Externship Profile: MUSC

With both parents working in the medical field, an externship with the General Counsel at the Medical University of South Carolina seemed to be a natural fit for Charleston School of Law student Meredith Ann Carter. Originally from Spartanburg, S.C., Carter spent six weeks this summer working with MUSC.

Carter explains that externing at MUSC has been a wonderful experience. Founded in 1824, MUSC was the first school of medicine in the Southeastern U.S. and is located in downtown Charleston.

“It has been such a treat getting to know the people in the General Counsel’s office,” said Carter. “They are all so knowledgeable and willing to discuss any questions or thoughts I might have about a case I’m looking at or any research that I’m working on.”

Carter spends a typical day in meetings for risk management, as well as depositions and mediations. Working mainly with doctors and residents, she helps them prepare for depositions.

“MUSC is a governmental entity, which makes it subject to the South Carolina Tort Claims Act,” said Carter. “This means that different procedures, statues of limitations and limits on damages apply to medical malpractice cases against MUSC than medical malpractice cases against private health care providers.”

Carter finds that her Legal Research, Analysis and Writing class prepared her for the externship. In addition to legal writing courses, “I have been able to apply the things I learned in my Health Law and Employment Discrimination classes to problems that pass through the office,” said Carter.

Students interested in health care law can take a series of classes offered at Charleston School of Law, Health Law in the fall semester and Bioethics seminar in the spring semester. Health Law professor Mary Kay Schwemmer explains how these courses prepare those considering a career in this area of practice.

“The fall course offers an overview of different topics such as health care litigation, disciplinary and liability issues, and Medicare/Medicaid. The course also features guest speakers from practicing health care law attorneys,” said Schwemmer. “The spring Bioethics seminar is a smaller, interactive class where students have the opportunity to make presentations to MUSC health care personnel, providing students with a variety of situations in the hospital setting,” said Schwemmer.

Professor Schwemmer suggests students take both Health Law and Bioethics seminar to prepare for an externship at MUSC. Carter serves as co-president of the Health Law and Bioethics Society, along with Christina Demos.  This student organization’s purpose is to equip future lawyers with both an understanding of and an appreciation for the multi-faceted natures of medicine, health law and bioethics.
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. This summer, Charleston School of Law students are at 28 dynamic externships sites helping the community. Since fall 2006, Charleston School of Law students have completed approximately 72,829 externship hours.

Story and photography by Lucy J. Remitz.

Read more externship profiles:

  • Externship Profile: Crisis Ministries
  • Externship Profile: DHEC-OCRM
  • Externship Profile: U.S. Attorney’s Office
  • Externship Profile: U.S. District Court
  • Externship Profile: City of Charleston Legal Department
  • Externship Profile: Seamen’s Church Institute

Release Date: 7/25/2012