DECEMBER 5, 2012 — Given the legal and regulatory environment in which today's marine industry operates, it's no surprise to learn that there is a growing demand in the United States for a graduate law degree in admiralty and maritime law.
Dean Andy Abrams (left) of the Charleston School of Law, Charleston, S,C., sees that as offering a "bright new opportunity" for the school, which is starting the first Master of Laws degree in admiralty and maritime law on the U.S. East Coast.
"Offering this new advanced degree highlights our commitment to being the number one school for maritime law in the United States," says Dean Abrams.
The school is seeking about a dozen students to participate in its founding class of graduate students in maritime law. To qualify, students must have a law degree before applying. In a program that can be finished in just a year, students will have to complete 24 credit hours of coursework that ranges from maritime law and jurisdiction to insurance, salvage, Law of the Seas, and various international maritime conventions, including the recent Rotterdam Convention. When students graduate, they will receive an LL.M. degree in Admiralty and Maritime Law.
"This is exciting and a dream come true," said Professor Randall Bridwell, who will lead the school's admiralty graduate program through the Charleston Maritime Law Institute. "With as much as the Port of Charleston means to our community, it is a natural fit for us to be on the world stage of law schools that offer an advanced degree in maritime law."
The primary objective of the Charleston School of Law's Master of Laws degree in Admiralty and Maritime Law is to bring together lawyer-students with the most experienced practitioners, judges and professors in a broad range of maritime specialties.
The program also will offer access to non-lawyer maritime professionals.
The program also benefits from the recently-established Francis Drake Admiralty American Inn of Court, the charter of which was awarded in September 2011 by the American Inns of Court. The Charleston Inn is the only one in the country dedicated to admiralty and maritime law. Its members -- 20 local maritime lawyers -- will serve as mentors to students in the new program.
Additional support will come from the Charleston Maritime Law Institute, which was started in 2004. It includes senior maritime lawyers from firms across the country as well as key industry officials.