Edward J. Westbrook of Mount Pleasant has won The Post and Courier’s Golden Pen Award for August for his letter to the editor “Law school’s reputation is at stake.”
The letter focused on the proposed sale of the Charleston School of Law to InfiLaw. Mr. Westbrook, one of the school’s five founders, wrote:
“CSOL has many concerned students, faculty, alumni, community advisors and a wonderful staff who are entitled to clarity,” adding that “the process has not been as inclusive or transparent as it should have been.”
He pointed out: “From the numerous calls and other contacts I have received, and the broad language in some media reports, it is apparent that many do not realize that I was the one director who voted against any InfiLaw arrangement.”
And: “My disagreement was not over the need for an ownership succession plan. With two of the five founders in their mid-to-late 70s, and two in their mid-to-late 60s, our mortality mandated that we plan for our inevitable departure.
“Rather, I differed from my colleagues in the manner of succession, believing that a gradual replacement of departing members by other South Carolina legal community leaders to be preferable to a wholesale turnover of the school to an out-of-state corporate interest.”
He stressed that “a law school’s reputation is its most precious asset,” lamenting, “I have watched with dismay as that reputation has been called into question by the specter of an InfiLaw purchase.”
He concluded his letter with: “My two fellow directors, as proponents of the InfiLaw transaction, are entitled to take credit for it where credit is due, and should provide complete explanations about it when questions are asked. Our students, faculty, staff, and the legal community deserve no less.”
Golden Pen winners are invited to an annual luncheon with the editorial staff.