Mental Health is the focus of the 14th annual Law & Society Symposium

The Charleston Law Review and Furman University’s Riley Institute will present “Mental Health and the Law: Breaking the Stigma and Reforming the System,” the 14th annual Law & Society symposium this Friday (February 25) at the Charleston Museum Auditorium.

Legal, academic, and mental health experts will explore topics such as the decriminalization of mental illness, the promise of diversionary courts, the prevalence of mental health problems within the legal profession, and current local advocacy initiatives.

“Mental health intersects with the law in numerous ways, and the symposium is bringing together an array of experts to provide insight into the topic,” said Charleston Law Dean Larry Cunningham. “The student leaders of the Charleston Law Review deserve credit and congratulations for putting together an event that will prove to be educational and inspiring.”

The event will feature keynote speaker Dr. George Woods, President, International Academy of Mental Health and the Law and Professor at Berkley Law School. Woods will share the ways in which mental health impacts our community and contributes to homelessness, poverty, and incarceration.

The event has attracted guest panelists from across the country and throughout our local communities including Justin Ankar (University of Minnesota), Jeff Yungman (180 Place), Judge Irvin Condon (Charleston County Probate Court), Judge Ginger Lerner-Wren, Jeena Choo (author/professor), Dean Larry Cunningham (Charleston School of Law), attorneys Douglas Stern, Carolyn Reinach Wolf, Jenny Costa Honeycutt, Beth Padgett (Lawyers Helping Lawyers), Kristy Danford (Charleston County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council) and Jennifer Roberts (Charleston Dorchester Mental Health Center).

The three panel discussions are:

  • Shaping the System: The intersection of mental health and law
  • The Lawyer’s Mentality: Keep the heat but avoid burnout
  • An Advocate on All Fronts: Initiatives in the community

“With the nation’s growing mental health crisis exacerbated by the pandemic, there is no better time to foster a dialogue around the topic than right now,” said Don Gordon, executive director of the Riley Institute. “We believe both the legal community and citizens alike may benefit from this year’s symposium.”

The Law & Society symposium is from 8:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. with scheduled breaks between panels. Admission is free for Charleston School of Law students, alumni and the general public (Use the promo code CSOLGRAD when registering). Attorneys seeking CLE credit may register for $75. 

About the Riley Institute at Furman University

Furman University’s Richard W. Riley Institute advances social and economic progress in South Carolina and beyond by building leadership for a diverse society, hosting expert speakers to broaden perspectives on critical issues, supporting public education, and creating knowledge through community solutions-focused research. It is committed to nonpartisanship in all it does and to a rhetoric-free, facts-based approach to change. Learn more at


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)

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