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Charleston Law to offer new maritime law program

Charleston School of Law hopes to enroll about a dozen students in a new master’s program focusing on admiralty and maritime law beginning next fall.

The new program will begin ahead of the expected 2014 completion of the Panama Canal lock project, which will allow extra-large “Post-Panamax” ships to navigate the canal and thus have greater access to ports on the East coast. The school hopes to capitalize on its location and the work of its Charleston Maritime Law Institute, which has engaged senior maritime lawyers from across the country.

The school last week announced that professor Randall Bridwell, who has served as director of the institute, will head the program. The faculty will include Hal Creel, long-time head of the Federal Maritime Commission, which guides U.S. policy for international ocean trade.

Charleston is one of the many U.S. ports spending millions to complete dredging and building projects in hopes of competing for an expected increase in shipping when the canal project is finished. The new ships will have more than twice the shipping capacity of those allowed under previous Canal regulations.

The one-year, 24-credit program seeks to enroll law school graduates from the United States and international students. Coursework will include admiralty, Law of the Sea, marine insurance, environmental law and international trade.

“After graduating from this program you ought to be able to start an admiralty practice right away,” Creel said.

The program will be the only LLM in maritime and admiralty law on the East Coast. The University of Miami School of Law offers an LLM in ocean and coastal law.

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