school earned accreditation from the American Bar Association (ABA), while its graduates achieved excellent scores on state bar exams. Furthermore, 71% of graduates found careers that required licenses to practice law, most often traditional law firms, while others could include public service and government roles.

The university is committed to creating an inclusive and diverse environment, acknowledging the contributions of people from diverse backgrounds, socioeconomic levels, ethnicities, skin colors, religions, nationalities, sexes, sexual orientations, physical abilities, and ages. Their campus fosters open debate, with differing viewpoints welcomed.

After resolving ownership issues, Charleston School of Law has returned to its roots as a top legal academy. Academic programs continue to flourish under new Dean Michael Cunningham; students, alumni, and supporters all rejoice at its resilience. Similarly, Cunningham highlighted the need for building community support within his speech at commencement day this year.