Posted in: Lawyers None


It's already been a crazy morning. Your shirt wasn’t ironed, you spilled coffee on yourself and of course the traffic into Columbia was a nightmare. To top it off, you’ve looked for parking along Pendleton Street in downtown for much longer than you thought you would.

Now you’re racing into the courtroom and it hits you. “Do I even know what administrative law court is?”

Chelsea Clark dives into an overview and the complexity of the South Carolina Administrative Law Court (ALC) in the latest issue of SC Lawyer.

“Administrative agencies, and the area of practice that surrounds them, is a vital and necessary part of our government,” says Clark, who served as staff counsel at the ALC for just over two years.

Clark started her journey with the ALC as an employee in 2015. Her career started much like the story above. She received her invitation to interview during the historic flood of 2015 and had to find her way through the aftermath damage by taking different routes because of the closed streets. The chaos continued in her interview when the building had to evacuate for a fire drill.

“I’m happy to report that things calmed down considerably once I started my job and my history of interviewing during thunderstorms, flash flooding and power outages came to an end,” she joked.

The ALC sees a different type of case every day from a different state agency. Hearings can range from the Department of Revenue to Department of Motor Vehicles. A wide variety of cases means legal knowledge is top notch at the ALC.

“My biggest learning occurred in increments,” Clark said. “I began to really understand the importance of all the rules and traditions that surround the legal practice. This is something I have carried with me into private practice.”

A lot goes in to practicing law. Clark has the opportunity to be behind the scenes of one of South Carolina’s intricate courts. She got to experience first-hand the difficulty judges face in deciding an impactful case, the concern they have for due process and the knowledge one gains from watching attorneys in the courtroom fight for what they believe.

Clark’s three years at the ALC were intense and sometimes tedious, but they were also filled with great people and memories. Clark is an associate attorney at Bruner Powell Wall & Mullins in Columbia, and she now gets to advocate for her clients and also taps into her ALC roots in seeing a fair result for both parties.

Her time and experience at the ALC no doubt shaped Clark’s career experience and her outlook on the profession.

“I am firmly convinced that the future of the legal profession hinges on our ability to maintain the standards of fairness and decorum.”