157 graduate from Charleston School of Law

May 12, 2019 – The annual May commencement ceremony for the Charleston School of Law took place today at the McAlister Field House, on The Citadel campus.

Some 157 students graduated today, joining past graduates to bring the total number of students who have earned a law degree from the school to more than 2,200, school officials said.

Law school President Ed Bell said the new graduates reflected the school’s continuing commitment to its motto, “pro bono populi,” or “for the good of the people.” For example, the Class of 2019 contributed more than 26,500 hours of volunteer service to local communities, the state and the nation, according to school records.

“Over the last 13 classes of graduates, our students have donated more than 437,000 hours of public service through externship classes and pro bono projects,” he said. “This number of hours – the equivalent of 218 years of work – illustrates the enormous impact that our students have on the Charleston area and state of South Carolina.

“We are grateful to our graduates and alumni for their continuing commitment to volunteer in communities to build toward a greater good.”

The school requires 30 hours of service as a graduation requirement. Students routinely give more than 100 hours of service during their legal education at the school.

Dean Andy Abrams said he was incredibly proud of the graduating class of 2019.

“They are incredibly industrious, admiringly compassionate and remarkably resilient,” he said. “Imbued with these essential traits and a high-quality, hands-on legal education, it will be exciting to see the profound impact that each of them has on the individuals and communities they will serve in the days ahead.”

Five professors, including Professor Nancy Zisk, spoke during commencement.

“My hope for each of you is that you find the job that you believe all lawyers aspire to do,” she said. “It will be different for each of you and you may not find it right away. First, study for the bar exam. Second, pass the bar exam. And third, find a job that teaches you new things, helps other people and, ultimately, is the job that you have always wanted to do.”


  • Total graduates: 157 graduates. An additional 47 students graduated in December 2018.
  • Public service. Members of the Class of 2019 completed 10,582 hours of pro bono public service and 16,088 externship hours in area businesses and nonprofits.
  • More than 218 years of service. Since the school started in 2004, Charleston School of Law students have performed 437,318 hours of public service in pro bono projects and externships. That’s the equivalent of 218 years of service, based on a 2,000-hour work year.
  • School motto. “Pro bono populi” (For the good of the people.