Charleston School of Law

CHARLESTON SCHOOL OF LAW HISTORY

The Charleston School of Law is rooted in tradition, tracing its precedent to November 1825, when a group of Charleston attorneys petitioned the South Carolina Legislature for a charter of incorporation for the “creation of a regular Law Institute in the City of Charleston and the annexation of a Law Library.” The following month, the Legislature passed Act No. 2379, establishing “a Lecture-ship on the Law.” In February 1826, the Charleston Forensic Club began offering lectures, essentially establishing the South’s first law school. That legacy continues today through the Charleston School of Law.

In 2002, several prominent Charleston judges and attorneys began working to establish a new law school that would serve as a community-centered institution offering a superior traditional and experiential educational program led by a collegial faculty of the highest caliber. In 2003, the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education granted a license to allow the school to begin accepting students.

The Charleston School of Law opened its doors on August 17, 2004, with 133 full-time students and 64 part-time students. In the fall of 2005 and 2006, the school welcomed its second and third classes of students, bringing its enrollment to about 600 students. The school received provisional accreditation from the American Bar Association on December 2, 2006. On August 4, 2011, the school was fully accredited by the American Bar Association.

Charleston has played a pivotal role in the development of the rule of law in our country and has a legal community with the highest professional reputation. Not only are Charleston School of Law students able to take advantage of mentoring and externship programs offered in conjunction with Charleston’s collegial, professional Bar, but they also benefit from a firsthand look at the study of law in a city anchored by a historic, yet vital, downtown civic hub known as the Four Corners of Law. Thus, the Charleston School of Law has reinvigorated the study of law in Charleston by offering a rich, comprehensive program rooted in excellence.

We believe that better lawyers make better communities. The Charleston School of Law’s mission is to make better lawyers by producing practice-ready graduates of high moral character and integrity and instilling within them a commitment to public service. The Charleston School of Law is committed to producing great lawyers for the greater good.

In 2002, five prominent Charleston judges and attorneys got together to share a vision of developing a community-centered graduate institution that would provide a superior traditional and experiential educational program led by a collegial faculty of the highest credentials and abilities. A year later, the S.C. Commission on Higher Education granted a license to allow the school to begin accepting students in the fall of 2004.

Today, two of the original founders remain members of a three-member board. They also serve on the Board of Advisors. They are:

The Honorable Robert S. Carr
Retired U.S. Magistrate Judge, District of South Carolina
Furman University, B.S., 1967
University of South Carolina, J.D., 1971

Prior to being appointed to the Court in 1975, Judge Carr practiced law in Columbia, S.C., served as law clerk to Judge Robert F. Chapman, U.S. District Judge for the District of South Carolina, and was legal assistant to Sen. Strom Thurmond. Judge Carr enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve in 1968 and retired as a Colonel in 1997. He received numerous awards and medals, including the Legion of Merit. He has served in the House of Delegates of the American Bar Association, as President of the Federal Magistrate Judges Association, Chairman of the National Conference of Special Court Judges, and on the Judicial Resources Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States.

The Honorable George C. Kosko
Retired U.S. Magistrate Judge, District of South Carolina
University of South Carolina, B.S., 1966
University of South Carolina, J.D., 1971
University of Colorado, National Institute of Trial Advocacy, 1972

Prior to appointment to the Court in 2000, Judge Kosko was in private practice from 1975-2000. He also served as the first Family Court Solicitor in South Carolina and Assistant Solicitor for Richland County. In addition to being selected for inclusion in the first Who’s Who in American Law, Judge Kosko also lectured at the University of South Carolina School of Law on trial issues and ethics and has delivered many papers for the American Association of Airport Executives, the Southeastern Aviation Managers Association, the North Carolina Aircraft Association, and the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission. Judge Kosko is a member of the American Bar Association, District of Columbia Bar Association, South Carolina Bar Association, American Judicature Society, Lawyers/Pilots Bar Association, National Transportation Safety Board Bar Association, Aviation Insurance Association, and the Defense Research Institute.

In addition, the following served on the School of Law’s original Founding Board:

Ralph C. McCullough II, Esquire
Retired Managing Director of the Board of Directors, Charleston School of Law
Retired Professor of Law, Charleston School of Law
Distinguished Professor of Law, Charleston School of LawProfessor Emeritus, USC School of Law
Past Assistant Dean, USC School of Law
Erskine College, B.A., 1962
Tulane University, J.D., 1965

Longtime legal educator Ralph C. McCullough II served as managing director through May 2013. He is a life member of the American Law Institute and has provided 43 years of legal training in tort and commercial law to thousands of students, starting in 1968 at the University of South Carolina School of Law, where he was named a distinguished professor emeritus. He was a professor of law at Charleston School of Law from 2004 until his retirement in 2013.

McCullough graduated from Erskine College and Tulane University School of Law in 1965. In law school, he was awarded the Order of the Coif and received American Jurisprudence Awards in sales, insurance and labor law. He also served on the Tulane Law Review. He joined the faculty of the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1968 and served as assistant dean from 1970 to 1975. During his tenure there, he became a Chair Professor of Advocacy. In 2006, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit Judge William W. Wilkins appointed McCullough to chair the court’s important Rules Advisory Committee.

Widely published as the author or co-author of numerous books and articles on civil trials, torts, commercial law and bankruptcy, McCullough is among the top bankruptcy trustees in the state’s history, as evidenced by a special award made in 2005 by the S.C. Bankruptcy Law Association for his 30 years of service.

McCullough was the 2012 recipient of The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award which is given each year at Erskine College to a “man who has manifested such qualities of heart, mind, and conduct as evince a spirit of love for and helpfulness to other men and women.”

In March 2013, to recognize his contribution to the growth and development of the Charleston School of Law as well as his skills and scholarship in trial advocacy, the Charleston School of Law Foundation announced a new scholarship in his name that will be presented each May to a rising third-year student with exceptional skills in advocacy.

The Honorable Alexander M. Sanders Jr.
Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Directors, Charleston School of Law
Retired President, College of Charleston
Retired Chief Judge, S.C. Court of Appeals
University of South Carolina, B.S., 1960
University of South Carolina, LL.B., 1962
University of Virginia, LL.M, 1990

As past president of the College of Charleston, Chief Judge of the S.C. Court of Appeals, a former member of both the S.C. House of Representatives and Senate, and educator, Judge Sanders has devoted a lifetime to public service in South Carolina. Judge Sanders also has served in the U.S. Army, been a member of the adjunct faculty at the University of South Carolina and Harvard Law School, and been a professor at the College of Charleston.

Edward J. Westbrook, Esquire
Attorney, Richardson, Patrick, Westbrook & Brickman, LLC
Stevens Institute of Technology, B.E., 1974
University of South Carolina, J.D., magna cum laude, 1976

Mr. Westbrook is recognized nationally for his work in asbestos, toxic tort and consumer fraud class action litigation. He is admitted to practice in the U.S. Supreme Court; U.S. Court of Appeals; Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals; Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals; Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals; Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals; Eleventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals; District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals; Federal Circuit of South Carolina, District of Columbia; and U.S. District Court, District of South Carolina. He is a member of the South Carolina Bar, American Bar Association, South Carolina Trial Lawyers Association, and the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. He served as Editor of the South Carolina Law Review, 1975-1976; Instructor in Legal Writing, University of South Carolina Law School, 1976-1977; and Law Clerk to The Hon. Sol Blatt Jr., U.S. District Court, District of South Carolina, 1977-1979.

Who We Are

In compliance with ABA Standard 509 the following consumer information that will assist current and prospective students find important information about the Charleston School of Law.

Sol Blatt Law Library Jr. History

Our law library’s home was constructed in 1857 and is located in an antebellum railroad structure at 81 Mary Street, identified as “South Carolina Railroad Warehouse.” 

Forensic Club

The Charleston School of Law selects a limited number of graduates to become members. Members are selected based on demonstrated leadership, professionalism, public service and academic commitment.

Media Center

The Media Center at Charleston School of Law provides the latest news and events, student profiles, photo essays and more. Check out the latest news happening on campus and in our community.