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Clinical Externship Program

The Charleston School of Law’s clinical externship offers you the opportunity to assist local attorneys with active, ongoing cases in South Carolina’s civil and criminal courts. Under the South Carolina Student Practice Rule, as a second-year student, you will conduct valuable case research and analysis to help develop strategies and arguments for hearings and trial. Then, as a third-year student, you will take depositions, argue pre-trial motions, and participate in preliminary hearings and proceedings. This unique program gives you a head start when entering your profession and ensures you will be prepared for the courtroom on day 1.

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The clinical externship program was something that I took advantage of my [inaudible] year. And I would have to say now that I've been out of law school and I'm actually practicing and working in a law firm, that what I did in that class is the closest to what I actually do on a day to day basis.

When I went to law school, we studied law. We studied the theory of law. So we didn't really know how to put that theory, that new learning, into practice. And it was kind of scary. We're trying to make it to where when the student comes here and learns evidence in the morning, in the afternoon they go to the clinic program and cross-examine a witness and put that theory in the morning into practice in afternoon.

So they split into groups of like four or five. And you really do just work on cases with actual lawyers that are actual cases right now. They're not from a book. They're not from 200 years ago. They're going on right now.

You learn quickly once you get out that what happens in the classroom and what happens in the practice of law are two totally different things. And you need to really have a good foundation of both. And the school does a great job of teaching you the law and learning the cases and learning the history, but they also, with the clinical externship program, do a great job of really teaching you how that ties into the practice of law on a day to day, practical basis.

So in our school, we try to make sure that all of our professors have been in active practice before. So they've all experienced the practice of law. And what we bring to the table is now we're bringing more people who have been actively practicing in the trial courts. Our professors, most of them, have been well-known litigators, some very famous litigators, and they now take their experience and they pass it on to these students.

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