All students are required to take Introduction to the Legal Profession (1 credit) in the first semester of law school and to participate in the associated 1L mentoring program. Students also are required to take Professional Responsibility (2 credits) or Problems in Professional Responsibility (3 credits) to graduate. The law school also offers a wide range of electives on the profession and professional ethics, as well as a 3L mentoring program in association with the Young Lawyers Division of the South Carolina Bar. Below is a list of courses and course descriptions.
LAWS 500 - Introduction to the Legal Profession (Credits: 1) — This course provides an overview of the different roles in which lawyers serve and the different work environments in which lawyers are employed. Students will meet members of the legal profession, hear about the daily work of lawyers in different settings, receive information about handling the responsibilities of law practice, learn about the range of lawyers' duties and to whom those duties are owed, and be introduced to the basic principles of professionalism.
LAWS 555 - Professional Responsibility (Credits: 2) — Examination of the lawyer's obligations to clients, other lawyers, and courts, and also to society and themselves, with focus on the Rules of Professional Conduct.
LAWS 554 - Problems in Professional Responsibility (Credits: 3) — A course that focuses on lawyers' ethical obligations in various areas of practice: criminal defense and prosecution, civil litigation, office practice, counseling, transactions work, corporate and organizational counsel, government, and the judiciary. The course also examines significant issues facing the profession, including limitations on advertising and solicitation, restrictions on the adversary model, and the national and global nature of the legal profession.
LAWS 556 - Advanced Legal Profession (Credits: 2) — An in-depth study of selected problems in ethics and professionalism confronting lawyers in the practice of law. Topics will include legal malpractice, the disciplinary system, ethical issues facing lawyers in particular fields, ethics and professionalism in litigation, office practice, and other issues of current interest. Instruction in the course will be by faculty members, practicing lawyers and judges.
LAWS 557 - Law Practice Workshop (Credits: 2) — The course provides a synthesis of the substantive knowledge and the practical skills and experience essential to a successful practice and the competent representation of clients in numerous areas of the law. The course will emphasize the analysis of client problems and the processes involved in effecting solutions. Practice areas covered from time to time during the semester may include, inter alia, bankruptcy, criminal defense litigation, criminal prosecution, civil defense litigation, plaintiff's litigation, construction law, elder law, fiduciary representation, estate planning, family court litigation, alternative dispute resolution, real estate transactions, workers' compensation, international law, health law, intellectual property, media law, poverty law, education law, commercial law, banking law, employment law, consumer law, business entities and agency law, appellate practice, tax practice, environmental law, regulatory practice, and administrative law. This course is not intended as a substitute for a more in-depth study of doctrinal law and procedure in these various areas but instead will serve as a transitional stage from the knowledge and skills obtained in other courses to the practice of law in those areas. Various presentations will be made by leading experts in their fields. Forms and other practice materials will be provided.
LAWS 560 - Foundations of Law Practice and Professionalism (Credits: 2) — This course has two objectives: first, to introduce students to fundamentals essential to successful private practice, whether solo or small or large firm, and second: to explore professionalism in the legal profession and its relationship to successful practice. Topics covered may include the economics of law practice, trust accounts and record keeping, common mistakes to avoid, interpersonal skills and leadership principles necessary in managing a practice, managing client relationships, marketing and professionalism.
LAWS 693 - Technology and The Practice of Law (Credits: 2) — This skills workshop will study the technologies used in practicing law, analyzing the ethical and other legal issues created by their use. Students will learn about current and future technologies and best practices in using them. Much of the learning will be hands-on in the computer lab. A number of practicing lawyers and technology experts will share their knowledge and experience. The American Bar Association has adopted the proposal of its 20/20 Commission on Ethics that the Model Rules of Professional Conduct be amended to specifically require lawyers to be techno logically proficient. "Maintaining Competence. To maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology." Cloud computing, internet hacking and government snooping, email, networked computers, flash drives, electronic signatures, smart phones, tablet computing, and ubiquitous public wi-fi networks all create legal and ethical issues and challenges for lawyers. Study materials will include cases, ethics opinions, statutes, and regulations. [Satisfies the skills requirement for graduation.]
LAWS 703 - Electronic Discovery (Credits: 2) — This course is a practical introduction to electronic discovery in civil litigation as governed by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Students will be introduced to how computer files in litigation compare and contrast to traditional paper discovery. They will examine each stage of the discovery process, from identifying sources of potential electronic evidence to instituting a litigation hold, collecting, processing, reviewing, and producing electronic data. Emerging case law and trends for unsettled issues such as E-discovery ethics, privilege (non-waiver/claw back agreements, not "readily accessible" data), and cost-shifting will also be addressed. Participants will be introduced to the electronic courtroom, from E-filing of documents in federal court to using trial presentation software to make the case to the jury and judge. [Satisfies the skills requirement for graduation.]
LAWS 832 - Current Topics in Professional Responsibility Seminar (Credits: 2 or 3) — This is a seminar focusing on current topics relating to lawyer ethics and the legal profession. It is intended for students who desire an intensive study of legal ethics. Students will be expected to take an active role in class discussions and will have input in the selection of topics for discussion. With the guidance of the professor, each student will be responsible for organizing and preparing one or more of the classes. Students will prepare short weekly papers on issues raised in class, as well as one longer paper. [3 Credit version satisfies the writing requirement for graduation.]
LAWS 847 - Ethical Issues in Criminal Practice (Credits: 2) — This workshop will study the ethical issues faced by prosecutors and defense counsel in criminal practice. Although many of the same Rules of Professional Conduct that govern civil litigation also apply to criminal cases, constitutional rights and duties often require that they be applied differently than in civil cases. In addition, there are particular provisions in the Rules of Professional Conduct that only apply in criminal cases, including the rules governing prosecutors. Our understanding of the special role of the prosecutor and the prosecutor's duty to seek justice may create prosecutorial duties, as do constitutional rights of persons accused of crime and constitutional duties of, and restraints upon, the government. The workshop will meet once a week for two hours. Students will read assigned laws, rules, cases, and analytical materials and will discuss those readings in class. In addition, the class will study cases that illustrate the problems — and often the injustice — that may flow from violations of the applicable Rules of Professional Conduct and constitutional mandates. Experienced prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges will share their experiences and insights with the class. Written assignments will be based on the kinds of issues lawyers face in criminal practice and the types of work product lawyers have to create in dealing with those issues in their practice.