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Joseph F. Rice School of Law

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Through the law school’s eight in-house clinics, you have the opportunity to practice law as a student attorney. Clinic students get to interview and counsel clients, litigate cases, attend nonprofit board meetings, and prepare court pleadings and transactional documents.

All clinics are open to second semester 2Ls and 3Ls who have completed relevant prerequisite coursework.
Clinic students are permitted to practice law as student attorneys under South Carolina Appellate Court Rule 401, which allows them to represent indigent clients, and nonprofit organizations under the law license of the professor supervising the individual clinic.

In-House Clinics at South Carolina Law

The CHAMPS Clinic is a collaboration of the School of Law, the USC School of Medicine, and Prisma Health. The CHAMPS Clinic offers law students the opportunity to work on legal cases that impact children’s health, including SSI, Medicaid, and SNAP appeals, as well as on Powers of Attorney and Health Care Powers of Attorney. Students work in collaboration with doctors, social workers, and other health professionals on their cases.

Through the Criminal Practice Clinic, students will represent clients who have been accused of criminal conduct.  Hearings will take place before a jury in the Municipal Court for the City of Columbia.

The Domestic Violence Clinic affords third-year law students the opportunity to represent individuals seeking protection from domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking through emergency civil litigation.

The Education Rights Clinic allows students to participate in the advocacy of children and families in the context of educational law. 

The Nonprofit Organizations Clinic provides third-year law students the opportunity to represent charitable nonprofit organizations as Student Attorneys in various transactional law matters.

The Tax Clinic provides legal assistance to low-income South Carolinians with federal income tax controversies. The Tax Clinic is dedicated to helping taxpayers understand and manage their tax issues, like balances due and tax audits, and to educating them about their rights and responsibilities as U.S. taxpayers.

The Veterans Legal Clinic is a year-round clinic that serves the legal needs of indigent veterans and their families, allowing them to continue making a positive impact on their communities.  Services are available to veterans facing issues on credit and related financial matters, housing issues, government benefits, and family law issues. 

Student attorneys in the Youth Defender Clinic represent teenagers accused of crimes and status offenses in Richland and Lexington County Family Court. Student attorneys interview and counsel clients, investigate and research cases, prepare for trials, negotiate with solicitors and the Department of Juvenile Justice, and advocate for clients in and out of court at all stages of a case from intake through disposition. 

Faculty Supervision

South Carolina Law has long been committed to a client-contact clinical program taught by experienced, full-time faculty and located in the law school. Seven members of the full-time faculty and one part-time faculty member devote a substantial portion of their teaching energies to in-house clinical legal education.

The client-contact clinical courses are six credits and are structured with both practical and classroom components to provide students not only with an opportunity to gain skills but with an opportunity for reflection upon their performances and the lawyer's role in the legal system.

To accomplish these goals, much of the teaching in clinical courses is done on a one-on-one basis. Faculty members observe or review all student work and provide detailed critiques. As a result, student demand for clinical courses is high.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the types of work we have done for our clients. I also enjoy the intrapersonal side of helping construct Bylaws that reflect what an organization actually does. Mostly, I like that at the end of the day, we are working with people who want to make a difference and help the public. I have been very inspired by many of the clients and their missions. It feels great to combine what I think my talents are with being able to help organizations make a difference.

Emma Higgins '23
Emma Higgins '23

Contact Us

Emily Suski

Emily Suski

Associate Dean for Clinics & Externships
1525 Senate Street, Ste. 354
Columbia, SC 29208
Learn more about Emily

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.