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Joseph F. Rice School of Law

Staying prepared for success

Transitioning to online classes at the end of the semester was just the beginning of the challenges South Carolina Law students faced because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Summer jobs are an invaluable way for students to gain work experience, strengthen the practical skills they have learned during the school year, and build professional contacts. But with summer clerkships canceled or drastically scaled back, how would they take advantage of these important opportunities?

The ultimate goal, Beal says, is for students to include this program on their resume as proof of their continued engagement in their professional development, even if their summer positions didn’t turn out the way they hoped.

The Carolina Clerks: Pro Bono Clerks for Pro Bono Lawyers was another avenue to pair students with practitioners, and the SC Bar’s Law School for Non-Lawyer course material was ready for an update. The attorneys who authored the original material were willing to work with a team of students who are in the process of reviewing, researching and recommending updates.

Moving the Friday Blitz to a remote format was easy. Once a month a team of lawyers and law students meet by Web-Ex, using the chat feature to respond to questions posted by the public on the SC Bar’s Free Legal Answers forum, and reducing the backlog of questions to zero.

When Betsy Goodale '91, the SC Bar Pro Bono Program director, set up a COVID-19 Legal Hotline it quickly became apparent that students could be a valuable part of the recovery and response mechanism. Carefully drafted step by step instructions were a start and before long the students were handling requests like a pro. Meeting the present need was the initial task, but when a future disaster hits, a successful template is already in place.

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