Read and Repeat: Things to know about today's law school

Read and Repeat Spring 2015

5 million imageThe Rule of Law Collaborative was awarded a $5 million grant by the U.S. Department of State in October 2014.

26 image Number of students sworn in by Chief U.S. District Judge Terry L. Wooten in October 2014 as inaugural members of the newly-formed USC Law chapter of the Federal Bar Association.  


32 Image The University of South Carolina School of Law’s national ranking for the lowest average financial indebtedness of 2013 graduates, according to U.S. News & World Report.


7 Image The University of South Carolina School of Law’s national ranking for the percentage of 2012 graduates employed with state and local judicial clerkships, according to U.S. News & World Report.  



6 Image Years in a row that USC Law has been named a “Best Value” law school by The National Jurist magazine.    

Faculty News

Derek Black ImageDerek Black’s article in the Vanderbilt Law Review, “Federalizing Education By Waiver,” has been cited by Slate, The Washington Post and The Huffington Post, as well as Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes and Florida Governor Rick Scott as they explored educational and constitutional issues surrounding Common Core and No Child Left Behind.  




Elizabeth Chambliss, professor and director of the Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough Center on Professionalism, was appointed in May 2014 to the ABA’s Commission on the Future of Legal Services, chairing the Data on Legal Services Delivery Working Group. She also joined the S.C. Access to Justice Commission in November.



    Eagle-imageJosh Eagle spoke on the “Law and Governance of Global Fisheries in the Era of Climate Change” at the Toward a Sustainable 21st Century: Ocean Health, Global Fishing, and Food Security conference at the University of California Irvine in November 2014. In January, the second edition of Eagle’s Aspen casebook, “Coastal Law,” was published.



  Josh-Gupta kagan imageJosh Gupta-Kagan presented at the AALS Children and the Law Section’s panel at the AALS Annual Meeting in January. His paper, “The New Permanency,” was selected for presentation at the AALS mid-year meeting this summer.



    Means-imageBenjamin Means was elected chair of the AALS Section on Agency, Partnership, LLCs and Unincorporated Associations in January.




 Owen-imageDavid Owen, Carolina Distinguished Professor of Law emeritus, has published Owen & Davis on Products Liability Law (fourth ed. 2014, Thomson Reuters, 4 vols.), Products Liability Law (third ed. 2015) (West Hornbook), and Products Liability in a Nutshell (West 2015).



Aparna imageAparna Polavarapu received a research award from the U.S. State Department, administered by the USC Rule of Law Collaborative, in December 2014. The award will fund research in Uganda on the administration of justice in informal and formal court systems. In February, she gave a talk on customary legal systems to USAID’s D.C. and internationally-based personnel.


  Samuels-imageJoel H. Samuels was appointed in July 2014 as director of the Rule of Law Collaborative, which is committed to the development of rule of law as a discipline and its advancement and application.




 Seiner-imageJoe Seiner’s Iowa Law Review article, “Punitive Damages, Due Process, and Employment Discrimination,” was cited multiple times by the chief judge of the Ninth Circuit in its en banc decision for Aguilar v Asarco LLC.




 Wilcox-imageDean Rob Wilcox was appointed to the S.C. Judicial Merit Selection Commission in October 2014. The commission selects candidates from which the S.C. legislature fills judicial appointments. Wilcox was also named to the ABA Task Force on Financing of Legal Education in May.



Zug-imageMarcia Zug was appointed to the board of the S.C. Coalition for Healthy Families in November 2014.    




New Faculty

Tessa Davis Image Tessa Davis has an LL.M. in taxation, a master’s in social anthropology and is focusing on the ways in which tax laws and policies are influenced by cultural context. Her latest paper, “Mapping the Families of Tax,” appears in the Virginia Journal of Social Policy and the Law.



Kevin Haeberle photoKevin Haeberle is one of the few law professors in the nation teaching capital markets regulation. His work focuses on the regulation of securities markets as well as corporate and securities law. He was a post-doctoral research scholar at Columbia Law School and Columbia Business School Program on the Law and Economics of Capital Markets. In November 2014, he was part of a panel titled “Dark Pools and High Frequency Trading” at Columbia Law School’s conference, “Current Issues in Securities Regulation: The Hot Topics.”


Shelby Leonardi Image Shelby Leonardi is the eighth faculty member devoted to our intensive Legal Research, Analysis & Writing Program. As a former federal law clerk and litigation associate, Leonardi has been on both sides of the bench and knows that a lawyer’s ability to write effectively can make or break her case.


Nathan Richardson ImageNathan Richardson is a former resident scholar at Resources for the Future and an expert in a range of environmental and energy issues, including U.S. climate policy, state and local regulation of oil and gas development (including hydraulic fracturing), evolution of the electric utility sector, and forestry management.


Bryant Walker Smith ImageBryant Walker Smith is an internationally recognized expert on the law of self-driving vehicles and taught the first-ever course on this topic. Previously, he led Stanford University’s Legal Aspects of Autonomous Driving Program. Smith appeared at more than a dozen universities and automotive conferences during the fall semester, speaking on legal issues surrounding self-driving vehicles, drones, Uber and other innovations.


Seth Stoughton ImageSeth Stoughton is a former Climenko Fellow at Harvard Law School and has an internationally recognized expertise in police procedure, use of force, and police/community relations. He conducts research on factors that influence officer behavior. Stoughton’s op-ed articles have appeared in The New York Times and The Atlantic. In February, Stoughton spoke at the St. Louis University Public Law Review’s symposium, “The Thin Blue Line: Policing Post-Ferguson.”

Remembering Rosen

With a legal career spanning more than six decades, the late Morris D. Rosen left an indelible mark on his native Charleston and, by extension, the entire state of South Carolina.

As corporation counsel of the City of Charleston (1959-1975), Morris Rosen, ’47, was instrumental in helping dismantle segregation and will forever be remembered for playing a pivotal role in the peaceful integration of Charleston’s municipal golf course. He was in charge of the lawsuits and arrests following demonstrations in the 1960s and became lifelong friends with Judge Matthew J. Perry Jr., who at the time represented civil rights workers.

Guiding Charleston through this tumultuous time was just one of the ways Rosen sought to make his beloved city more prosperous. He was also influential in helping the city expand its century-old boundaries, restructuring Charleston City Council and establishing the Charleston County Aviation Authority.

Rosen’s reputation quickly grew beyond the Lowcountry, and he was widely recognized as a leader in the S.C. legal community. But above all his accomplishments, perhaps his biggest impact was made during the countless lunches in which he mentored many of Charleston’s up-and-coming attorneys.

Rosen, who passed away in 2012, will continue shaping the lives of future lawyers through the Morris D. Rosen Endowed Scholarship, which was established in September 2014 by his two sons, Richard and Robert. The scholarship will provide essential funds, making it possible for University of South Carolina law students to realize their dreams of becoming lawyers.

“My father was generous with his time and ability. He was fair with his clients and garnered the respect of judges and peers. He won many difficult cases — civil and criminal — and was always available to help other lawyers, particularly the younger lawyers who sought out his advice,” said Richard Rosen. “He left us a good name, which is all any child can want. The creation of this scholarship is our way of honoring that.”

Morris Rosen was the first in his family to graduate from college, and after serving in World War II, he moved to Columbia to attend the School of Law, graduating in 1947. Richard Rosen says his grandparents had a very limited budget but were as supportive of his father as they could be.

And while Morris Rosen’s successful career made it easier for Richard, ’75, and Robert, ’73, to afford law school, they knew they wanted to help other deserving students who — like their father — had limited financial means to attend USC Law.

“My father came from humble beginnings, but through his law degree, he was able to accomplish so much to better our city and our state,” said Richard Rosen. “Creating this scholarship in his memory was our opportunity to ‘pay it forward,’ and make it possible for others to follow in his footsteps.”


The Morris D. Rosen Endowed Scholarship was one of seven scholarships created in the 2013-14 fiscal year. Scholarships help the School of Law attract high caliber students with exemplary academic records and proven leadership qualities, while keeping tuition affordable for those in need. More importantly, they provide future law students the opportunity to join the profession and make a difference in South Carolina and beyond.

To learn more about creating an endowed scholarship to help a worthy student achieve his or her goal of a legal career, contact Michelle Hardy, senior director of development and alumni relations, at (803) 777-3407 or

A conversation with the president

William C. Hubbard’s hard work and passion for the law has resulted in many significant achievements during his career, but none perhaps as great as becoming president of the American Bar Association in August 2014. The honor came 40 years to the month after Hubbard first walked through the doors of what was then the School of Law’s new building. Today, from his office in downtown Columbia, SC, he can see both the current law school, as well as its new home, now under construction. We recently sat down with Hubbard to discuss his time as president (so far), his vision for the future of legal services, and how Magna Carta is still influencing the world 800 years after it was sealed.

You became the president of the ABA in August. How has the first half of your tenure gone?

It’s been a very busy, exhilarating experience. The schedule is packed and I spend a significant amount of time trying to figure out how I can be the most productive in the 365 days I have to do this job. Some of the areas of focus that we settled on [when I was president-elect] turned out to be big issues for our country this year, and so it’s tied in well with some of the larger national and global issues. For instance, the domestic violence issue is one that we knew we were going to focus on, and then you had all the issues that came up with the NFL.

Immigration has continued to be a big issue for our country, and so it was good that we planned to strengthen our involvement in this area.  In fact, last summer we went to San Antonio to visit some of the detention centers when there was a surge of unaccompanied minor children. The ABA put together a working group to train lawyers to represent these children pro bono.

We’d also focused on reform of the criminal justice system, and then events across the country transpired which caused some people to lose trust and confidence in the legal system. Having the ABA with a track record of criminal justice reform working on the over-incarceration issue, working on the issues of disparities in incarceration, and working on the collateral consequences of incarceration have put us in a position where hopefully we can be part of a bigger solution on criminal justice reform going forward.

One area that people don’t think that much about is the collateral consequences of incarceration. When people are released from prison there are 40,000 laws in our country that prohibit them from re-entering society in a productive way. They’re denied licenses to work, they can’t get certain types of loans, access to public housing, the right to vote. Many of the things that promote re-entry into society are barred by, in many cases—not all—but in many cases, antiquated laws. As a result people coming out of prison without an ability to successfully re-enter [society] sometimes come back into the criminal justice system or become non-productive and dependent on other types of government programs.

The last point, which has really been the centerpiece and ties all of the work together is this: We created a Commission on the Future of Legal Services to help close the justice gap in our country. People need access to justice, and the best studies show that 80 to 85 percent of the poor and those of moderate means in this country do not have adequate access to our justice system on the civil side. This creates frustration, and as a result people try to resolve their legal issues through other means that are outside the traditional legal system, where they don’t have the protections of our current legal system. While our current system has inefficiencies, it is built to protect the rights of people.

The purpose of  the Commission on the Future of Legal Services is to develop new platforms for the delivery of legal services in  more efficient, cost-effective ways, and at the same time provide the protections to the public that have been the hallmark of the American justice system. Our national summit on the future of legal services will be at Stanford Law School May 2-4. We’ve been building up to that summit through a series of grassroots meetings around the country from Oregon to Missouri to Michigan to Arizona, gathering information, getting input and trying to develop  best practices. The purpose—what we’re trying to do through this commission—is to break down the silos that currently have existed among regulators and innovators and judges and lawyers and academics.  We created a commission to bring all of those participants in our legal system together so we can come up with a blueprint for the future. It really is important work, I think, not just for the public, but also for lawyers.

This effort will help lawyers adapt to changing circumstances. We all know we don’t bank the same way we used to bank. We don’t get our news the same way we used to get our news. We’re not entertained in the same way. We shop differently. How many of us did most of our holiday shopping through the Internet rather than going to a brick and mortar store? To think that the legal system is immune from those kinds of changes is shortsighted. We must develop strategies and platforms to help lawyers meet the needs of the public, to bridge this justice gap.  This topic was the focus of a session at the 2015 South Carolina Bar annual meeting.  I am excited that South Carolina lawyers are considering how to adapt to these challenges and take advantage of these opportunities.

Has there been a highlight so far to the first half of your tenure?

I’m very encouraged by how quickly we were able to get up and running the working group on unaccompanied minor children. Within two weeks of our visit to the border we had in place a highly regarded, well-represented group from various sections and components of the ABA, and we developed training modules and training strategies to provide pro bono legal assistance. Sometimes these projects take longer to get off the ground, but that’s one where we saw a critical need, in effect an emergency, and were able to respond, and we’re now training lawyers in immigration law to represent the children. That’s been a highlight.

Some of the work has been intriguing. The American Bar Association, through its Rule of Law initiative, receives grants from the State Department, USAID, and other sources to promote the rule of law abroad in areas where it needs support. Bar associations in those countries sometimes bump up against the government and need encouragement. Part of the mission of the ABA is to support the training of judges and reform of justice systems around the world, and some of my travels abroad have been interesting and challenging. I have been to Saudi Arabia on rule of law work which we hope will lead to some reforms. We were there at the invitation of the Minister of Justice of Saudi Arabia, and I met twice with the Minister of Justice. There was a trip to China that was challenging because there were instructions by my host to not be critical of the government. I did make a speech about rule of law and what it really means, but that was a challenging opportunity back in September.

Additional highlights include speaking at state and local bars and at ABA section meetings and witnessing firsthand the impact that state and local bar associations and ABA sections and committees have on the delivery of justice. Another high point so far is the progress we’ve made with the Commission of the Future of Legal Services. I’ve seen a sea change in the organized bars’ recognition of the need to change, to embrace technology, and to embrace new methods of delivering legal services. I think five years ago, lawyers tended to be more reluctant to change. But lawyers, led now by bar leaders across the country, and judges are seeing that if we are going to continue to be the centerpiece of our justice system, we have to be where the people are. People are getting their legal information on their smart phones without the participation of a lawyer. We have to realize that’s what people expect now, and we have to change. And we’re making progress.

With technology being a big part of the future of legal services, how do you see that playing out at law schools as we train future lawyers to work in a different way?

I believe that the generation of students who are now in law school, or are just getting ready to come to law school, has the best opportunity in decades to transform our justice system. My generation has worked hard to adapt to technology, but it’s not in our DNA because we didn’t grow up with technology. The law students of today will have a legal education and technology in their DNA. Put those together and they can radically and effectively change the way we deliver legal services because it’s second nature for them to embrace technology.

It’s like so many other disciplines. There’s so much information on the Internet that people go there to access. It’s not all in the control of the legal profession. We have to accept that as a fact. Most of us do a little medical research now when we have an ailment. We go to websites that at least give some background information. There are so many people now using readily available legal information and forms off the Internet, and they’re not always getting the right information. But the legal profession has to understand that’s where people are going first, and so we need to make sure we’re encouraging our clients that even if they use that kind of information, they still need a lawyer to look it over and make sure it meets their particular needs.

I don’t see any diminution of complexity in our society. I think there’ll continue to be powerful legal issues that affect all of us as the population grows, as life becomes more complex. There’ll be great need for legal assistance. It’s just we need to figure out how to provide it in a way that the public wants it, not in the way that we’re necessarily comfortable providing it.

Is there anything else you want to accomplish, or are there new things that have come up that you want to try to tackle while president?

What we’ve seen over the last several months is a breakdown in the trust between significant groups of people in our country and the criminal justice system, and we need to try to work to create a constructive dialogue. There’s empirical evidence that there is implicit bias in certain parts of our justice system, and we need to work to eliminate or try to reduce the level of bias in our criminal justice system. The American Bar Association is working with various groups around the country to try to create a framework and a forum where we can bring people together and create an environment for constructive conversation about criminal justice reform. That would include not only those people who feel disaffected by our criminal justice system, but also law enforcement officials, prosecutors, and those who we entrust to protect the public. So we’re accelerating those efforts. It’s very important that the public has confidence in its criminal justice system as well as its civil justice system, so trying to make sure that we have systems that engender that kind of confidence is very important to the American Bar Association.

In 2015, Magna Carta turns 800, and the ABA has planned many celebrations throughout the year. Is there one you are looking forward to the most?

I’m especially looking forward to the 800th anniversary, June 15, 2015, at Runnymede. There will be a delegation of 800 US lawyers there with their guests. We will join leaders of the legal system in the UK and people from around the world. To be able to celebrate 800 years of a document that truly has lived on as a defining bedrock of due process and the concept that no person is above the law is a time of great reflection and celebration.

How has your work as chair of the Board of Directors for the World Justice Project affected your feelings towards the importance of this document?

What you see, no matter what country you visit, is a basic yearning on the part of people to have a certain degree of security and freedom. Those are natural instincts, and Magna Carta stands for the idea that no person is above the law and that people are entitled to certain processes that protect their property and security.  Those principles are vital today.

Magna Carta addressed those concepts, and obviously we’ve built on those principles, and we’ve enhanced them.  Through our state constitutions and our US Constitution, Magna Carta’s principles were fundamental. It has had a direct influence on the development of principles in over 100 countries around the world, so it’s had a lasting impact. It’s not hard to see how Magna Carta was born, because the yearnings of the barons in 1215, though not exactly representative of the public at that time, are still the yearnings of people around the world today— to have some protection from the power of a king or a despot or a dictator and to be treated with a greater sense of fairness.

That’s what all people want. You can go to just about any country, and it’s just innate in people to want freedom and security. Governments need to be representative of the people, and leaders need to look out for the people and not for themselves.

We tend to focus on the differences among people. I think what I’ve learned through the ABA and the World Justice Project and these other opportunities is that we have so much more in common than we have differences. We need to focus on what we have in common instead of emphasizing how we differ from somebody or from another culture.

What is the biggest obstacle facing the legal profession today?

You have to break it down, I think, into civil and criminal. Despite the incredible dedication and hard work of police, prosecutors, public defenders, and judges, there are still significant problems in our criminal justice system.Constitutionally, we are supposed to provide effective counsel to everyone who faces incarceration in a criminal case. Yet we have not fulfilled the mandate to do that, even 50 years after Gideon v. Wainwright.

On the civil side, the biggest issue is access to justice. Despite the significant pro bono participation by the legal profession—I would say we give more away than any other profession anywhere in terms of free services to help the poor—the model we’re using is not moving the needle. We’re not able to close that justice gap.  So if, despite more effort and more hours and a culture of pro bono, you’re not closing the justice gap, then you have to look at your model and ask how you can change the model for delivery.

That’s the challenge and that’s what the Commission on the Future of Legal Services is trying to do. It’s trying to facilitate a discussion and help develop a blueprint for the future. It is our hope that this work will close the justice gap and will provide new opportunities for lawyers to help people.

In addition to the achievements already mentioned, you are a partner at Nelson Mullins and a member of the Board of Trustees for the University of South Carolina. How are you able to juggle all those demands, and make the time to get everything done in a day?

Well, I try very hard to not let things pile up. When an issue arises I try to address it as quickly as I can. There are obviously times when traveling makes it difficult or I’m in the middle of presiding over a two-day meeting and I can’t respond to everything quickly, but I try not to let problems or issues pile up. I try to think in advance about what I have to do, what should I be doing over the next three to four weeks. Am I laying the groundwork to be able to move quickly from one place to another place, from one issue to another issue?

And I try to get counsel from people whose judgment I respect, and who I know have expertise on certain issues. And frankly, there’s just no substitute for trying to work as hard as I can. You have to look at the ABA presidency as a one year opportunity and you don’t want to waste an hour, you don’t want to waste a day, and you do want to make sure that you’re spending some time every day on your strategic priorities and not being pulled into peripheral issues. You must be polite to people and you have to listen to people, but you also have to be somewhat protective to make sure that your time is spent on those issues that you have determined to be the most important. Otherwise you’ll end the year without having made a difference. 

And at the end of the day, that’s what I’m trying the hardest to do. Make the world a little bit better. Make our country a little bit better. Make our justice system a little bit more just.

So when you do have downtime, how do you like to spend it? How do you like to relax?

One or two times a year I get to quail hunt, and I enjoy walking through the woods as much as anything. The quail hunting really is an excuse to walk through the fields and the woods. I like to hike whenever I can.

I try to start most days with a brisk walk which is a good way to think about the day and also to try to get a little exercise, so even if I can’t get more exercise later I’ve at least gotten a little something in to start my day. But that’s as much for mental health as it is for physical health. I do like college sports. I follow the Gamecocks. This year I’ve not made as many games in any of the sports as I usually do, but I still follow the progress of the Gamecocks, and it’s a diversion that I enjoy.

And we have a grandchild. First one, and I cherish every minute and hour I can find to spend a little time with him. I have to say, I don’t know if this is responsive to a question, but I have been incredibly blessed to have not only the support and encouragement of my family, but also Nelson Mullins Riley and Scarborough.  Someone gave me the advice early on when I was a young lawyer and active in the Young Lawyers Division that you just can’t do it if you don’t have the support of your family and your law firm. I’ve been blessed to have the support of both. If I get any credit for having accomplished some goals then certainly my family and this law firm should share in that.

I’ll also add that I got a very good legal education at the University of South Carolina School of Law. I would put our law school, the way we teach and the quality of our faculty and just the atmosphere there, up against any law school. I’m very proud to be a graduate of the University of South Carolina School of Law, and I have seen our graduates around the country perform as well or better than graduates of other law schools that purport to be higher in the rankings. Not many law schools can claim presidents of the American Bar Association, the American Association for Justice, the Defense Research Institute, ABOTA, the Conference of Chief Justices, the Chair of the Executive Committee of the US Judicial Conference, and a number of other leadership positions.

We also have produced great trial lawyers and business lawyers out of this law school. There’s just great collegiality in our bar, and I think a lot of that comes from the fact that most of us went to the University of South Carolina School of Law and we have that common bond. And it makes for a better bar.

The School of Law’s new home is currently under construction, and set to open in 2017. Is there one feature you’re most excited about?

I’m very excited about the courtyard. If you look at where education is today, it’s all about teamwork, people working together, so it is important to create spaces for interpersonal connections and conversations. The courtyard will be a tremendous benefit, and the whole layout of the building facilitates the interaction between faculty and students.Creating common spaces is really important and will make for a much more collegial atmosphere. We need all the collegiality we can get.

Another accomplishment, I think, in the planning of it was making sure that we could get the power and utility lines underground around the law school. Otherwise you would have those power lines right outside the windows on the Gervais side, which would inhibit the view and the prestige and beauty of the building.

Do you have a favorite legal movie or TV show or fictional lawyer that you enjoy watching?

I am dating myself, but I enjoyed Perry Mason as a child. Perry Mason was really good. He always got a confession from the witness stand. I am still waiting to get my first confession during a cross-examination.

I really love lawyers. They make great company and generally have varied interests and are about something beyond themselves. Lawyers are the great protection for what one of my mentors and predecessors used to call “our great system of ordered liberty.” Bob MacCrate was ABA president when I was chair of the Young Lawyers Division, and he used to refer to “our great system of ordered liberty.” To have that system of ordered liberty work for the people you must have a strong legal profession, you must have a strong organized bar, and you must have an independent judiciary.

Getting away with murder

The turn-of-the century political scandal that rocked South Carolina

South Carolina has seen its share of notorious murders and subsequent trials, but none rocked the political and publishing worlds quite like the 1903 murder of Columbia newspaper editor N.G. Gonzales by the Palmetto State’s lieutenant governor, James Tillman.

“This was a dramatic clash between revered and important values of that time,” said James Lowell Underwood, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Constitutional Law at the School of Law. “On the one hand was the Southern male concept of honor, which doesn’t focus on honesty and integrity and living up to one’s word so much as it focuses on one’s public image. On the other hand was the sanctity of human life and freedom of the press.”

Underwood’s 12th book, “Deadly Censorship: Murder, Honor, and Freedom of the Press,” covers the scandal in depth and has been described as “the definitive examination of the true story of an epic South Carolina murder trial that shocked the nation.”

“Journalists at that time were getting rough treatment,” Underwood said, citing similar stories of newspaper editors and reporters who were shot and killed during that era. “But they were giving rough treatment in kind. Their articles were very personalized in their writing, and their stories were frequently ad hominem attacks.”

Gonzales and his brother Ambrose founded The State newspaper in 1891 to support a number of progressive causes and to oppose the regime of outspoken militant segregationist Benjamin “Pitchfork” Tillman, governor of South Carolina from 1890 to 1894. Tillman’s nephew James was elected lieutenant governor in 1900, and his similar platform and political mudslinging made him a target for Gonzales as well.

James Tillman’s problems with drinking and gambling were no secret, and they were frequent topics of Gonzales’ editorials. Underwood described one piece by Gonzales in The State that offered a sarcastic response to criticism of Tillman for betting on cockfights instead of attending to the duties of his office.

“The piece basically said, ‘Oh, he wasn’t gambling. In gambling, you have to have something of value. All Tillman was wagering was his reputation, and nobody would claim that was anything of value,’” Underwood said. When Tillman unsuccessfully ran for governor in 1902, he blamed Gonzales’ unflattering coverage in The State for his loss.

“Gonzales was a good newspaper man, but he didn’t have a sense of proportion sometimes,” Underwood said. “His former editor at The (Charleston, S.C.) News and Courier had even cautioned him that there was a better way to express himself, saying that criticism was fine, but he didn’t have to do it with such relish and venom.”

By the afternoon of Jan. 15, 1903, Tillman had had enough. He walked out of the Senate chambers for lunch, spotted Gonzales at the corner of Main and Gervais streets, and approached and shot him in the stomach. Gonzales died four days later. Tillman was arrested and reporters from around the country descended on the area to cover the proceedings. Tillman argued that he was forced to defend his honor after the negative press he had received from Gonzales. After a three-week trial, the jury returned a verdict of not guilty.

“Deadly Censorship: Murder, Honor, and Freedom of the Press” delves deep into the long-running animosity between Gonzales and Tillman that led to the shooting, the political and legal wrangling surrounding the trial, and the societal mores that led the jury to find it acceptable for one man to murder another in defense of honor. Underwood says he enjoyed researching and writing the book because he found it to be an exciting drama, with some intriguing trial strategy that those with an interest in the law will enjoy. But because the book doesn’t get lost in technicalities, it makes an interesting read for non-lawyers, as well. It has received many favorable reviews, including in American Journalism and Columbia Journalism Review.

Ironically, despite the fact that Tillman killed Gonzales in a bid to restore his honor, he never participated in politics again. He left South Carolina for California before eventually settling in Asheville, N.C., where he died from tuberculosis on April 1, 1911. The surviving Gonzales brothers, still upset over their brother’s murder, all but dismissed any legacy Tillman might have had. The announcement they ran in The State was just one sentence: “Asheville, N.C., April 1: James H. Tillman, a one-time lieutenant governor of South Carolina, died here tonight.”

Underwood’s book was published in December 2013 by the University of South Carolina Press and is the culmination of nearly eight years of work that included archival research at the South Caroliniana Library, The State newspaper and the Library of Congress, as well as personal manuscript collections at Duke, Clemson and UNC Chapel Hill. It is available in ebook and hardcover formats from USC Press, and Barnes and Noble.

Click here to listen to Underwood discuss the book on the ETV Radio program, “Walter Edgar’s Journal.”

Q and A with Colin Miller

Colin Miller came to the School of Law in July 2012 and teaches courses on evidence, criminal law and criminal adjudication. He is the creator of EvidenceProf Blog, which was recently listed as one of the ABA Journal’s Top 100 Blogs. In 2014, he became the new associate dean for faculty development.

You were selected by the students to receive the Outstanding Faculty Award last April, with some describing your class as “fun,” “engaging,” and “witty.” How did you develop your teaching style, and what drives your passion for teaching?

I developed my teaching style by focusing on creating classes I would have liked to take as a law student. As such, I incorporate a good deal of trial footage/film clips into my classes. Each class session, I give students outlines covering all of the testable material we will cover to streamline note taking. In class, I utilize the Problem Method, pursuant to which concepts are primarily learned through short hypotheticals drawn from actual, recent cases. Each semester, I administer an ungraded midterm and allow students to meet with me to discuss their performance and how to improve for the final exam. Through these and other methods, I seek to reduce student stress while making the classroom experience enriching.

In your new position, how do you envision increasing faculty engagement?

First, I’ve continued efforts started by my predecessor, the fabulous Lisa Eichhorn: faculty brown bag lunches, where we discuss everything from exam writing to encouraging class participation and faculty works-in progress presentations, where professors at all stages of the writing/editing process can get feedback. Second, I want to get people around the country to view the law school from a fresh perspective. We’ve hired a number of new faculty members over the past few years and will be moving into our new facility in a couple more. This gives the law school a chance to rebrand itself while building upon the things we have been doing well for years. I hope to promote our faculty through social media and encourage publishing in a variety of platforms beyond traditional law reviews such as blogs, online law review supplements and amicus briefs.

You came to USC Law after five years at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago. How you have you enjoyed your transition to living in the South?

I grew up in Virginia Beach, so returning to the southeast feels like a return to my roots. There are so many wonderful things that Columbia has to offer, from the weather to the people to the culture. The faculty at the law school have been extremely welcoming, and I have found the students here to be exceptionally respectful and engaged.

Your blog has found great success. Why did you decide to start it, and what advice would you give those who may be interested in starting their own legal blog?

When stepping into academia, I wanted to keep a toe dipped into what was going on in the legal trenches. EvidenceProf Blog was an attempt to keep current on emerging evidentiary issues while writing about them in a manner that would be accessible to legal experts as well as those interacting with the law for the first time. The advice I would give to those interested in starting a blog is to be willing to share your own perspective. I think that most people like to read blogs to get some value added to regular news stories. I often find that my most popular posts are when I disagree with the opinion of a court or share why some new law or policy will have a positive impact.

You’ve written a series of posts about the podcast “Serial,” which deals with the prosecution of 17 year old Adnan Syed for the murder of his ex-girlfriend in 1999. Why did you start writing about “Serial?”

My colleague Claire Raj introduced me to it, and I was instantly hooked. In addition to being a compelling narrative, it also touched on so many concepts that I discuss in my classes: hearsay, character evidence, expert evidence, ineffective assistance of counsel, etc. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. I’ve received good feedback from those in the legal community, and have also been contacted by a number of non-lawyers who are getting their first significant exposure to the American criminal justice system. I try to write in a way that is both accessible to the lay person and technical enough to appeal to attorneys.

Have you (and if so, how) used the podcast and Syed’s case in the classes you teach?

I haven’t explicitly used it in class, but I have used some of the concepts discussed in it such as cell tower pings and the admissibility of statements in diaries and letters. I’ve also had a few law professor contact me who were interested in using the case as the basis for hypotheticals and exams.

What led you to a career in law (and then into academia)?

My grandfather served in World War II and was later diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. For years, he engaged in a legal battle with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs to have his MS deemed combat-induced. His persistence over the years inspired me to become a lawyer. As for entering academia, I come from a family of teachers and feel like teaching is in my blood. From back in my teenage days serving as an assistant coach for youth sports teams, I have always loved the process of trying to make the difficult seem easy and seeing the growth in those around me.

When you’re not teaching or writing, how do you like relax and unwind?

Spending time with my wife, tennis, swimming, movies, and fiction writing.

Breaking ground, moving forward

The future home of the University of South Carolina School of Law

A new University of South Carolina School of Law building is taking form with the first load of structural steel delivered in February.

It’s tremendous progress, especially considering it was only a few months ago that more than 400 law school faculty, students, and alumni came out for the ceremonial groundbreaking on Sept. 26, 2014. And while it may have been the symbolic turning of dirt the crowd came to see that day, the message they carried away was of the promise of a brighter future for our state and our nation.

“I would not be overly bold if I said that no college at the University of South Carolina has had a greater impact on the Palmetto State than our School of Law,” said University President Harris Pastides. “The rule of law is one of the great pillars of civilization. The work that will be accomplished here will impact the quality of life for men, women, and children in South Carolina, and I hope throughout the world, for generations to come.”

During his remarks, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, ’81, said, “What comes out of this building is the most important aspect of why we’re here today, and I’m here to tell you that what’s going to come out of this building in the future is going to be some of the best lawyers and judges in the entire United States: family court judges, trial judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and those who represent average, everyday South Carolinians.

“One of the most important things I can do in my time in politics is to be a partner with USC to build a law school that will tell the world that South Carolina cares about the rule of law.”

Jean H. Toal, ’68, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of South Carolina, said, “It’s not too much to say that South Carolina has made a major new investment in the creation of a just society for its citizens. This is where the lawyers of the future — in whose hands the rule of law will be crafted — will be trained.”

So how will the new law school fulfill this promise? How can a building change legal education and improve the way students are being prepared to be the leaders of tomorrow?

According to Dean Rob Wilcox, a major part of it comes down to the fact that the new building was specifically designed to enhance the synergy among faculty, students, and the legal community in ways that the current building can’t accommodate.

“One of the immediate impacts on South Carolina’s legal profession is that this building will open up so many opportunities to bring together judges and lawyers with students and faculty,” Wilcox said. “It will be built in a way that increases interaction and facilitates communication, and that will change the entire climate of the law school.”

Breaking ground image twoExpected to open in 2017, the three-story, 187,500-square-foot school will occupy the block bounded by Gervais, Bull, Senate and Pickens streets in downtown Columbia, creating an important legal nexus for the state and the university. In addition to its proximity to the state legislature, State Supreme Court, municipal courthouses and downtown law firms, the new building will be located directly across Gervais Street from the USC Law Children’s Law Center, where research, training, and education on children’s legal issues will be performed, and one block north of the National Advocacy Center, where federal prosecutors are trained.

First-year students Travis Bain and Sara Shariff believe the advanced tools and features of the new school will certainly benefit future students.

“Facilities capable of providing the structure and environment needed to develop a bright legal future is probably one of the biggest things that a prospective law student might look for,” said Bain. “The new school conveys to both students and the community that USC is committed to the development of young legal professionals.”

The new building definitely factored into Shariff’s decision to attend USC for law school. “Although I realized I wouldn’t get much time in the new building,” she said, “I still considered the school’s growth. The opening of the new building will be a huge moment in the law school’s history, and I am glad to be part of this monumental change.”

A message from the Dean

While 2014 was filled with accomplishments, two major events took place that made it arguably one of the most exciting years in the history of our great school.

First, as you hopefully know, we broke ground on our new building in September 2014, and construction has since been Rob Wilcoxmoving swiftly. Every day, I watch our new home taking shape and changing both the future of our school and the landscape of our city. As the steel girders go up, I can’t help but be excited, not only for the future of our law school, but also for its past and present.

The new building represents a tremendous step forward in the investment the university is making in the School of Law. As evidenced by the distinguished group of alumni present at the groundbreaking, our school has long been a critical part of the state and nation. The university recognizes the importance it has played — and will continue to play — in the law profession in this state. I hope you’ll enjoy learning more about the unique features of our new home that will benefit South Carolina’s legal community, the university, and our students for years to come.

Second, we are tremendously proud of one of our own, William Hubbard, who is currently serving as president of the American Bar Association. He took time out of his very busy schedule to sit down with us and share the progress on the first half of his ABA presidency and offer a glimpse at what lies in store for the remainder of his term.

Of course we are proud of the many leaders the School of Law has produced, and in these pages you’ll learn about a number of your fellow graduates who, like Mr. Hubbard, have led national legal organizations.

And if you are a fan of the public radio podcast “Serial,” then chances are you’re also familiar with Professor Colin Miller’s EvidenceProf blog. His series of posts that provided a “legal companion” to the record-breaking podcast broke a few records of its own. With almost a million page views, it is the most read series on the Law Professors Blog Network. Colin shares why he started blogging about the show and offers advice to those interested in starting their own legal blogs. Of course, as our new associate dean for faculty development, you’ll also hear his plans for raising the profile of our professors on the national stage.

Speaking of professors, you’ll read about the latest work of Distinguished Professor Emeritus Jim Underwood, and we’ll introduce you to our six newest faculty members and their innovative scholarly work.

These are just a few of the highlights you’ll find in this issue. I hope you will agree with me that we have many good reasons to be proud of our law school, and our future has never been brighter.


Robert M. Wilcox