South Carolina Admission Laws


Admissions to the South Carolina Bar are administered by the Supreme Court of the state.  Qualifications and procedure prescribed for the admission are given in the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules governing the practice of law.  Rule 402 prescribes that an applicant should be at least twenty-one (21) years of age in order to be admitted to practice of law in South Carolina.  An applicant should have a J.D. or LL.B degree from an American Bar Association approved law school.  All applicants are required to pass the Bar exam.  The exam consists of essay questions and Multistate Bar Examination.  Applicants are also required to clear the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) with a scaled score of at least seventy-seven (77).

The Dean or a tenured Professor of the University of South Carolina School of Law may be admitted to practice law in this state without taking the Bar exam or the MPRE.  Such an applicant should have been admitted to practice law in the highest court of another jurisdiction in the United States.  S/he should have been a full-time and continuous member of the faculty of the Law School with the rank of assistant professor of law or higher for the previous three or more academic years.  A tenured Professor applicant should have been recommended for admission by the Dean of the Law School.  In case the Dean is applying, then s/he should be recommended by the President of the University of South Carolina.

All attorneys admitted to South Carolina Bar are required to attend at least fourteen (14) hours of approved continuing legal education (CLE) courses each year.  At least two (2) of the fourteen (14) hours should be on legal ethics/professional responsibility (LEPR).  LEPR shall include, but is not limited to, instruction focusing on the Rules of Professional Conduct, law firm management, malpractice avoidance, lawyer fees, legal ethics, and the duties of lawyers to the judicial system, the public, clients and other lawyers.

Rule 402, SCACR

ADMISSION TO PRACTICE LAW

(c) Qualifications for Admission. No person shall be admitted to the practice of law in South Carolina unless the person:
(1) is at least twenty-one (21) years of age;
(2) is of good moral character;
(3) has received a JD or LLB degree from a law school which was approved by the Council of Legal Education of the American Bar Association at the time the degree was conferred. An approved law school includes a school that is provisionally approved by the Council.

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(4) has been found qualified by the Committee on Character and Fitness;
(5) has passed the Bar Examination given by the Board of Law Examiners;
(6) has received a scaled score of at least seventy-seven (77) on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) administered by the National Conference of Bar Examiners. If the score was obtained prior to the filing of the application, the MPRE must have been taken within four (4) years of the date on which the application is filed. While an application can be filed without proof of completion of this requirement, applicants are warned that failure to timely submit proof of completion of this requirement can significantly delay admission as provided by subsection (k) of this rule;
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(m) Admission of Certain Law Professors. A person serving as the Dean or as a tenured professor of the University of South Carolina School of Law may be admitted to practice law in this State without taking the Bar Examination (section (c)(5) above), the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (section (c)(6) above), or the Bridge the Gap Program (section (c)(8) above) if the Dean or professor:
(1) has been admitted to practice law in the highest court of another state or the District of Columbia for at least five (5) years;
(2) has been a full-time and continuous member of the faculty of the Law School with the rank of assistant professor of law or higher for the previous three (3) or more complete academic years; and
(3) has been recommended for admission by the Dean of the Law School, or in the case of the Dean, by the President of the University of South Carolina.

Rule 408, Preamble, SCACR

(a) Continuing Legal Education Requirements. All persons admitted to the South Carolina Bar shall be required to attend at least fourteen (14) hours of approved continuing legal education (CLE) courses each year. The annual reporting period for purposes of this Rule shall run from March 1 through the last day in February. At least two (2) of the fourteen (14) hours required annually shall be devoted to legal ethics/professional responsibility.