Class of 2023 graduates from Charleston Law
Charleston School of Law hosted its annual Spring Commencement ceremony on Saturday to celebrate the Class of 2023. The event was held at the McAlister Fieldhouse on the campus of The Citadel.
Eight students from the Class of 2023 graduated cum laude, 13 graduated magna cum laude, six summa cum laude, and 26 graduated as Presidential scholars.
Dean Emeritus and Professor of Law Andy Abrams delivered the commencement message. He retired at the conclusion of the 2022-23 academic year.
Professor Abrams shared his “Five Rules of the Road” with the newly minted graduates.
“I thought before we set off … it was worth identifying a few ‘rules of the road’ you might want to follow to make your trip more meaningful, more productive, and hopefully more enjoyable.
“Remember what your driving instructors taught you? Quit worrying so much about what’s behind you and pay attention to what’s right in front of you. Go ahead and glance in the rearview mirror occasionally, but when you do: Forgive the failures you see, learn from them, and then move on. Likewise, enjoy the successes. Be grateful for them. And then move on. And when you do, try not to be in too big a hurry.”
Abrams Five Rules of the Road included:
- Focus on the present.
- Keep the future in perspective.
- Be prepared to pivot along the way.
- Surround yourself with people you love and trust.
- Make your journey count.
Professor Abrams closed his commencement message with a word of advice, a wish and a request saying, “My advice is to enjoy the ride — you’ve earned it,” he said. “My wish for you is that you derive as much joy from your grand adventure as I have from mine. And my request: Remember the school. Remember these people. Remember this moment. When your navigation app starts to recalculate, don’t fight it. Embrace it, follow your heart.”
Professor Abrams, who spent 20 years at the College of Charleston and 18 years at Charleston School of Law as both Dean and Professor of Law was also awarded an honorary degree in appreciation of his service.
“I could talk to you about his background and accomplishments and what he’s done,” said Charleston School of Law President Ed Bell. “But I wanted to do it on a little personal note. Andy Abrams. Dean Abrams. Professor Abrams … when he was named dean in 2008, the Board of Trustees chose the right one. Andy understands how people and how they work. He understands relationships. He instills trust with people. What he has done for this school is immeasurable.”
Of the 146 students who graduated this spring, Charleston Law celebrated academic success of students for academic and service achievement including the Arthur Howe Trial Advocacy Award, the William Bennett Regan Award, and five graduates were inducted into the school’s Forensic Club.
Selection to the Forensic Club is based on three criteria: leadership, professionalism, and academic commitment. The Class of 2023 inductees are:
- Christine Bosco
- Dena Byrd-Byrum
- Alexandria Jones
- Addison “Oz” Osborne
- Chantanee Riley
Caitlin Turner (’23) was recognized with the William Bennett Regan Award. The honor is awarded to a law student who exemplifies commitment to public service and leadership. Turner was an SBA Senator, a student ambassador, Trial Advocacy, FGLSA, ALDF, Maritime Law, PAD, and CCBA – Student Division. She earned 228 pro bono hours, primarily with Tri County S.P.E.A.K.S.
The Arthur Howe Trial Advocacy Award is funded by the South Carolina Chapter of the American College of Trial Lawyers and is named in honor of one of the premier trial lawyers in South Carolina. The award is presented annually to the graduating student who best exemplifies excellence in trial advocacy. This year’s recipient is Josette Brooksbank.
In addition, of the minimum 50 hours of pro bono service required for graduation, 32 Charleston School of Law students exceeded 100 hours of public service. This requirement allows students to work with attorneys practicing in the public interest legal sector. Those students were honored for their commitment and service to the community.
The 2023 Commencement ceremony was dedicated in honor and loving memory of Katherine Adele Westbrook, a 2L student at Charleston who passed away. Westbrook was posthumously given an honorary degree during the ceremony.
You can watch the Class of 2023 commencement ceremony online at charlestonlaw.edu/commencement.
PHOTOS FROM COMMENCEMENT 2023
CHARLESTON SCHOOL OF LAW QUICK FACTS
The Charleston School of Law is an ABA-accredited law school nationally recognized for its student-centric culture. Our faculty and staff are committed to preparing you for success both in the classroom and in the legal profession.
- The Princeton Review ranks Charleston School of Law professors second in the country for faculty accessibility (2021)
- Charleston School of Law faculty ranked among the top of The Princeton Review’s list of Best Professors in the nation (2016-2018)
- Experiential Learning: Charleston School of Law students have access to about more than 150 externship sites, creating opportunities for experiential learning in the legal field.
- Community Service: Charleston School of Law students have performed more than 241,000 community service hours (2004-current).
- Students have won the National Tax Moot Court Championship for seven consecutive years (2012-2018)