CHARLESTON, SC – Incoming American Bar Association president William C. Hubbard of Columbia encouraged the 162 May graduates of the Charleston School of Law to stand up for the law and use it to help people.
During the ceremony, the school conferred juris doctor law degrees to 162 students of the Class of 2014. Included in that number were five students awarded the school’s first master’s degree in admiralty and maritime law.
“You will be uniquely qualified to do what lawyers do best – right a wrong,” said Hubbard, a business litigator with the Nelson Mullins firm who will be sworn-in as president of the 400,000+ member professional legal organization in August. “You will be a defender of justice, a protector of liberty. That is a great opportunity. It is an even greater responsibility. For someone who has not known justice, you can make justice real.”
Later he added, “It will be your duty to stand up for the law, for the independence of the judiciary, and for the access to justice for all persons. By choosing this school, by committing to pro bono efforts, you have already taken a stand for justice.”
Hubbard highlighted that studies showed 75 percent of poor and middle class Americans were left out of the justice system.
“Help a person resolve financial problems that are holding them back. Protect natural resources. Help someone adopt a child. You have a law degree. The world needs you to right its wrongs. People need you.”
During the Mother’s Day ceremony, President and Dean Andy Abrams struck similar themes by challenging the members of the Class of 2014 to use their legal education to the fullest. Recalling the words of German philosopher George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Abrams said:
“’Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion.’ You should find your passion and pursue it to live a life that, both personally and professionally, truly matters.”
The school, which now is comprised of about 540 students in downtown Charleston, opened in August 2004.
Members of the Class of 2014 distinguished themselves as students by giving 27,873 hours of pro bono, or free, public service to local and state organizations. Since the school was started in 2004, students have contributed more than 275,924 hours of public service through pro bono and externships projects. The Charleston School of Law requires students to donate at least 30 hours to public service projects as a requirement of graduation. The average number of pro bono hours donated by the Class of 2014 was 138.67 hours.
Photos courtesy of Charleston School of Law; photographer: Jeb Brigman.
Graduate Brian P. Justice of Pawleys Island broke school records for public service with 1,747.70 pro bono hours during his law school career. The previous record was 1,550 hours.
“I wanted to learn as much as I could about different practice areas,” explained Justice, who added that he never set out to break a record. “Seeing the practical side of the law was very beneficial for me. Most importantly, I learned there are a lot of people out there who need help. I felt like I was able to impact people’s lives while learning.”
Hubbard, who served as chair of the ABA House of Delegates from 2008 to 2010, also chairs the board of directors of the World Justice Project, a multinational, multidisciplinary group that works to strengthen the rule of law worldwide. He chaired the board of the University of South Carolina from 1996 to 2000.
Hubbard, who has bachelor’s and law degrees from USC, has received numerous awards for his public service, including the Order of the Palmetto, USC Distinguished Alumni Award and its highest recognition, an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. To learn more about Hubbard’s distinguished career, go here: www.nelsonmullins.com/attorneys/william-hubbard
Class of 2014 profile
Number: 162 students graduated today with the Class of 2014. Among that number were five students who received the school’s master’s degree in admiralty and maritime law. (An additional 44 students who received degrees since the 2013 commencement ceremony were eligible to participate in today’s ceremony.)
Residency: 63 percent of full-time students in the Class of 2014 were South Carolina residents when they started law school in the fall of 2011; 37 percent were from out of the state.
Gender: 54 percent of full-time students in the class was male in the fall of 2011; 46 percent were female.
Service: The Class of 2014 donated 27,873.41 recorded hours of pro bono service since 2011. Members of the class also worked 6,832.41 hours in externship programs through the school’s partnership with more than 100 organizations and offices. The total number of public service hours donated by law students since the school opened in 2004 is 275,924 hours, or the equivalent of 138 years of work.
Study abroad: Sixteen percent of students took advantage of study abroad opportunities in countries ranging from The Netherlands and Cayman Islands to Argentina and Italy.
Motto: Pro bono populi (“For the benefit of the people”)
About the Charleston School of Law
The Charleston School of Law offers students the unique opportunity to study the time-honored practice of law amid the beauty and grace of one of the South’s most historic cities. Students at the Charleston School of Law study law as a profession and find a faculty focused on using the law as a calling in the public interest.