Steps to Becoming a Lawyer in South Carolina

The South Carolina bar become organized in 1888 with 200 members. Now, it has about 17,000 members. Lawyers in South Carolina average about $115,000 per year in earnings. Industries in the state include textiles, grains and aerospace. It’s population as a state is more than 5 million people, with its main population center being in the Greenville, Spartanburg and Gastonia area. That area has a population of about one and a half million people. There are opportunities in South Carolina, and it you’d like to be a lawyer there, read on.

Get that Undergraduate Degree First

Although the South Carolina Office of Bar Admissions doesn’t require any type of classes for admission, it does require you to graduate a law school that’s accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA). Of course, the ABA has a requirement that you possess a bachelor’s degree before entering law school.  There are no hard and fast rules on what you should take though. That’s because there is no such thing as a pre-law degree. Aside from your major, we recommend that the following classes be taken to prepare you for law school: English composition, political science, criminal justice, sociology, psychology, government, history and communications. When it comes to your major, law school admission committees don’t really care. They want to see you major in something that’s challenging, and makes you work for your grades. Hard earned grades are a key to law school admission. If you work hard and earn your degree, that’s what they want to see. On that basis, your degree could be in anything from engineering to art history, so long as you have the grades to back it up.

Taking the LSAT

The LSAT is known in legal circles as the Law School Admission Test.  It takes about three and a half hours to complete, and it really has nothing to do with the law. It’s a great tool for measuring your abilities in law school though. We strongly recommend taking a preparation class on the LSAT. It doesn’t teach you the correct answers, but does teach you how to take the test. Take it seriously too. This test can literally turn your life around. It consists of five 35-minute sessions. Three of them contribute to your LSAT score though. The experimental section doesn’t count, but you’re not told which one that is. The written section doesn’t count either, but it is sent to law schools that you apply to, so you need to do well on that part of the exam to.  Your score is primarily from reading comprehension, analytical reasoning and logical Reasoning.

Applying for the LSAT

You’ll apply for the LSAT through the Law School Admission Council. The test is given four times per year in November, January, March and June at a cost of $215. You can expect to get your results in about three weeks.  Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get into one of the in-state law schools. There are another 200 of them scattered across the country. If you’ve gone this far, you’re likely to get in somewhere, and still be able to sit for the bar exam in South Carolina. There are two accredited law schools in South Carolina. Their names and LSAT scores appear below:

  • University of South Carolina 155
  • Charleston School of Law 146

The Credential Assembly Service

Use of the Credential Assembly Service is mandatory. This service gathers your transcripts, letters of recommendation, evaluations, writing samples and LSAT scores and forwards them to the schools that you have selected to apply to. The cost is $215 and $45 per school. You’ll actually find the service to be quite useful rather than doing this task by yourself. All ABA accredited law schools are available electronically through your account.

Class Requirements and Internships

You’ll typically find the following classes as prerequisites. The list isn’t inclusive either: Civil procedure, contracts, constitutional law, criminal law, legal research and writing, property, torts and Uniform Commercial Code. There is time for electives too. You’re also likely to be given an internship. This entails hands on experience in what you’ve learned already in law school. You’ll be graded on this, so your best efforts are rewarded.

Trial Experience

South Carolina also has Rule 403 that sets forth minimum trial experience for attorneys. Pay particular attention to this rule. You cannot first chair any trial without complying with Rule 403. An appropriate certificate of compliance must be filed.

Taking the South Carolina Bar Exam

Much like you did for the LSAT, you’ll want to take another preparation class for the bar exam. This time, it will be far more detailed. You’re admonished to pay attention throughout each segment of the preparation class. Your fullest attention to this prep class and answering the questions may well get you through the bar exam. South Carolina Administers the Uniform Bar Exam. Day 1 calls for 6 Multistate Essay Exam questions, followed by two essay questions in the afternoon. Day 2 is the Multistate Bar Exam. There will be 100 multiple choice questions in the morning, and 100 in the afternoon. Scores on the South Carolina bar exam ae weighted as follows: 50% on the Multistate Bar Exam, 30% on the Multistate Essay Exam and 20% on the Multistate Performance Test.

It will cost $1,000 to sit for the bar exam. Pay particular attention to the application for admission. You must also pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam with a scaled score of 77. That must be done within four years of when you file your petition for admission to the bar. The South Carolina Bar Exam pass rate for February off 2022 was 69% for July of 2022. You’ll be given information on swearing in ceremonies. Congratulations! You’re now a real lawyer You can practice anywhere in the state of South Carolina’s court system.