Focus on Pro Bono: Douglas Rushton

Douglas Rushton

Douglas is in his third year at the University of South Carolina School of Law. This semester he notes that his most interesting classes are Appellate Advocacy, Commercial Speech Seminar, and Criminal Practice Clinic, in which he will represent, at a trial in magistrate’s court, a young man who has been accused of criminal domestic violence. He currently serves as the Executive Student Works Editor of the Law Review, and is a member of the Order of the Wig and Robe.

Douglas, what pro bono work are you currently involved in?

I am currently teaching courses for the CHOICES program at the Department of Juvenile Justice.

Please tell me more about CHOICES.

The program seeks to give the kids at DJJ a better understanding about the legal system and a bit of practical knowledge of the law.  Most recently, another law student and I taught a course to a group of about ten guys about rules, laws, and values.  The idea was to develop by discussion what a law should do (e.g., protect citizens) and how it should do so (e.g., fairly).

Any surprises?

The most surprising part of the program was the interest and participation we got from the guys in the program.  All of the guys had first hand knowledge of how the criminal justice system worked and had many differing opinions about it.  However, most had not really thought about why the system functions as it does, and its goals.

Do you see a future with pro bono service?

I have truly enjoyed the pro bono work that I have done, and I will continue to stay involved, in one way or another, in public service.  I am pursuing, almost exclusively, jobs in public service. I have enjoyed working as a public defender in my clinic, and hope to continue in that type of work as an actual attorney.

-RFW

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