UofSC Law offers bar prep workshops for graduates

Bar prep workshops are available for graduates planning to take the July bar. The department of Academic Success and Bar Preparation have scheduled workshops for specific bar sections.

Thursday, July 6 — Professor Fox on Torts, Room 395, 3-4 p.m.
Monday, July 10 — Professor Medlin on Wills, Room 395, 3-4 p.m.
Tuesday, July 11 — Dean Miller on Evidence, Room 395, 3-4 p.m.

Miss South Carolina plans to attend UofSC Law to study children’s law

Winning means more to newly-crown Miss South Carolina Suzi Roberts than a crown, or even a bid to compete for Miss America in September. It’s an opportunity to further a passion that, she says, already has carried her this far.

“It started with one child who was close to me,” she said of her passion for child advocacy. “I felt like the system failed her, and she wasn’t protected in the way that she should have been. And that broke my heart as I saw her grow into an adult, seeing the effects of what happened to her as a child affecting her adulthood.”

The same passion that has led Roberts to the Miss South Carolina crown also has led her to becoming a guardian ad litem in Richland County and getting involved with the Children’s Trust of South Carolina.

She also is enrolled at the University of South Carolina School of Law, which she chose because of its children’s law center.

She delayed starting law school to compete in Miss South Carolina and Miss America.

“No matter how hard the training is or how focused I get training for Miss America, the service aspect – the children of this state – will always be my No. 1 priority,” she said. “That is my goal, to be a child advocate forever in the legal and legislative sense.

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New building attracts more than 700 alums for annual BBQ

On June 14, hundreds of University of South Carolina School of Law alumni and their guests visited the new law school building for the 2017 Law Alumni Barbecue. It was the first event held at 1525 Senate St., drawing more than 700 people.

Tents were set up in front of the Senate Street entrance, providing shade from the summer sun. Barbecue was provided by Ben Bruner ’08, Robert Goings ’06, and Gibbs Leaphart, Jr. ’04. In addition to the barbecue, smoked on-site, delicious sides of coleslaw, macaroni and cheese, cucumber salad, baked beans and chicken were available. Rhodes Bailey ’07 and his band, Whiskey Tango Revue, were also in attendance, providing entertainment for the evening.

Inside, student ambassadors and faculty and staff were stationed around the building, helping to direct alumni as they moved through a self-guided tour. Each of the courtrooms, classrooms, the library, and office facilities were open for guests to explore.

A big thank you to everyone who helped make the barbecue happen, as well as those who attended.

To see more pictures from the BBQ, click here.

Balancing law school, marriage and a baby

Demetrius Pyburn with his wife Shana and baby DJ.

Demetrius Pyburn added a J.D. to the end of his name this past May, but it was another title he earned while in law school that he says matters much more: Dad.

Pyburn and his wife, Shana, welcomed a baby boy at the beginning of his third-year at the University of South Carolina School of Law. Demetrius Jr. (DJ) arrived two months early during Dad’s externship with Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd PA in Greenville. While juggling the demands of a rising-3L summer externship, and now a newborn, Pyburn also continued his service in the U.S. Army Reserves. It’s an impressive feat the family says wouldn’t have been possible without the help of South Carolina Law.

Asst. Prof. Emily Suski rocks baby DJ on a day Demetrius brought his son to class.

“The law school was very supportive when it came to child care issues. The professors were very accommodating, even allowing DJ to come to class. My classmates enjoyed seeing him around school and it felt like a large family atmosphere,” says Pyburn. “By the end of the school year, there were classmates asking me to bring my baby to class, so that felt great.”

Shana called the School of Law’s support a blessing, knowing that she would never be able to continue her own education without the help.

“Kids aren’t allowed on my campus at all, so it was a major relief we were able to work with USC Law. Even during finals time, if Demetrius had an exam during the time another classmate didn’t, they offered to babysit in the lobby for us. The administrative staff also watched him if we needed. It was just such an overabundance of love for my husband and son. It’s something I’ll never forget,” says Shana.

While time and sleep were often limited, Pyburn didn’t let that keep him from engaging in organizations on-campus. He was a member of the Black Law Student Association, Black Graduate Student Association, Service Members and Veterans in Law, and ABA TIPS Aviation and Space Law. His hard work paid off, and after taking the bar in July, Pyburn will go to work full time for Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd PA.

He says law school helped him grow as a student, person and father, giving him a support system to fall back on when late night baby feedings and all-night study sessions controlled his life. Without the flexibility and support of the law school, he says he may not have graduated on time. Beyond the class accommodations, Pyburn says his professors took an interest in teaching him about more than just the law.

“Many faculty members at USC Law have families, so it also helped to be able to ask questions as a first-time dad on how to do various things for DJ.”

Classmates volunteer to watch baby DJ with a walk around the Horseshoe.

After an active duty career in the Army, the California native decided to move to South Carolina for law school, when he was impressed by how personable the school and admissions team were. His first impression of the school was dead on, he says, proving to be even more true when baby DJ arrived on the scene. Now that he’s graduated and the family of three prepares to move to Greenville, Pyburn says their fondest memories of Columbia will be the times that brought them together and the faculty, staff, and classmates who helped them along the way.

“Many people describe law school as being hard, but it’s that support systems that helps put things into perspective when you’re stressed. Sometimes you just need someone to remind you to take care of yourself.”


Konduros Public Service Fellows begin summer work for third year

Clarissa Guerrero (far right) is spending her summer working for the South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families. Here she is pictured with communications director Felicia Snider and keynote speaker Kelly Simmons III at the Dads2Grads event.

The University of South Carolina School of Law is pleased to announce that the 2017 Konduros Public Service Fellows have been selected and are already engaged in pursuing creative solutions to some of South Carolina’s most challenging legal issues.

For the third year in a row, qualified first and second-year law students have been placed with public interest organizations, government entities, or non-profits to work alongside them for the summer. The ideal fellow desires to make public service a career.

The fellowship is made possible by 1954 alumnus Jim Konduros, who credits the law school for helping him develop the strategic thinking and counseling skills that guided him through a rewarding career that included working with U.S. Senator Olin Johnston and Governor. Robert E. McNair, advising major companies and serving as counsel to a hospital system CEO and leading several nonprofit organizations.

This year’s students have been placed in positions across the state. Rising second-year students Rebekah Spannagel and Clarissa Guerrero are working at Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities, Greenville, and the SC Center for Fathers and Families, respectively. Lashawnda Woods-Roberts, a rising-third-year student is spending her summer working at the SC Appleseed Legal Justice Center in Columbia. Another rising third-year student, Sarah Efird is working at Richland County CASA. Walker Berry, 3L, is working at the SC Center for Heirs Property in Charleston.







Loan forgiveness fund looks to assist public interest lawyers

The purpose of the Public Interest Law Loan Forgiveness Fund (PILLFF) shall be to provide financial assistance to graduates of the School of Law who obtain employment in the field of public interest law and who need assistance in repaying loans used to fund their legal education. This Fund was established in 2001 by retired USC Law Professor William McAninch to help alleviate the high debt incurred by young lawyers dedicated to serving the public.

Application information can be found here.

USC Law’s city of Columbia receives national recognition

Thrillist calls Columbia a “city on the rise.”

When students choose to attend the University of South Carolina School of Law, they choose to become a part of the university and city of Columbia family. As opportunities grow in the downtown area, Columbia gains more national attention as a “city on the rise.”

The move to 1525 Senate St., allows the School of Law to anchor into the true legal corridor of South Carolina. On one end of Gervias Street, future lawyers are learning, while alumni at South Carolina’s Court of Appeals, Supreme Court and State House are hard at work, just blocks away. But it’s more than just legal opportunity that makes Columbia a perfect starting point in any legal career.

Columbia was recently named one of the top 10 most affordable cities in the world for student housing by Student.com’s 2017 Global Student Accommodation Indicator. Students in Columbia, on average, pay $121 per week on rent, compared to the most expensive city, New York City, at $431 per week.

Students who come to Columbia for school find more than just inexpensive housing. Columbia also made Thrillist’s list of 8 American Cities You Should Visit Before They’re Too Popular. The growth of locally-owned business, farm-to-table restaurants and beautifully rehabbed historic venues makes it a perfect place for students to put down roots. With the addition of minor-league baseball and young professional-targeted events, Columbia is garnering attention from around the country.

It’s a movement proving that Columbia is not just a place to earn a law degree, but to build a legal future.

Commencement address gains national attention

This year’s commencement address, delivered by J. Michael Luttig, executive vice president and general counsel of The Boeing Company, focused on the increasing politicization of our country and the dire effects on our legal system and especially on the Rule of Law. Luttig implored the Class of 2017 to commit themselves to protecting the Rule of Law, and to ensure that “law triumphs over politics.”

The address gained national attention, first by the legal news site “Above the Law,” in which writer David Lat praised Luttig as “one of the most notable” people to deliver a commencement address this year. Luttig’s speech was also quoted in another commencement speech, given by Roberta Kaplan, the lawyer who successfully argued before the Supreme Court in United States v. Windsor.

Read the full address here.

She called all the law offices in Columbia when she was 15, now she’s a J.D.

Tenacity is at the heart of what it means to be a lawyer. For Clair Hollingsworth, it’s a skill she never really had to practice. The passionate 25-year-old graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law in May 2017. It was a goal she had set for herself long before she could vote, before she had a high school diploma, and even before she could drive a car. She was the daughter of an engineer and a teacher, but by age 15, she knew she wanted to practice law.

“We didn’t have any friends or family who were attorneys or knew anyone that I could talk to about learning more about the law, so I decided that I’d just put myself out there and give every law office in the Columbia and Lexington area a call to see if anyone would be interested in hiring a 15-year-old who wanted to go to law school one day,” said Hollingsworth. “I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted out of the experience.  I just knew that I needed to get to know some attorneys if I was ever going to get to law school.”

Thumbing through the phone book, she called firms for hours, hoping to reach someone willing to teach her. And then one said yes.

“I was very impressed that a 15-year-old was bold and courageous enough to call a lawyer’s office inquiring about a job. I admired her as soon as I met her,” said Jim Snell (’04), a criminal defense attorney in Lexington, South Carolina.

Hollingsworth recalls doing her research before the interview–even having her mom drive past the firm to make sure she knew where to go, and how much time she would need to arrive early. Her mom took her to the mall and bought Clair her first suit, perfect for a budding attorney.

“I remember being really nervous, but also really excited to talk to a real-life lawyer.”

Jim, Clair and Lee at the Palmetto Club at a 2016 fundraiser for Solicitor Rick Hubbard.

That real-life lawyer gave Hollingsworth her first real-life job, but while Hollingsworth thought she’d just be learning about the law, over the years she realized that the Snells were teaching her about real-life.

“Jim and his wife Lee helped me apply for colleges and supported pretty much all of my endeavors. I always refer to them as my family because I’ve known them for so long and they’ve done so much for me.”

Nearly ten years after Snell received a call from that 15-year-old girl interested in being a lawyer, he watched her walk across the stage of her law school graduation. He calls the moment “bittersweet,” watching Clair achieve a long-time goal, while also saying “see you later,” to someone he considered like a daughter.

“Clair will make a great lawyer because she has worked tirelessly to be where she is today. She sincerely wants to be a lawyer and she loves the law,” said Snell. “My wife says Gloria Allred needs to ‘step aside’ because we are about to witness history in some way when Clair passes the bar.”

And while Snell credits much of Hollingsworth’s success to her own drive and skills, Hollingsworth says it was those who came before who have truly encouraged her career.

“USC Law trained the attorneys that inspired me to become a lawyer. The School of Law taught me what it takes to be a lawyer and prepared me to not only be successful, but to follow in their footsteps. I want to work to support and encourage future generations of law alumni, even if that means hiring a teenager who got my number from the phone book,” said Hollingsworth.

As a decade-long goal now comes to fruition, Hollingsworth is spending most of her post-graduation days studying for the July Bar Exam. Upon passing the bar, she will start her career as an attorney, clerking for the Honorable Judge R. Lawton McIntosh (’86) of the South Carolina Circuit Court Bench for the Tenth Judicial Circuit. It’s a milestone for both the Hollingsworths and the Snells, ringing in a new era for the friends turned family.

“When Clair first worked for us, I was a young lawyer with nothing who hung a shingle. Now I am building a new office building in downtown Lexington. Clair graduated from law school and is now studying for the bar,” said Snell. “We both have come full circle with our goals, and we helped each other along the way.”

Governor, distinguished guests attend first official class in new building

(Left to right) Professor Alan Medlin, Sen. Gerald Malloy, Judge Dennis Shedd, Dean Rob Wilcox, Gov. Henry McMaster, Professor Philip Lacy.

On Monday, May 29, the first class was held in the new University of South Carolina School of Law building. Professors Alan Medlin and Philip Lacy merged their 11:30 a.m. classes to welcome a few distinguished guests for the historic first.

Gov. Henry McMaster, Sen. Gerald Malloy of the 29th District, Judge Dennis Shedd of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and Chief U.S. District Judge Terry L. Wooten, along with Dean Wilcox gave remarks and toasted the new building with donuts and coffee. As alumni, the guests shared their experiences at the School of Law, reminiscing on the past buildings, both at 701 Main St. and the previous building at Petigru.

Gov. McMaster congratulated students on their choice to attend South Carolina Law, pointing to the institution as a symbol of the state’s strength and growth. Sen. Malloy shared lyrics from a song, reminding students that law school is not just a building, but a home. Judge Shedd recalled some of his favorite firsts, adding the first class in the building to his list.  Judge Wooten joined the class via video, offering best wishes and thanks to the leadership at the law school.

Summer classes will continue through July 21. First-year students will attend orientation on Aug. 17, and then the majority of students will return to the new building for the fall semester on Aug. 24.

Explore the new building here.

See more photos from the first day of class here.