A History of the South Carolina Law Review

facultyFor over sixty-five years, the South Carolina Law Review and its predecessor publications have chronicled legal education and scholarship in South Carolina. As the Year Book of the Selden Society, then as the South Carolina Law Quarterly and the South Carolina Law Review, the publication has mirrored and aided the development of legal scholarship in South Carolina, while reporting the growth of the University of South Carolina School of Law and the South Carolina Bar. Since 1937, the publication has progressed from a provincial chronicle of law school events to an established academic journal with a worldwide readership. Over time, the publication has gradually gained autonomy from those institutions that supported and funded its creation. Through article selection, issue advocacy, editorial opinion and institutional ambition, student editors at the University of South Carolina School of Law (“USC Law School”) have influenced the last fifty years of legal practice in South Carolina. This manuscript documents how the Law Review has reflected—and altered—the last sixty-five years of legal education and scholarship in the Palmetto State.

Section II briefly describes the current purpose and structure of the South Carolina Law Review, then details the development of scholarly legal publication at USC Law School. Section III describes the growth of that journal and the publication’s gradual editorial and institutional independence. Section IV describes the editorial section and the descriptions of faculty, student and Bar life depicted in those editorials. Section V describes how the publication’s selection of articles reflected the legal, political and social issues of the time. Finally, this paper notes the modernization of the publication. The paper concludes by observing that while the publication has progressed through various names, formats and designs, the overall journey has been towards the attainment of an independent, student-managed and student-edited journal.

A brief description of the current organization of the Law Review will preface the historical accounts. The South Carolina Law Review is the flagship publication of the USC School of Law. It is student-managed and student-edited by second and third year law students who are responsible for all editorial, financial, logistical and publishing decisions. Students select which articles will be published, edit those articles, speak with the authors during the editing process, arrange the manuscripts for publication, and make all the logistical, business and financial decisions inherent in the publishing process.

Student editors prize the autonomy to make editorial and management decisions without outside influence or control. The ability and responsibility to make independent editorial and management decisions is the fundamental characteristic of a student-edited law review. While students have the power to make editorial and management decisions, they must also live with the consequences and ramification of those choices. Since the creation of student publications at USC Law School, students have made efforts to gain—and guard—that independence.

Continue reading “A Reflection of Scholarship: Sixty-Five Years of the South Carolina Law Review.

–Eli Poliakoff

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South Carolina Law Review
1525 Senate Street
Columbia, SC 29208