Law school credit to area
The jury is no longer out in the case of the Charleston School of Law, and the verdict by the American Bar Association is that the private school meets or exceeds standards for law schools.
This good news isn't a surprise. The school, which opened in 2004, received provisional accreditation on its first try in 2006. Almost 900 have graduated and been able to take the BAR exam.
The shortcomings cited in 2006 included diversity, staffing, governance and the library. They were addressed quickly. For example, CSOL doubled its percentage of black students -- 9 percent compared to the national average of 7 percent.
Still, the ABA requires a school with provisional status to wait five years before applying for full accreditation.
Meanwhile, the Charleston School of Law has proven an asset in the legal arena and beyond. It has, for example, helped in the renewal of upper King Street, where its campus is located.
And its record is impressive for students passing the BAR and getting jobs. In 2010, 83 percent of its graduates found jobs or enrolled in advanced degree programs.
CSOL also has, to the area's benefit, attracted first-rate lawyers as professors, some of whom taught at the University of South Carolina School of Law.
The Lowcountry profits from all its institutions of higher education. The School of Law is a valuable addition to the list, which includes the College of Charleston, The Citadel, the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston Southern, Trident Technical College and the American College of the Building Arts.
When choosing where to locate, business and industry consider the area's educational components. Studies show graduates have a better chance of finding jobs and tend to get paid more.
They even smoke less.
They also tend to do more volunteer and civic work. Indeed, CSOL students must do 30 hours of service before they graduate. And the mantra of the Charleston School of Law is that the primary purpose of the legal profession is public service.
Congratulations to the Charleston School of Law, its faculty, staff, students and graduates.