South Carolina provides special admission rules for deans and tenured law professors and a separate rule for law professors teaching in clinical law programs.
Dean and Tenured Law Professors
Rule 402(m) of the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules permits the Dean and tenured law professors at the University of South Carolina School of Law and the Charleston School of Law to be admitted in South Carolina without taking the bar exam, Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (“MPRE”) or the South Carolina Bridge the Gap program.
Attorneys must be admitted to practice law in the highest court of another state or District of Columbia for at least five years, have been full-time and continuous members of the faculty at the University of South Carolina School of Law with the rank of assistant professor or higher for the previous three or more complete academic years, and have been recommended for admission by the Dean or President of the University of South Carolina.
Clinical Law Professors
Rule 414 of the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules allows law professors licensed in another jurisdiction for at least three years, and teaching in a clinical law program, to obtain a limited certificate of admission to practice law in South Carolina.
Law professors must:
- Be employed full-time by an ABA approved law school within South Carolina and be responsible for supervising or teaching in the clinical law program operated by the law school.
- Have received a J.D. or L.L.B degree from an ABA approved law school at the time the degree was conferred.
- Have been admitted to practice law in the highest court of another state or the District of Columbia for at least three years.
- Be members in good standing in each jurisdiction where admitted to practice law.
- Cannot be disbarred or suspended from the practice of law and cannot be subject to any pending disciplinary proceedings in any other jurisdiction.
- Have not, within the past five years, been denied admission to a bar for character or ethical reasons or disciplined for professional misconduct.
Law professors may only provide legal services in connection with the supervision or instruction at the law school clinical program.
Law professors cannot request nor receive compensation or remuneration of any kind for legal services from the client.
Practice under a limited certificate is deemed to be the active engagement in the practice of law and is subject to all duties and obligations of active members of the South Carolina Bar and to all rules on the practice of law. These rules include the Rules of Professional Conduct and the Rules for Law Disciplinary Enforcement. Law professors engaging in practice exceeding what is permitted may also be subject to discipline under Rule 413, a suspension or revocation of the limited license, or being held in contempt of court for engaging in the unauthorized practice of law.
Application and Certification
Law professors are required to file an application with the Clerk of the South Carolina Supreme Court. The application includes a certificate of good standing from each jurisdiction where the attorney has been admitted to practice law and a statement signed by the law school Dean where the attorney is employed stating that the attorney is employed at an ABA clinical law school program, will only provide legal services in connection with the clinical law program, and will not receive compensation from the client.
The limited certificate expires if the attorney:
- Is no longer employed at an ABA clinical law school program.
- No longer provides legal services in connection with the clinical law program.
- Asks for or receives compensation from the client.
- Is otherwise admitted to the South Carolina Bar.
- Fails to fulfill the obligations required of active members of the South Carolina Bar.
- Is suspended or disbarred from the practice of law in South Carolina or any other jurisdiction.
- Fails to be a member of the bar in good standing before the highest court of at least one other state or the District of Columbia.
Upon expiration, the attorney must immediately surrender the certificate to the Clerk of the South Carolina Supreme Court.