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Section IX - Student Services

A. Student Affairs

  1. The Law School Student Affairs offices are located in Suite 127 of the Student Services Suite on the first floor of the School of Law.  The staff of Student Affairs comprises of Heather Beatty, the Director of Student Affairs and Jacob Watters, Coordinator of Student Affairs.

    Student Affairs happily serves as your resource for a multitude of services, however, our most “frequent flyers” are:   
    • Accommodations & Disability Services
    • Awards
    • Bar Application Forms
    • Bar Review Loans
    • December and May Commencement and Hooding Ceremonies
    • Counseling Services
    • Emergency Student Loans
    • Housing
    • Joint Journal Writing Competition
    • Lockers and Mailboxes
    • Mental Health and Wellness Resources
    • Orientation
    • External Scholarship and Writing Competitions
    • Student Organizations
  2. Emergency Loan Program

The School of Law has an emergency student loan program available to all currently enrolled full-time law students, in good academic standing with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.00. The loans are limited to $500.00 and have a 7% interest rate.  They must be repaid within 90 days of receiving the loan.  A student may only have one emergency loan outstanding at a time.


Students requesting an emergency loan must complete an application form, available in Room 127. Completed applications will be reviewed by the Director of Student Affairs. For the purposes of qualifying for an emergency student loan an "emergency" shall be defined as "a sudden state of financial need relating to or impacting on the education of a law student."

Loan requests are granted only for educational related expenses. After the application has been approved, necessary forms are prepared, and the student may take them to the Office of Student Loan Accounting at 1244 Blossom Street, where a check will be prepared and given to the student immediately.

Should a student have an outstanding emergency loan balance when a federal student loan is received, the Office of Student Loan Accounting will request authorization to deduct the outstanding balance from the federal loan monies. It is the responsibility of the student to make sure that the loan is paid off no later than the date due.

Emergency loans are available during the fall and spring semesters and during summer school if the student is enrolled. However, no emergency loans will be made during the period between semesters.



B. Career & Professional Development

 

The Office of Career & Professional Development (C&PD) looks forward to supporting you in charting a path to a meaningful career. In order to most successfully partner with you as you navigate your career path, it is important that you remain engaged with us. 

 

We make the following commitments to you. We will:

 

    • Provide you with individualized career development and job search strategy advice and guidance 
    • Educate you regarding job search tools, career options and trajectories, and critical competencies necessary for success in the legal profession
    • Communicate with you regarding job, educational, professional development, and networking opportunities
    • Respond to your requests for information and guidance
    • Coordinate on- and off-campus interview programs and post job opportunities
    • Engage with industry leaders and employer representatives to remain up-to-date about the legal job market and expand opportunities for South Carolina Law students and graduates

 

In turn, we ask that you make the following commitments to us. You will: 

 

    • Review and respond to our communications
    • Provide us with information related to your summer and post-graduate employment
    • Honor your commitments to: 
      • C&PD by attending educational, professional development, and networking events and opportunities for which you registered
      • Prospective Employers by attending scheduled interviews (so long as you remain available for employment)
        • By bidding for an in-person on-campus interview, you are confirming your availability for an in-person interview on the scheduled day
        • By bidding for a virtual on-campus interview, you are confirming your availability for a virtual interview on the scheduled day 
      • Your future employers, by withdrawing your applications and canceling interviews once you have accepted a summer or post-graduate position, which would make you unavailable for the position for which you are withdrawing
    • Truthfully represent your credentials and background throughout all phases of the job search process, including in your application documents and while interviewing

 

 

C. Registrar and Academic Services

 

Information and advisement on the following matters are available through the Registrar/Academic Services Office, Room 128.

  • Course Requirements
  • Degree Requirements
  • Dual Degree Programs
  • Enrollment Verifications
  • Exam Administration
  • Grades
  • Graduation
  • Registration
  • Self Service Carolina
  • State Bar Certifications
  • Student Records*
  • Study Abroad/Visiting other Law Schools
  • Transfer Students
  • Transient Students
  • Tuition and Fee Payment
  • Withdrawals/Leave of Absence/Readmission

*Note: official transcripts are only available through the University Registrar’s Office at 1244 Blossom Street.

 

 D. Pro Bono Program

             

Started in 1989, the USC Pro Bono Program is the first voluntary pro bono program in a US law school.  The Pro Bono Program is open to ALL USC law students who are interested in volunteering in the community. By volunteering you can hone the skills necessary to develop your career while gaining valuable experience.

The goals of the Program are:

    • to provide opportunities for skills enhancement and career development;
    • to involve law students in the volunteer programs of the community; and
    • to foster the ethic of professional commitment to those who are unrepresented.

 The Volunteer Opportunities listed on the web are linked to a job description outlining the benefits and responsibilities for each activity as well as the core competencies and skills that could be attained by volunteering with that project. The Skills Inventory and Core Competencies are an integral part of your legal education and we want to be sure you have every opportunity to advance in the necessary areas that will insure a successful future in the practice of law. In additional each Volunteer Opportunity will provide a brief description of any required training.

The ABA recommends that all attorneys provide 50 hours of pro bono service to the unrepresented and although law students are not technically required to follow this rule it is highly recommended that every student start off their professional careers on the right foot.  A personal goal of 50 hours annually of pro bono work is quite easily achievable and has proven to bring great satisfaction and well-being to those students who strive to set the bar high.  To assist in keeping track of this goal the Pro Bono Program has developed an online web-based time and reflection collection program entitled M.Y. Pro Bono. (Managing Your Pro Bono)  At USC Law, pro bono engagement is personal. Our goal is for you to have a positive experience, learn new skills, explore career options and adopt the ethic of service as an integral element in your professional identity. Motivation to serve is unique to each person. We will do our best to keep you motivated and engaged.

The Pro Bono Board is a select group of 2nd and 3rd year USC Law Students who have demonstrated their commitment to the Pro Bono Program and volunteerism.  They serve as spokespeople and recruiters as well as provide ongoing support to the overall Program operation.  Each Spring the past Pro Bono Board selects new Pro Bono members.  Selection is based, first and foremost on a demonstrated commitment to the goals of the Pro Bono Program.  All students are encouraged to contact any member of the Board for more information and to receive nomination information. Email addresses are on the homepage. In addition, bulletin boards outside the office list the Board members.

Annually the Pro Bono Program Board honors the top volunteers in the Law School.  The description and criteria for the Hugh Willcox Volunteer of the Year and the Outstanding Pro Bono Service Awards are located on the homepage.

The Pro Bono Program is also the lead project manager for the newest USC School of Law project- the Palmetto LEADER. The Palmetto LEADER is a program designed to take legal services and educational outreach to underserved and predominately rural sections of SC.  This is accomplished using a specially designed, fully equipped 43’ bus! Pro Bono Program students and volunteer attorneys will staff the bus. It will also be used for rural outreach by the Clinical Department faculty and students. Other law schools have similar projects, but no other law school has such a large bus reaching out to the entire state. Information about the Palmetto Leader can be found at: https://www.sc.edu/study/colleges_schools/law/community_resources/palmettoleader/index.php

The Pro Bono Program works to connect the knowledge of the classroom to the real world of your community. Start your journey by dropping in to Room 386 or browsing the web; either way we look forward to sharing your experience.

 

E. Accommodations & Disability Services

 

The School of Law’s Student Affairs Office works directly with the University of South Carolina’s Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC) to provide services and accommodations to meet the varying needs of law students with disabilities. The SDRC facilitates academic accommodations for students with documented physical, medical, sensory, and psychiatric disabilities. The SDRC also facilitates academic accommodations for students with documented learning disabilities. These services and accommodations are in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. Section 504 states, in part, that “no otherwise qualified handicapped individual. . . shall, solely by reason of his/her handicap, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. . .”

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states, in part, that “an individual with a disability” is a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a “major life activity”, has a record of such an impairment or is regarded as having such an impairment. The ADA requires that public entities “must ensure that individuals with disabilities are not excluded from services, programs, and activities because buildings are inaccessible”.

Students seeking an accommodation need to register with the Student Disability Resource Center before an accommodation will be given at the law school.  You can contact them via their website: 

Services and accommodations provided by the SDRC may include, but are not limited to: https://www.sc.edu/about/offices_and_divisions/student_disability_resource_center/index.php

  • Assessment of needs for law school  (textbooks, electronic sources, ability to wear hats/glasses, etc.)
  • Assistance with examinations (space, time, and technology)
  • Facilities accommodations assistance (seating, technology, etc.)
  • Liaison service with numerous organizations offering services for disabled persons
  • Pre-admission counseling
  • Providing readers, interpreters, or note takers, and/or other recording services

The Student Disability Resource Center notifies the Student Affairs office regarding a student’s approved accommodations.  Once notified of the approval, the Student Affairs office will meet with the student to explain to them how their approved accommodations will be fulfilled within the School of Law’s program and abilities.  It is our mission to provide these accommodations and services to assist students in successfully completing the program. Students are informed that while reasonable accommodations are available for disabilities, they are held to the same academic performance standards as any other student.

At the law school, the names of the students with accommodations are not disclosed to faculty members.  For purposes of the exams, the Student Affairs Office works extremely closely with Academic Affairs and the accommodated student to maintain the anonymity of the student. 

It is the policy of the Law School and the University of South Carolina to provide students a prompt and suitable method for resolving complaints alleging any action prohibited by the U.S. Department of Education regulations implementing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. 794) and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

            Procedures:

  1. Student complaints of discrimination based on a disability must be forwarded in writing to the Director, 1523 Greene Street, LeConte Room 112A, Columbia, SC 29208.

  2. A complaint must be filed in writing within 15 working days after the complainant becomes aware of the alleged violation. If a complainant needs assistance composing the complaint, appropriate assistance may be arranged through the Office of Educational Support Services.

  3. An appropriate investigation shall follow the filing of the complaint. The investigation shall be conducted by the Director of Judicial Affairs, and may be informal but thorough, affording all interested persons and their representatives, if any, an opportunity to submit evidence relevant to the complaint.

  4. A written determination as to the validity of the complaint and a description of the resolution, if any, shall be issued by the Director of Judicial Affairs and forwarded to the complainant as soon as the investigation is concluded, normally no later than 30 working days after the filing of the complaint.

  5. The Section 504 and ADA coordinator for students on the Columbia campus shall maintain the files and records of Section 504 and ADA complaints filed by students at U.S.C. Columbia. In addition, such files and records as are necessary for system-wide Section 504 monitoring and reporting purposes shall be maintained by the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs.

  6. The complainant may request a reconsideration of the case if dissatisfied with the resolution. The request for reconsideration must be made in writing to the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs, 1600 Hampton Street, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208 within 10 working days after the complainant’s receipt of notification of the resolution.

  7. The right to a prompt and equitable resolution of a complaint filed hereunder shall not be impaired by the person’s pursuit of other remedies such as the filing of a Section 504 and ADA complaint with the appropriate federal department or agency.

 

 

 


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