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Joseph F. Rice School of Law

  • Graduate Posing

J.D. Program

The Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree is a three-year, full-time program. Students must earn 90 credits to graduate.

Three Reasons to Choose South Carolina Law

  1. Find your unique skills and strengths and preview different areas of law through your coursework, externships, clinics, and pro bono work. 
  2. Dive deep on subjects you're really passionate about, with professors who are at the top of their fields in areas like environmental law, children's law, litigation and many others.
  3. Transition seamlessly into a successful career. You'll have lots of opportunities to meet other attorneys and find your niche, thanks to our vast alumni network and connections with government entities here in the state capital.

First Year Courses

First year courses cover basic legal principles and prepare you for the more specialized courses you'll take your second and third year.

Your first year courses will include:

An introduction to the substantive law of crimes. The primary emphasis is on those rules, principles, and doctrines applicable to most or many crimes. These doctrines include actus reus (What is a criminal act?), mens rea (What states of mind are criminal?), and the defenses of insanity, intoxication, impossibility, mistake, duress, necessity, and self-defense.

An introduction to the law governing contracts, both common law and the Uniform Commercial Code. Topics covered include the agreement process, requirements for enforceability, interpretation and meaning, defenses, and remedies.

A tort is a harmful act or infringement of a right that can lead to civil liability. You'll study the legal protections related to the security of one’s person, property, or intangible interests; the analysis of intentional interference, negligence, and strict liability in the context of recognized categories of tort liability.

You'll get an overview of the different roles in which lawyers serve and the different work environments in which lawyers are employed. Meet members of the legal profession, hear about the daily work of lawyers in different settings, receive information about handling the responsibilities of law practice, learn about the range of lawyers’ duties and to whom those duties are owed, and be introduced to the basic principles of professionalism.

You'll learn how to analyze cases and statutes, how to identify and understand legal rules derived from these authorities, and how to apply those rules to make informed predictions about legal issues. You'll also learn how to convey legal analysis clearly and concisely, and how to draft a legal prediction in the form of a memorandum of law.

Civil Procedure is the study of the complex rules that govern who can sue whom – and how, when, and where they can do it. The course will focus on pleadings, joinder, discovery, summary judgment, trial and post-trial motions, preclusion doctrines, personal jurisdiction, subject matter jurisdiction, removal, supplemental jurisdiction, venue, and Erie doctrine.

The course will focus primarily upon the acquisition, characteristics, and transferability of property interests, as well as the relationship between privately held property interests in land and government regulation of that land for public purposes. Topics covered in the course will typically include adverse possession, estates, future interests, landlord tenant, easements, covenants, purchase & sale, deeds, and financing.

A study of the structure of the Federal Government, the function of the Supreme Court in constitutional government, and the provisions of the United States Constitution that guarantee and protect individual rights against governmental encroachment. Topics include judicial review, sources and limits of congressional power, presidential power, equal protection, substantive due process and identification of unenumerated fundamental rights, freedom of speech, and the religion clauses.

Academic Bulletin

Our academic bulletin includes degree requirements, learning outcomes, and course descriptions.

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