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School of Law

A Path Forward

In the fall of 2018, the University of South Carolina School of Law undertook an extensive strategic planning initiative, which included outreach to alumni as well as faculty, students and staff.  Special thanks to each of you who took the time to share your insights and views on the future of the law school and the legal profession. Below you will find a few key insights from the study.

More than 600 alumni participated in at least one of the outreach tools used to gain insights from alumni, including an electronic survey (564 responses), five focus groups (10-15 participants each), and individual interviews with seven members of the alumni council.   

As a result of Dean Wilcox’s decision to return to the faculty, and the impending arrival of a new dean, we decided to create a limited summary of the inputs we received as well as an analysis of their potential implications. This final report will be delivered to the new dean for his consideration and further decision. Among the findings were the following results:

Peer Institutions:

When asked to name peer law schools to UofSC Law, alumni named the following six schools most frequently:

  • University of Georgia (19.31%)
  • University of North Carolina (10.01%)
  • Charleston School of Law (5.86%)
  • University of Tennessee (5.76%)
  • University of Florida (2.63%)
  • University of Alabama (2.12%) 

With 534 responses (response rate of 94.68%), these six law schools only account for half the responses from alumni (Chart 1); the other responses were dispersed among various law schools.   In the view of alumni, UofSC Law competes primarily with other Southeastern law schools.

Significant Factors:

In selecting peer law schools to UofSC Law, alumni were asked to identify the factors underlying their responses.  The factors identified (Chart 2) provide evidence that alumni see UofSC Law as a state-focused institution with a Southeastern U.S. presence.

  • Reputation/Ranking (19.49%)
  • Location (17.45%)
  • Employment Opportunities (7.77%)
  • Cost (6.24%)
  • Academic Rigor (6.11%)
  • Alumni Quality/Success (5.35%)
  • State Schools (4.20%)

There were 321 responses to this question (response rate of 56.91%).

Competitive Advantage:

Alumni were also asked to identify current or emerging program strengths of UofSC Law that could create competitive advantage.  Alumni identified only three current or emerging areas of the law with any relevant frequency (Chart 3):

  • Cybersecurity and privacy (19.60%)
  • Technology and law broadly defined (14.50%)
  • International law (9.40%)

With 372 responses (response rate of 65.96%), only cybersecurity and technology received double digit support, and none achieved a response rate above twenty percent. More than fifty percent of respondents cited a range of possibilities, none of which garnered significant measurable support.

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