Become a member of the newest society, Dean’s Circle

Dean Wilcox invites alumni and friends of the law school to become members of the Dean’s Circle. This new society recognizes any donor who gives $1,000 or more annually.

This is a historic year for the School of Law with the opening of our new home between Gervais and Senate streets and our 150th Anniversary.  Our success continues as third-year students engage in more experiential learning programs than ever before, better preparing them for practice, such as the four-week Coastal Law Field Lab course this summer in Charleston. In addition, USC Law was named one of top 10 law schools for producing influential judges. Now, the Dean invites you to be part of this success with your gift to become a member of the Dean’s Circle.

This group of donors help make a difference in the future of the School of Law by providing scholarship support for deserving students, making possible their legal education at South Carolina; support for Moot Court and Mock Trial teams to attend regional and national competitions; and contributing to experiential education programs for our students, including clinics, externships, and simulation courses.

Members of the Dean’s Circle will receive exclusive invitations to events and will be recognized in the annual Honor Roll of Donors.

Will you join in the support of the School of Law with your Dean’s Circle gift today?

Law library begins move to new building

The Coleman Karesh Law Library will be the first to begin the move to the new building on Gervais and Senate streets. In preparation for the move, the library will close at noon on Monday, May 8, when book movers arrive to begin the transport of the library’s collection to the new building. 

The library will remain closed much of the month of May, but will offer email reference services during regular business hours, with the exception of Thursday-Friday, May 18 and 19, the days of the office move. You are also welcome to send reference requests to the reference desk, or to individual reference librarians.
Interlibrary Loan requests will be accepted until Friday, April 14, for loaned books and copy requests until Friday, May 5th. The law library anticipates reopening in the new facility by Tuesday, May 30. Thank you for your patience as we move into our new home.

Student volunteers assist community with tax returns

Student volunteers help prepare and file tax returns for low-income residents at no cost.

Even University of South Carolina School of Law tax professor and expert Tessa Davis admits tax season can be an intimidating and stressful time. That’s why she says the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program is such an important service to the community.
VITA is an IRS managed program that provides free tax preparation by certified volunteers for low income persons as well as senior citizens. The School of Law has participated in VITA for 25 years, offering tax assistance to the public twice a week each February and March. This year, 17 law student volunteers prepared 122 tax returns and filed 98. In addition to South Carolina returns, they also prepared returns for individuals from Minnesota, New York, North Carolina and Georgia.
“VITA is a great way that we, as a state institution, can model the importance of public service,” says Davis. “It also gives us an opportunity to interact with our community.”
The service is part of the school’s Pro Bono Program, which encourages law students to use the skills they’ve learned to give back. But Davis points out that the clients are not the only ones who benefit from the program. Law students are able to develop critical skills they will use in practice, regardless of whether they go into tax law.
““Taking a theoretical concept they are learning about in school and using it in real life is something that complements what we can teach them in a classroom setting,” says Davis.
Third-year student Anthony J. McCollum agrees.  He participated in VITA all three years of law school and says the lessons he learned there will help him after graduation when he begins work in the Fifth Circuit solicitor’s office.
“VITA enriched my experience at UofSC Law by giving me the opportunity to help the community while also utilizing the skills I acquired in the classroom, such as critical thinking and logical problem solving.”
Davis says getting involved with VITA also increased her knowledge of the subject, pushing her to brush up on rules she doesn’t use on a regular basis.
“I think it’s important for students to know that the professors continue to learn. We believe you never truly stop learning, and VITA has been a great way for me to grow in a subject I really care about,” says Davis.
The process of volunteering is a learning opportunity in and of itself, as students must pass a certification and ethics test generated by the Internal Revenue Service. Davis says much like the goal of law school, VITA doesn’t expect students to have every answer or law memorized, but to have the tools and understanding to know how to find the answer.
The School of Law has seen the demand for this service grow each year, and more students are encouraged to volunteer in order to meet the need. Davis points out how pleased she was to see students of varying levels of tax law understanding participating, getting experience, and giving back.
“Whatever area of law you plan to practice; you can never get enough experience interacting with clients. It’s an opportunity that will only help students—even the ones who went screaming from tax law.”

First law student to compete in national competition represents School of Law

The best way to beat a hacker is to think like a hacker. And as Richard Bryant discovered, it also helps to know how to think like a lawyer.

Bryant, a third-year student at the University of South Carolina School of Law, became the first-ever law student to be accepted to compete in the Society of Automotive Engineers Battelle CyberAuto Challenge. In July 2016, he—along with automotive and government engineers, ethical “white hat” hackers, and other students from across the globe and from many disciplines—spent a week working on ways to make today’s cars safer by hacking into and exposing potential vulnerabilities in their computer systems.

He was encouraged to apply for the competition by law professor Bryant Walker Smith, who is a widely-known expert in transportation law, specifically in automation and self-driving cars. Smith has been involved in the competition for several years and says it hones important skills that are essential to future lawyers.

“The practice of law involves much more than just law. Lawyers need both technical knowledge and technical humility. And they need to be able to translate technical and legal concepts in a way that lawyers, engineers, and the public at large can understand,” says Smith. “After getting to know him in class, I knew Richard would excel in the competition and would represent the School of Law well.”

“Although I have not had any formal technical education—my bachelor’s degree is in economics—the intersection of technology and law had been a growing interest of mine since starting law school, and the chance to meet and work with some of the country’s finest engineers, educators and up-and-coming students was a major draw,” says Bryant, who also acknowledged that his approach to the problems was much different from his fellow teammates and competitors.

“Being the first law student to participate was a big challenge. Trying to keep a legal perspective in an event that is designed to develop engineering skills wasn’t easy, but the skills I learned at UofSC Law, such as spotting issues and parsing data for key facts, started to become second nature.”

At the end of the week-long competition, Bryant again used his legal knowledge to deliver a presentation about responsible disclosure, outlining the legal ramifications of hacking.

“Bryant gave an outstanding talk to everyone involved—participants, organizers, and other attendees—on his reflections from the perspective of a law student. He did an excellent job of appropriately qualifying his remarks and targeting them to such a diverse audience,” says Smith.

It’s an opportunity Bryant recalls as invaluable and the culmination of his law school education. He says it taught him more about a lawyer’s job to interpret between groups of people, especially taking highly-technically information and turning it into something much more understandable.

“Throughout law school I’ve been told, ‘You’re going to have to get your hands dirty to get the job done,’ and that’s exactly what I took away from the CyberAuto Challenge,” Bryant says. “It was a great experience, and I’m so thankful to Professor Smith for thinking of me, and recommending that I apply.”

The 2017 SAE Battelle CyberAuto Challenge will be held in August. A similar competition, CyberTruck, will be held for the first time this year. Including a dedicated military component and a longer vehicle assessment period, the competition also requires participants to have a higher technical background.

For more information about how to get involved, contact Professor Smith.

Students complete Konduros Leadership Development Program

Students stand with Jim Konduros after accepting their certificates of completion.

In March, 16 University of South Carolina School of Law students received their certificates of completion from the Konduros Leadership Development Program. The intensive and highly selective program gives students a unique opportunity to gain valuable leadership skills that are in addition to their legal education.

Former Charleston Mayor Joe Riley addresses the students and their family and friends.

“We’re committed to providing a cadre of future leaders here at UofSC Law. The program furthers leadership development by equipping students with the creativity, strategic thinking, and problem-solving skills necessary to assume leadership positions within an increasingly complex and evolving environment,” says Jill Kunkle, the associate director of career services who manages the program.

Over the course of eleven weeks, students selected to participate learned about the nature of leadership; how to develop their leadership, interpersonal and communication strategies; and the importance of ethics in leadership. The program culminated with each group presenting a plan to help solve a societal issue.

One group worked on a project that raised public awareness and assistance on the expungement process. Another worked on ways to overcome barriers to practicing law by proposing a grant program to help law students with bar preparation and application fees. The third group focused on better ways to help veteran facing legal issues in South Carolina, surveying more than 30 law schools across the nation on how to establish a veteran’s legal clinic.

Students say the experience was invaluable to their law school career, pushing beyond the classroom into real world experiences.
“This program allows us to take the knowledge and skill sets we’ve learned in law school and apply them to a situation or problem in the community,” says third-year student Matthew Zackon. “For me, it stressed the importance of giving back to different demographics in society who cannot afford legal services. From my experiences in this program, I know I will be devoting my time post-graduation to veterans who are in need of free legal services.”
Throughout the program, in addition to hearing from UofSC faculty and staff, students also learned from prominent leaders of the legal community, including:

  • Lindsay Joyner, Associate, Gallivan, White & Boyd, PA; President-Elect, SC Bar Young Lawyers Division
  • William Witherspoon, Sr. Litigation Counsel, U. S. Attorney’s Office; President, SC Bar
  • Michael Wright, Associate, Savage Royall & Sheheen, LLP; President, Kershaw County Bar
  • Kathy Helms, Office Managing Shareholder, Ogletree Deakins
  • Tommy Preston, Director, National Strategy & Engagement at The Boeing Company
  • Brad Stratton, Director, Center of Business Communication at Unniversity of South Carolina
  • Luis Sierra, Leadership Coach, USC Leadership and Service Center
  • Nathan Strong, Director of Organizational and Professional Development at the University of South Carolina
  • Charles Appleby, Chief Counsel, SC House Legislative Oversight Committee
  • Salley Elliott, Chief Legal & Compliance Officer, SC Department of Corrections
  • Allison Sullivan, Partner, Bluestein Nichols Thompson & Delgado, LLC

The sessions were led by:

  • Duncan Alford, associate dean for the law library and professor of law
  • Robert Bockman, senior legal writing instructor
  • Emma Dean, chief counsel, SC House Judiciary Committee
  • Henry Deneen, executive director of the Center for Global Strategies and of counsel for Murphy & Grantland, PA
  • Susan Kuo, associate dean for diversity and inclusion and professor of law

Former Charleston Mayor Joe Riley (1967) was the keynote speaker at this year’s certificate ceremony. He reflected on the importance of leadership, especially during two of the most difficult times of his forty-plus year tenure as mayor: Hurricane Hugo and the Charleston Shooting. It was those moments, he said, that made him the leader he is today.

Congratulations to the 2017 Konduros Leaders:

Steven Bailey
Hazel Bridges
Amy Christenbury
 Jordan Cox
Chance Cuellar
Anthony D’Elia
Mannar Hanna
Lauren Lavin
Lindsay Lee
Christopher Mathis
Anthony McCollum
Jon-Michael McNew
Zachary Porfiris
J. Hunter Reams
Jalisa Stevens
Matthew Zackon
The Konduros Leadership Development Program was established in 2015 by Jim Konduros, a 1954 law alumnus, who made a generous gift to the School of Law to provide students with scholarships, fellowships and leadership development. Konduros credits the law school for helping him develop the strategic thinking and counseling skills that guided him through a rewarding career, and created the program as a way to give back to current and future students at the School of Law.

Academic journals each select new student editors-in-chief

The University of South Carolina School of Law is proud to announce the newly-elected editors-in-chief of the school’s four academic journals.

Trey Harrison: Editor-in-Chief of the ABA Real Property, Trust & Estate Law Journal

When it comes to adding more work to an already difficult law school schedule, second-year student Trey Harrison says helping build a stronger community makes it all worth it. The newly-elected editor-in-chief got his start with the Property Journal as a first-year student, which helped him build a strong network of friends and refine his writing skills.

The Columbia native attended Presbyterian College, where he graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in both history and political science. His long-term goal is to work as in-house counsel for a corporation, specifically an insurance company, such as South Carolina Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company, where he currently works.

If school, a job, and now a leadership position at the journal weren’t enough, Harrison also works with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, and is an active member of the Student Bar Association.

Under his tenure, Harrison says he’s looking forward to two major milestones: the move to the new School of Law building, and the journal’s first symposium, scheduled for this November. Ultimately, he says he wants to give back to the journal, what it has given to him.

“We have great members, who are good at what they do, and it is my job to help them do their best. My goal is to continue the great work-product we have and to foster our great community atmosphere,” says Harrison.

The ABA Real Property, Trust & Estate Law Journal is an official publication of the American Bar Association. The Journal is distributed triannually to law libraries and nearly 22,000 members of the ABA’s Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section. But it is the journal’s collaborative editing process between students and a national editorial board of professionals selected by the RPTE that makes it so unique. Professional editors are responsible for acquiring relevant and scholarly articles. These articles are then forwarded to student editors who format, edit, and verify all citations before going back to the professional editorial board for final approval and publication.

Meagan Allen:
Editor-in-Chief of the South Carolina Journal of International Law and Business

From small town to world-wide—that’s Meagan Allen’s dream. The Aynor, South Carolina, native aspires to practice international trade law. And now, she’s one step closer, after being elected editor-in-chief of the South Carolina Journal of International Law and Business.

The College of Charleston grad says it was the range of topics the journal covers that drew her to it originally. She graduated with a degree in political science and a concentration in politics, philosophy, and law, before coming to UofSC Law. When she accepted her membership to the journal as a first-year student, she didn’t think she’d ever become editor-in-chief.

“I was honestly a little surprised when I received the phone call from our faculty advisors offering me the position. There were five other outstanding candidates for EIC and, thus, the race was very competitive. However, I was both ecstatic and humbled to learn that the faculty advisors, as well as my peers, had enough faith in my vision for our journal to select me,” says Allen.

When Allen finds free time, she likes to spend it working with the School of Law’s Student Animal Legal Defense Fund. Her love for animals is wide-spread, but she has a special place in her heart for her five-year-old toy poodle, Lucy. Allen serves as a peer mentor to a group of first-year students. She is also musically talented, skilled in five instruments including piano, guitar, ukulele, and has even played the upright bass in a bluegrass band.

When it comes to the future of the SCJILB, Allen says it’s important to utilize the talent she has on her current editorial board, as well as the talent of incoming staff editors.

“I want to ensure that our Journal is a beacon of academic excellence and dedication to public service,” says Allen.

The South Carolina Journal of International Law and Business seeks to serve South Carolinians by creating a forum for discussion about how international law and business affects the state. In addition to the semi-annual journal, SCJILB engages professionals and scholars through its biennial symposia.

Catherine Ortmann:
Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Law and Education

Catherine Ortmann feels right at home at USC Law after receiving her bachelor’s degree in history at the university. And coming from a family of educators, she feels just as “at home” at the Journal of Law and Education.

The Sumter native calls her decision to join the journal her “best choice.” When it came to her decision to run for EIC, she looked up to two mentors—outgoing editor-in-chief Michael Trask, and her attorney mentor Katharine Swinson, who was also in JLED. The journal’s former members set the bar high, but Ortmann says she knows her members will produce great work and help keep the journal moving in a positive direction.

When it comes to leadership style, Ortmann calls herself a “positive deviant,” saying she’ll do whatever it takes to make a difference and promote improvement in the projects and people around her.

Ortmann looks to be a force of change in all aspects of her life, holding many leadership positions outside of the classroom. She is the historian for Phi Delta Phi, and a member of the American Constitutional Society, as well as Women in Law student organizations. She works as a law clerk for the South Carolina Senate Judiciary Committee during the school year and serves as a mentor for the Beta Epsilon Chapter of Alpha Delta Pi at the university. She continues to be involved in her church, Midtown Fellowship, and during the summers is a senior counselor at Palmetto Girls State.

Looking ahead, Ortmann says she’s exploring opportunities in education and employment law, but for now she’s focused on advancing the Journal, as well as building relationships with her members.

“As soon as I won, one of the other candidates who had run for EIC instantly contacted me and told me how proud she was of me. I think that really speaks to the quality of our members and the bond that we have all formed because of our membership,” says Ortmann.

The Journal of Law and Education is a quarterly publication featuring articles on all aspects of constitutional and civil law related to American education. JLE is published jointly in conjunction with the University of Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law. After more than forty years in print and online, JLE continues to serve as an important resource for judges, lawyers, teachers, school administrators, and education practitioners. Subscriptions to JLE are distributed throughout the United States and reach more than 14 foreign countries.

Chelsea Evans:
Editor-in-Chief of the South Carolina Law Review

Chelsea Evans made history as the first African-American editor-in-chief of the South Carolina Law Review, and now that she’s won, she’s ready to get to work.

The North Myrtle Beach native graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in public health from the university. But it was a position performing policy research for Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin, while still in undergraduate, that helped her see that attending law school would fulfill her dream of finding a career that would also suit her desire to serve.

Her new role is one that’s garnered a lot of attention, something she’s not always been comfortable with, but she’s eager to use the platform to inspires others.

“I’m incredibly humbled to be elected editor-in-chief, and I hope that my election encourages more women and people of color to pursue law degrees, journal membership and the position of editor-in-chief,” says Evans.

In addition to the demands of the South Carolina Law Review, and her studies, she works as a research assistant and a member of the Pro Bono Board. She participates in other student organizations, including the Black Law Students Association, serves as a mentor to middle-school students in the Constitutional Scholars Pipeline Program, and is a judicial extern for U.S. District Court Judge J. Michelle Childs.

After law school, Evans says she is interested in corporate law, and will continue to invest herself in service work and the community wherever she lives. For now, when she gets a quiet moment, it’s spent with her friends and family, especially her younger sister Taylor, an undergraduate student at the university.

The South Carolina Law Review is the principal legal publication in South Carolina. It is also the oldest legal publication in the state, founded in 1948. The Law Review traces its roots to 1831, during the brief existence of the Carolina Bar Journal, which was published in Columbia, South Carolina prior to the Civil War. Today, the Law Review is the flagship legal publication at the University of South Carolina and is one of the most frequently cited legal journals in the country.

The Coastal Law Field Lab Named one of the “Hot Classes for the Summer”

“If spending the summer outside while still honing your legal skills and earning credit is more your style, check out the four-week Coastal Law Field Lab,” writes the National Jurist.

The Coastal Law Field Lab is a six-credit, field-based summer course hosted by the University of South Carolina School of Law in Charleston, SC. The field lab is open to law students across the country, and consists of three modules: Coastal Law, Climate Change and the Coast, and Coastal Energy Law. It is unlike any course you have ever taken in law school. About half of the course is spent in the classroom. The rest of the course takes place “in the field,” learning about important coastal, environmental, and energy law issues where they matter: on beaches and islands, in marshes, and at other sites emblematic of the environmental challenges in sustainable development. 

Twice a week, the class will visit properties that have been at the heart of important litigation or that illustrate high-profile issues. At the sites, students will meet with guest speakers who will provide unique insight into these problems. The speakers represent the range of professionals involved in the day-to-day of coastal law: state regulators, attorneys, geologists, ecologists, environmental representatives, and developers.

In addition, the field lab includes supplemental lectures on topics critical to good coastal lawyering such as coastal oceanography, environmental policy and economics, and alternative energy technology. The combination of legal coursework, interdisciplinary lectures, and eight issue-packed field labs will give you a comprehensive understanding of the coast, coastal issues, and the role that law and lawyers play in resolving those issues.

The field lab will take place from June 18th to July 15th. Applications are available at online, and are due by May 1, 2017, or until the seats are filled.

Former Tunisian president hosts forum on “Modern Constitution-Making”

Dr. Moncef Marzouki to speak as part of a panel on “Modern Constitution-Making.” Marzouki was Tunisia’s president from 2011 to 2014.

The University of South Carolina welcomes former Tunisian President Dr. Moncef Marzouki to campus this March as the 2017 Sonoco Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Moore School of Business. While in Columbia, Marzouki will conduct a series of forums and meetings organized in collaboration with the university’s Darla Moore School of Business, the  Walker Institute of International Area Studies, and the  Rule of Law Collaborative.   

On Wednesday, Mar. 22, a special event featuring Marzouki will be offered at the School of Law. Members of the public are invited to join students, alumni, faculty and staff of the law school for a forum titled, “Modern Constitution-Making.” The forum will focus on Tunisia’s efforts to engage in the region’s first constitution-making process outside of the influence of either a dictator or colonial power. It begins at 5:30 p.m. in the law school auditorium, and is free and open to the public.

Additional members of the panel include:

  • Hamid Khan, deputy director, Rule of Law Collaborative
  • Aparna Polavarapu, assistant professor of law
  • Wadie Said, professor of law
  • Joel Samuels, director, Rule of Law Collaborative

The law school event follows up on a public panel to be held the day before, Tuesday, Mar. 21, titled “The Hodges Forum on International Affairs, ‘The Jasmine Revolution and the Future of the Middle East.’” It will begin at 5:30 p.m. at Capstone House

Marzouki’s visit comes at a pivotal time, as a new U.S. administration shapes its international policies and approaches to the Middle East. Marzouki was elected president of Tunisia by the Constituent Assembly, a body elected to govern the country and draft a new constitution following Tunisia’s revolution in 2011. Also known as the “Jasmine Revolution,” Tunisia’s successful uprising was a seminal moment in Arab history, which helped ignite popular revolutions throughout the Middle East. A medical doctor, human rights activist and author of numerous works, he is credited with bringing governmental transparency and participative democracy to Tunisia and creating an environment where civil organizations could flourish.

Rule of Law Collaborative symposium focuses on police, community relations

January 2015 protest in Seattle. (Photo: Scott Lum via Flickr)

On April 7, the University of South Carolina Rule of Law Collaborative (ROLC) will host a symposium at the School of Law: Bridging the Divide: African-American Communities and Law Enforcement. The symposium looks to heal the relationship between communities and the officers that serve them, exploring whether restorative justice mechanisms, specifically Truth and Reconciliation Commissions, would help unify the two groups.

The ROLC welcomes experts from all areas of transitional justice to come together for an in-depth discussion from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The symposium will be broken into four sessions: Addressing the Root Causes, Comparative International and Domestic Initiatives, The Case for Restorative Justice, and From Rhetoric to Action—Restorative Justice in the United States.

National experts such as Fania Davis, co-founder and executive director of Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth, and David Ragland, co-founder of the Truth-Telling Project in Ferguson, MO, will lead a conversation about practical application, such as how a restorative justice mechanism would operate alongside the federal justice system, and how much legitimacy those commissions would have in communities where trust is already low. International experts in restorative justice, including Yasmin Sooka, the current executive director of the Foundation for Human Rights in South Africa, will take their experiences and observations, and discuss the implications of adapting those practices in the United States.

The ROLC sees this symposium not as a one-time event, but as the launching pad for further discussion and exploration on this issue, which affects communities across our country. The goal is to turn conversation into practice, allowing the university to serve as a place where change begins.

The symposium is free and open to the public.

Team of students to compete in national cybersecurity competition

Elliott Barrow, Michael Brooks, Brooke Hiltbold, and Richard Bryant.

A team of four University of South Carolina School of Law students will travel to Washington D.C. on March 17 to compete in the Atlantic Council’s U.S. Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge

The challenge is an annual cyber policy competition for students across the globe to compete in developing national security policy recommendations by tackling a fictional cyber catastrophe. The challenge looks beyond the crisis to see what policymakers would do after an attack.

First-year law student Brooke Hiltbold, second-year law students Elliott Barrow and Michael Brooks, along with third-year law student Bryant Richard created their own team and applied to be a part of the competition. After successfully answering a series of questions about cybersecurity, they were chosen to represent the School of Law. They recruited Assistant Professor Bryant Walker Smith as their coach. Smith is a nationally-recognized expert in the field of legal technology, specifically how it pertains to transportation.

The competition is open to students across all academic disciplines. The one-of-a-kind competition looks to challenge those who will be leading the future cyber security world. Student teams will confront a breach of national and international importance. Then they will compose policy recommendations, and justify their decision-making process. Teams will be judged on their consideration of the roles and implications for civilians, military, law enforcement, and private sector entities.

In addition to the competition, students will be able to attend several side events. Legal and international service professors, along with Barry Pavel, senior vice president, chair, and director of the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, Atlantic Council, will speak to students before the competition begins. Rep. Jim Langevin, D-RI, will give a keynote address during the first day of competition. Students will also have the chance to meet recruiters from companies such as CyberSec Jobs, the Department of Homeland Security, and Facebook. Teams will attend a presentation from Capitol Hill Staffers, a hacking demonstration, and a networking reception at Baker & McKenzie, overlooking the White House and the National Mall.

For teams who advance to the semifinals, a second day of competition will take place. This is the fifth year for the Atlantic Council’s U.S. Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge. 

The D.C. competition is just one of three that will take place world-wide. In April, a similar European cyber competition will be held in Geneva, and in September, Sydney, Australia will host the first-ever Asia-Pacific leg of the competition.