Charleston School of Law
81 Mary Street
Charleston, SC 29403
CHARLESTON LAW STUDENTS SAY…
Academics & Programs: Charleston School of Law, located in gorgeous Charleston, South Carolina, is so new that it’s practically still in the wrapping. Accredited by the ABA in 2006, the school has managed to do a “pretty fantastic job” of creating a supportive and relatively thorough learning environment that doesn’t have to answer to centuries-old traditions or any form of “this is how it’s always been done.” The school was formed with the goal of creating lawyers “who are social engineers,” and it works toward this goal by encouraging service through the dozens of pro bono legal opportunities that allow students to get practical experience relating to the substantive material learned in class. “We are not just learning to pass the bar; we are learning to be practitioners of the law,” says a 1L. The program’s youth also renders the entire school community “highly motivated to be successful.”
Faculty here are “beyond outstanding.” The school’s open-door policy is somewhat of an understatement, as “deans and professors actually bring their ‘open doors’ to us whenever and wherever you could imagine.” “In times of trouble, they are there. In times of joy, they are there. They not only want to be involved in their students’ educations; they thrive on it,” says another student. “The teaching methods, style, and dedication to academia have amounted to a wonderful experience,” says another. The Socratic Method is heavily relied on here, and many professors will call on random students to “stand and deliver” in class. Several professors keep a deck of cards with students’ names and pictures, “which they flip through to pick who will be called on.”
Professors who go out of their way to make sure that students are comfortable with the material presented are the norm, rather than the exception at Charleston School of Law. “I e-mailed my professor with a question a few days before an exam. She quickly responded by e-mail, but followed up by calling the school, getting my phone number, and calling me to make sure I didn’t have any more questions and to provide me with her phone number in case I did,” says one first-year student. Staff members are similarly “kind and supportive” and are particularly helpful with letting students know about jobs, externship, and internship opportunities.
Campus Life/Facilities: Classrooms at the Charleston School of Law are equipped with modern technology and stadium seating and “have proven to be a great place to learn.” The library is also top-of-the-line, featuring private study rooms, accessible computers, and a wide variety of print sources. Additionally, the library staff “is passionate about work and always available to help with hard-to-find legal documents.” Though students wish there were more elective classes, the school is still in the nascent stage, and the administration is nothing but hands-on in terms of shaping the curriculum and getting involved with student organizations and publications.
The School of Law’s location is ideal not just for its beauty and weather conditions, but for the “extraordinary amount of history [that] surrounds us” in the heart of South Carolina. Being situated right down the road from the “Four Corners of Law” means that students “are in a key location to observe many real world legal proceedings.” Though Charleston can be an expensive city to live in and “parking is an issue,” the school is “split up” among several nearby buildings, making it “nice to get up and move around a bit.”
One of the benefits of the school’s age is that it “is too young to have an ‘old-boy, Southern’ feel to it. ”There’s “a great mixture of students” within the student body (though the majority certainly hail from within the state and skew younger), and it’s “evident that the student body is changing and diversifying” from its initial population. There’s no shortage of social interaction available, but most students “are diligent in working hard first and taking time for social events later.” Student organizations go beyond the social realm and “bring in speakers and expose students to new ideas.”
* The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University.