Law school, College of Charleston merger proposed

August 8, 2013 

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) – A state lawmaker is proposing that the private Charleston School of Law merge with the College of Charleston to avoid a possible sale.

The Post and Courier of Charleston reports that Republican Rep. Stephen Goldfinch of Murrells Inlet, a graduate of the law school, is pushing the merger idea.

“I believe the Legislature would support such a merger,” he said. “It could be done tomorrow.”

Leaders of the Charleston School of Law, one of two law schools in the state, have entered a management services agreement with InfiLaw Systems which owns three other for-profit law schools.

Such an agreement is often a prelude to a sale and students and alumni at the Charleston school are concerned what that may mean to the value of their degrees. The school's alumni board is gathering information about a possible sale to InfiLaw and how to stop it.

Goldfinch said he has had discussions about the merger with the Greg Padgett, the chairman of the College of Charleston Board of Trustees.

Padgett said there have been informal discussions in the past about such a merger. He said while he's not opposed, he's also not promoting the idea.

“We welcome every opportunity to discuss how the College of Charleston can better serve the people of Charleston and the state,” he said. “We would be willing to take a careful look at the Charleston School of Law.”

Goldfinch says Coastal Carolina University has also expressed interest in a merger with the law school but that would require the law school moving to Conway. He doesn't think that will happen.

An InfiLaw representative has said any change in the ownership or control of the law school would have to be approved by both the American Bar Association and the state Commission on Higher Education.

The state's other law school is at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

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Information from: The Post and Courier, http://www.postandcourier.com

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