Students have the opportunity to devote themselves to public service in the field of criminal prosecution through the externship program at the Fourteenth Circuit Solicitor’s Office Externship in Bluffton, S.C.
Intensive training sessions will cover ethics, case preparation and disposition in conjunction to observing and assisting with trials in General Sessions Court. Under South Carolina Student Practice Rule 401, students are given the opportunity to plead cases in Magistrate’s, Transfer and General Sessions Court as well as try cases in Magistrate’s Court.
December ’13 graduate, Yorke Pharr took part in this unique partnership last summer. “The people here have truly integrated the externs into the office and include us in every aspect of prosecuting criminals,” said Pharr. He worked on research assignments, helped assistant solicitors prepare for trial, observed trials and hearings, sat in on witness interviews, visited a crime scene and assisted with discovery.
Standing before a Magistrate and accepting pleas in Transfer Court was his most memorable experience. “I was able to do this under the Student Practice Rule. It is not an opportunity that many students get, and was one of the hands-on components that drew me to this program,” said Pharr.
At the conclusion of the program, students will have the practical, legal and theoretical foundations as well as professional development required to be successful at prosecutor’s offices.
“This is not an intern program in the context of someone coming and just shadowing lawyers,” said Solicitor Duffie Stone. “We put them through the same training that we put every assistant solicitor so they will get an idea of what we expect of them and how to perform their job.”
To qualify, students must be a rising third-year student eligible to use Rule 401 and be familiar with the Rules of Professional Conduct. Students must also desire to become a career prosecutor.
Charleston School of Law’s externship program allows students to gain practical work experience while earning course credit. Students complement their classroom studies by working under the direct supervision of members of the judiciary or attorneys in the public sector. Since fall 2006, Charleston School of Law students have completed approximately 93,868 externship hours. The externship course is offered during the fall, spring and summer terms. For more information please contact Professor James Klein or Autumn Jones.