Frequently Asked Questions
If the answer to your question(s) is not answered below, please contact the SC Bar CLE Division at (803) 771-0333 or (800) 768-7787, ext. 189.
What is Bridge the Gap?
Rule 402(c) of the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules sets forth the requirements for admission to practice law in South Carolina. Rule 402(c)(8) requires all South Carolina Bar applicants to successfully complete the Bridge the Gap program sponsored by the South Carolina Bar, under the directive of the South Carolina Supreme Court, prior to admission to practice law. Bridge the Gap is a one-day intensive course sanctioned by the South Carolina Supreme Court and coordinated by the SC Bar-CLE Division. The program focuses on practical nuts and bolts skills. It is designed to assist both the 3L law student in transition from law school to the practice of law and the lawyer new to the practice of law in South Carolina.
What is the SC Bar CLE Division?
The SC Bar CLE Division is a self-supporting non-profit provider of quality MCLE and LEPR seminars. We present live, video replay, online, webcast and teleseminar programs covering every major practice area ie: ethics, technology, law office management and trial and practice skills. Most of our live presentations are held in the SC Bar Conference Center on Fridays and are broadcast to as many as 12 satellite locations around South Carolina. We also produce and publish outstanding books and software covering all major practice and skills areas.
Who Should Attend?
All candidates for admission to the South Carolina Bar must complete the Bridge the Gap program as set out in Rule 402(c). Bridge The Gap registrants will include third year law school students, law school graduates, attorneys licensed to practice in other states, and may include *Inactive members of the SC Bar seeking to return to Regular status. Attorneys licensed and practicing in South Carolina are not eligible to receive CLE credit for Bridge The Gap unless they have received special permission from the S.C. Supreme Court Commission on CLE and Specialization. *An Inactive bar member who has practiced law in South Carolina or another jurisdiction during the immediate prior twelve months may become a Regular member by paying the difference in license fees if that member is current with mandatory continuing legal education (MCLE) requirements. After the first twelve months an Inactive member who has completed the equivalent of the mandatory continuing legal education requirement for the proceeding calendar year, and who has filed a compliance statement with the Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization and paid the filing fee may become a Regular member upon payment of the difference in license fees.
What Should I Expect?
The Bridge the Gap program offers instruction on professional responsibility issues, lawyer discipline and malpractice, information on building a client base, law office technology, a review of arbitration and mediation and instructions for practicing in all areas of the South Carolina court system.
May I Attend/View Bridge the Gap Online or by Video Replay?
Bridge the Gap is not offered in an online format. Most applicants for admission will attend Bridge the Gap in person at a scheduled live session. Graduates of the University of South Carolina School of Law and the Charleston School of Law are required to attend Bridge the Gap in person at one of the three annual live sessions. Applicants graduating from law schools outside of South Carolina are also strongly encouraged to attend a live session, but may attend an annual October video replay in Columbia. Again, the October video replay is available to graduates from out-of-state law schools only. No exceptions!
How Much Does it Cost?
Early bird tuition received no later than two weeks prior to Bridge the Gap is $250. Regular rate is $300. This cost includes electronic materials, a complimentary SC Bar publication, morning and afternoon refreshments and a box lunch. A typical one-day, six-hour South Carolina Bar CLE seminar cost approximately $230.
How Do I Register?
To register, please visit the Shop CLE store and locate the approproate program, noting deadlines for each.
Who Are the Faculty Members?
The faculty for the program features members of South Carolina’s Judiciary and the Bar. These professionals offer a wealth of practical knowledge and experience, both in their presentations and in the materials prepared for the course. Bridge the Gap faculty members do not receive monetary compensation or special teaching credit for their participation. Faculty members speak and provide extensive materials strictly on a voluntary basis.
What About Materials?
Materials for the Bridge the Gap program are provided electronically. The information provided is designed to give you a brief substantive overview and a practical nuts and bolts approach to the practice of law.
How is My Attendance Reported?
Upon successful completion of the Bridge the Gap program, your attendance will automatically be reported to the South Carolina Supreme Court. In the calendar year of admission, a new attorney has no filing requirement for CLE and no courses taken will be counted. If you have questions about CLE credit hours, please contact the SC Supreme Court’s Commission on CLE & Specialization at (803) 799-5578 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have questions about other requirements for admission to the SC Bar or being sworn-in, please contact the SC Supreme Court’s Office of Bar Admissions at (803) 734-1080.
As a New Admittee, What Are My MCLE/LEPR Requirements?
Bridge the Gap fulfills your requirements for the reporting period in which you are admitted.
What if I Miss a Session?
Pursuant to the South Carolina Supreme Court, if you miss a segment(s) of the Bridge the Gap program, you will be required to make up the portion(s) you missed at a later date. This can be arranged through the South Carolina Bar’s CLE Division BEFORE your attendance at Bridge the Gap will be certified to the Office of Bar Admissions. Roll calls may be taken at any time during the course of the program.
How Should I Dress?
Dress is business casual. You may wish to bring a sweater or a jacket for your comfort. Please keep in mind that for many of you this will be the first impression you will make on members of the South Carolina Bar and Judiciary.
Where Should I Stay?
For those coming from out of town to the Charleston session:
170 Lockwood Blvd.
Charleston SC 29403
For those coming from out of town to the Columbia sessions:
1200 Hampton Street
Columbia, SC 29201
1913 Huger Street
Columbia, SC 29201
Sheraton Columbia Downtown Hotel
1400 Main Street
Columbia, SC 29201
Where Should I Park?
For those of you coming to the live Columbia session you may park in the parking lot at the SC Bar Conference Center.
Eligibility for Swearing-In
The Supreme Court’s policy provides that an applicant will be eligible to be sworn in if the Office of Bar Admissions has received all required documentation ten days before the scheduled swearing-in ceremony. An applicant who completes Bridge The Gap as his/her requirement for admission will be required to attend a swearing-in ceremony scheduled for the regular term of court. In order to be eligible for the swearing-in, you must meet the following requirements:
1) You must complete all requirements for admission with the completion of Bridge the Gap.
2) The South Carolina Bar-CLE Division must certify your completion of Bridge the Gap.
3) You must be dressed in attire that would be appropriate for an appearance before the South Carolina Supreme Court.
4) You must be prepared to pay the required $50 fee. Checks should be made payable to the South Carolina Supreme Court.
Once Admitted: How Many MCLE/LEPR Credits am I Required to Obtain Per Year?
Every attorney licensed to practice law in South Carolina must obtain 14.0 Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) credits per year. At least 2.0 of these hours must be Legal Ethics & Professional Responsibility (LEPR) credit hours, and 1.0 hour every three (3) years must be substance abuse/mental health credit (SA/MH). During your first full MCLE cycle you are also required to attend one of the South Carolina Bar’s “Essential Series” programs.
What is the Essentials Series?
After admission to the SC Bar, but before the end of your first reporting year following admission, you must complete one (1) (though you may opt to attend more than one) of the SC Bar’s “Essentials Series” programs. The series is comprised of up to ten (10) full day courses covering major practice areas, as well as law firm technology. The programs are designed and taught by experienced practitioners and feature comprehensive and practical materials. These courses are process-driven, rather than substantive law-driven and are designed to give you practical guidance on “how to” handle cases in the designated practice area.
All new admittees to the SC Bar are required to take at least one of the Essentials Courses with the following exceptions:
(1) Attorneys admitted to practice in another jurisdiction for two or more years prior to their SC Bar admission date are exempted from the Essentials requirement.
(2) Attorneys on active military duty are not required to attend.
(3) Inactive SC Bar members are not required to attend (Note: If you return to Active status within your first year of becoming licensed, you must complete the requirement during that CLE compliance period)
Attendance Options for Essentials Series:
(1) If you live in South Carolina or maintain an active practice in South Carolina, you are required to attend an Essentials program in-person at the SC Bar Conference Center. No exceptions.
(2) If you live and practice out of State, you may opt to view one of the programs through the Bar’s “eCLE Access” archived on-demand web-based delivery system. All Essentials programs will be taped and posted online, though none of them will be offered via live web cast. This is to insure maximum participation per the Supreme Court’s wishes.
Pricing for Essentials Series:
(1) As stated above, most new admittees are required to attend one (1) of the Essentials programs, though you may attend as many as you wish.
(2) All Essentials Series programs are priced at $240 for Early Bird Registration (must be received by 5pm two weeks prior to the program date) and $290 for Regular Registration.
(3) Your first Essentials program is FREE but you must use the Coupon included in your Bridge the Gap materials to register and you must register by the Early Bird deadline for the program you are requesting. Registrations received after the Early Bird deadline, even if otherwise free, are subject to a $50 surcharge. Registration prices for subsequent Essentials Series programs are at the published prices of $240/$290. All other CLE seminar policies, such as cancellation and transfer policies apply to the Essentials Series (See Registration Form for details). Once you have been sworn in, the SC Bar CLE Division will email you the 2015 Essentials Series registration form. Please attach your coupon to the registration form indicating which series you wish to attend.
Please direct questions concerning the Essentials Series to CLE Director Terry Burnett at email@example.com.
To Whom Do I Report My MCLE/LEPR Credit Hours?
You must send your MCLE/LEPR Compliance Report to the South Carolina Supreme Court Commission on CLE & Specialization at 950 Taylor Street, Suite 120, Columbia, SC 29201, (803) 799-5578.
How Can I Check My MCLE/LEPR Compliance Status?
Telephone the South Carolina Supreme Court Commission on CLE & Specialization at (803) 799-5578 or visit www.commcle.org. Type in your last name and bar number.
What Do I Do If I Have Questions About the MCLE/LEPR Rules, Compliance or Reporting?
For answers to your MCLE/LEPR questions, visit the South Carolina Supreme Court Commission on CLE & Specialization at www.commcle.org or call (803) 799-5578.
How Do I Find Out About the SC Bar CLE Division's Programs, Products or Services?
For a complete listing of SC Bar CLE products and services, visit the Shop CLE store.
May I Obtain Any of My MCLE/LEPR Credit Hours through “Alternatively Delivered” Programming?
"Alternatively Delivered” programming is defined as approved "audio-visual or media presentations, including telephone and online seminars." You may obtain up to 6.0 of your 14.0 annual required MCLE/LEPR credit hours per calendar year. You may take as many courses as you like, but current South Carolina Commission Rules state that CLE credit earned through audio-visual or media presentations and applied to the annual 14.0 hours minimum requirement shall not exceed 6.0 hours of credit per compliance year. Compliance year falls March 1 through the last day in February.
To Whom Do I Report Address or Status Changes?
You will need to log on to www.sccourts.org/ais to make changes. You may email AIS support or call the number listed below for assistance.
South Carolina Supreme Court
P.O. Box 11330
Columbia, SC 29211
855-235-2500 (AIS Support)