When South Carolina College was transformed into the University of South Carolina in 1867, the law school was established as one of ten academic schools. Beginning in 1877, the law school was closed for seven years as a result of a joint resolution of the South Carolina General Assembly. It re-opened in 1884 as a division of the converted University of South Carolina and in 1917 the General Assembly allocated money to build a law school on the university's campus. As a result, Petigru College opened its doors in 1919.
By the 1920s the law school had implemented a three-year course of study. It was admitted to membership in the Association of American Law Schools in 1924 and the following year it earned a spot on the American Bar Association's approved list. A new law school building was erected in the late 1940s and by the mid-1960s the law school was integrated. In 1974, a new University of South Carolina Law Center was established.
Today the law school offers the traditional JD program as well as 11 dual degree options. Through the curriculum, students gain knowledge about all major fields of law, with a focus in business, international law, environmental law, litigation and trial advocacy, criminal law, and family law.
In an effort to produce well-rounded graduates, SC Law offers a variety of experiential learning opportunities including clinical programs, externships, and a study abroad program.
The law school's clinical courses include the Criminal Practice Clinic, the Consumer Bankruptcy Clinic, the Federal Litigation Clinic, the Nonprofit Organizations Clinic, and the Veteran's Rights Clinic. Skills courses include Appellate Advocacy; Criminal Trial Practice; Interviewing, Counseling, and Negotiation; Lawyering Skills and Advocacy; Legal Drafting; Legislation; Pretrial Practice; Tax Problems; and Trial Advocacy.
Students are invited to participate in the study abroad program in London, which is offered in collaboration with The Honourable Society of Gray's Inn.
Externship opportunities are available for students who are prepared to work with clients and also for students who wish to focus on practical and professional skill development through involvement in research, drafting, negotiation, advocacy, and related projects.
SC Law additionally operates the Children's Law Center which functions as a resource center for child abuse and neglect litigation. The center receives its funding from various state and federal grants.
Journals published by the University of South Carolina School of Law include the Journal of Law & Education; the Real Property, Trust, & Estate Law Journal; the South Carolina Journal of International Law & Business; the South Carolina Law Review; and the Southeastern Environmental Law Journal. Other publications include Legal Times, Milestones, SBA eBrief, and The Beacon.
With about 30 student organizations, the law school offers plenty of opportunities for socializing and networking. A sample of these offerings include the American Constitution Society, the Environmental Law Society, the International Law Society, Moot Court, Order of the Wig and Robe, the Student Bar Association, and Women in Law.