The South Carolina Bar or SC Bar is an integrated bar association for which membership is mandatory for all lawyers practicing law in the state. It has a membership totaling more than 13,000 lawyers. It is headquartered in Columbia and was founded in 1884.
At the time of its founding, it was called the South Carolina Bar Association. It did not require attorneys to join, and it had no professional or educational standards for its 200 members. In 1968, the South Carolina Supreme Court created the South Carolina Bar and merged it with the South Carolina Bar Association. Membership became mandatory, and the SC Bar was given its authority to function as a regulatory organization from the state’s supreme court.
A Board of Governors as well as a House of Delegates currently govern the SC Bar. The House of Delegates is comprised of representatives of the state’s judiciary and meets two times per year. The Board of Governors is made up of elected members representing the various districts around the state. It acts with the authority given to it by the House of Delegates.
The SC Bar has the obligation of administering the state’s bar exam to newly graduated attorneys and admitting them to the bar if they pass. It uses a multi-state exam that consists of both standardized and essay questions. Along with passing the bar exam, attorneys also have to pass an extensive background check as well as an ethics exam before being admitted to the bar. They also have to pay membership dues and fees for their legal specialty to become full-fledged members of the SC Bar.
Once members are admitted to SC Bar, they can begin using the benefits that come with their paid dues. They have opportunities to join the leadership programs available through SC Bar. They can also use or be a part of the mentoring program. This program lets them counsel and network with other attorneys in the state.
The public also is offered programs on the SC Bar website. They can file complaints about attorneys or have their fees disputed. They also can learn about legal services like pro bono or prepaid legal services offered around the state.
The website’s attorney directory also provides the names and locations of lawyers in all legal areas. The physical address for the South Carolina Bar is 950 Taylor Street in Columbia, 29201.